Known for his wildly imaginative installations and strong visual commentaries on sociopolitical issues and human behaviour, "Zaman Edan" recalls the humourous satire often associated with his fantastical hybrid characters and pop culture motifs. At the same time, it is a spirited portrayal of ‘madness’ – a theme he addresses through a fluid and colourful interplay of techniques and materials previously unexplored.
Amidst coherent elements of light and shadow, a paper-pulp installation surrounded by batik-inspired paintings, movable sculptures, etchings and screenprints on canvas against photographs of STPI workshop machinery (considered to be a development in the artist’s practice), viewers will be reacquainted with Heri Dono’s playful visual language that veil familiar social commentaries. More noticeably, they will also see his shift towards introspection, generating personal considerations about the role of the artist, a questioning of the art market, and the role of art in society. Most telling is the key artwork opening the show titled Ronggowarsito Perspective, with phrases like menjaga kesadaran (preserving consciousness), hati orang (a person’s heart), turut menjadi gila (becoming crazy too) and zaman edan (age of madness) strewn across the perspex box. For Heri Dono, the work marks the beginning of the rest of his narrative at STPI.
Of hybrid creatures, graphic symbolisms, and references to the twisted logic of a topsy-turvy mind, the exhibition conveys “a position of resistance against a hegemonic discourse or perspective” as a whole. According to Singapore Art Museum curator Tan Siuli, his multifaceted characters and narratives effectively destabilize binaries of right and wrong, good and evil, to reflect the truth of human complexities. “In that respect,” says Tan, “madness may be seen not as a negative quality but rather a necessary state of being, a position of resistance which ironically, brings greater clarity and consciousness.”
Beyond aesthetics and beauty, Heri Dono once again provokes this sheer awareness of life’s truths through humour.
The exhibition will run from 21 May until 25 June 2016 with guided tours every Tuesday (11:30 AM), Thursday (11:30 AM) and Saturday (2:30 PM).