After Mooie Indie • M. Irfan Ipan

Aug 4 to Aug 29, 2017 • Upstairs Gallery

In this show of new works, young Indonesian artist Irfan Ipan appropriates and references the conventions of Mooi Indie (Beautiful Indonesia): referring to the genre paintings and idyllic landscapes produced by Dutch artists visiting the archipelago during the turn of the 20th century.

Rooted in the country’s colonial history and the complex transfer of modernity’s visual traditions, the practice of producing pleasing vistas and prized genre paintings is also shadowed by disrepute as early 20th century artists such as Sindu Sudjojono called for an art that not only bears witness to the world, but also captures with realism the crisis brewing across the land and sea.

Currently completing his studies in art in Yogyakarta, Ipan explores pictorial responses to this tradition in a series of paintings based on photo and paper reproductions of Indonesian landscapes. The works capture images of familiar scenes and land masses of the artist’s home country, such as the mountains and volcanoes of Krakatoa (Krakatau) between Java and Sumatra. After Mooie Indie
reminds one of how visual image goes beyond the production of pretty pictures but also embraces the practice and weight of politics, history and contemporaneity.

—Lisa Ito