In the Indonesian language, Jalan-Jalan means walking or traveling but more metaphorically a road, a direction, a physical or conceptual path from one place to another. Across this new series of work, Adam be Boer pays tribute to his experience as a first generation American of Dutch and Indonesian origin. The vibrant paintings and sculptures featured in this show celebrate, as well as investigate in depth, hybrid personal and cultural identities, a topic that is becoming increasingly relatable in modern day globalised societies. While utilising Javanese folk art elements to paint scenes inspired by quotidian life in LA and Indonesia, de Boer maintains a strong connection to his cultural heritage. Unexpected combinations of conflicting elements inform his practice as he uses an ancient Indonesian art technique of wax-resist dyeing (''batik'') to depict urban cityscapes.
Batik is an indigenous Javanese textile tradition that predates written history. It employs a hand-drawn, wax-resist dyeing technique that enables intricate patterns. For the Javanese, batik serves as more than sartorial decoration; it reveals local identities; patterns and motifs often betray statements of life and philosophy. For these reasons, it is an ideal medium with which to trace the complicated colonial narrative of the archipelago and the modern world more generally.
Over the past few years, de Boer has travelled extensively throughout Indonesia to study local artistic practices from his cultural forebears, while rediscovering the Eurasian roots of his family. During these exploratory journeys, de Boer's practice changed fundamentally as he attempts to bring folk art elements into contemporary art. Using local crafts and artistic practices to investigate his own identity pushes these techniques beyond their traditional boundaries as they now describe contemporary realities, leading to an intensely vivid result.
Adam de Boer graduated with a BA in Painting from the College of Creative Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara (2006) and an MA in Fine Art from the Chelsea College of Art, London (2012). Recent exhibitions include Gajah Gallery, Singapore and Yogyakarta (2022/2021); Gazelli Art House, London (2021); The Hole, New York (2021); ISA Art + Design, Jakarta (2020); Hunter Shaw Fine Art, Los Angeles (2020/2018); World Trade Centre, Jakarta (2018); and Art|Jog, Yogyakarta (2018/2015). In 2017, de Boer was awarded a Fulbright research fellowship to Indonesia. Other grants include those from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, Arts for India, The Cultural Development Corporation, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and The Santa Barbara Arts Fund. For the past ten years de Boer has travelled throughout Indonesia to investigate his Eurasian heritage. His recent work employs imagery and traditional crafts from the region as a way to connect his artistic practice with those of his distant cultural forebears. He currently lives in Los Angeles.