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Conversation with Basquiat feature image

Conversation with Basquiat

Artemis Art is pleased to present part one of a two-exhibition project that pays tribute to Jean-Michel Basquiat, whose short decade-long career has left a lasting impact on contemporary art. Conversation with Basquiat brings together the talents of fifteen young and emerging artists from four countries in Asia, testament to Basquiat’s global appeal, reaching far beyond the borders of time and geography of 1980s New York City.

Participating in the exhibition are Dedy Sufriadi, Oky Antonius, Rangga A. Putra, Rizal Hasan, and Suanjaya Kencut from Indonesia; Ajim Juxta, Bibichun, Haris Rashid, Rekha Menon, and Syahbandi Samat from Malaysia; Angelo Magno, Dennis Bato, Jaime Pacena II, and Ronald Caringal from the Philippines; and Chang Chiung-Fang from Taiwan.

Conversation with Basquiat begins on 12 August 2020, commemorating the 32nd anniversary of Basquiat’s demise at the very young age of 27, due to a drug-overdose in 1988. As Malaysia is still under the Recovery MCO, we will not be doing an opening reception. The gallery will be open per our regular operating hours for this period. The exhibition is scheduled to run for one month until Saturday, 12 September 2020.

In addition to the artworks, each of the artists has provided textual information about their works. While we have not included the text on this webpage, we have included the complete collection of accompanying texts in the exhibition’s eCatalog. Contact Artemis Art at [email protected] for any artwork enquiries or further information pertaining to the exhibition or the participating artists.

Important Note For Visitors: For those planning to visit the exhibition at our gallery, we would encourage you to contact us prior to your visit, either via email, or WhatsApp/Messaging/Voice (to either +60 19-664 7088 or +60 12-373 2188), or alternatively leaving us a message on our Facebook page. As Malaysia is in the Recovery MCO period, Artemis Art is obligated to maintain a safe number of visitors within the gallery space at any one time. Kindly note that you will be required to don a facemask when entering the gallery space, and that we will be conducting temperature screening for every visitor. Visitor registration is necessary and we have provided QR codes onsite for both mySejahtera and SELANGKAH contact tracing platforms (alternatively you may opt to leave your contact details manually with us).

Conversation with Basquiat

Had he not died in 1988 of a drug-overdose, Jean-Michel Basquiat would have celebrated his 60th birthday in December this year. But what is it about the neo expressionist artworks this New York artist produced that made his contribution to visual art important? And why does Basquiat remain today, 32 years after his untimely death, an inspiration to aspiring artists the world over?

Conversation with Basquiat is more than just a tribute to this noteworthy artist. It delves deeper to discover the essentialities that the artist’s works conveyed. From the 2005 monograph on the artist, art critic and historian Fred Hoffman hypothesized that at the core of Basquiat’s art was his “innate capacity to function as something like an oracle, distilling his perceptions of the outside world down to their essence and, in turn, projecting them outward through his creative acts.”1

Historically, New York City has been at the epicenter of cultural development, often touted as the cultural capital of the world, and the city in the 1970s and 80s was no exception. Urban cultural movements were alive and thriving, be it punk, hip-hop, street fashion, graffiti; it is within this rich urban cultural backdrop that Basquiat grew up in.

Some might argue that the influences behind Basquiat’s works lie in an era and geography that is distant to Asia in the 21st century – so why does the influence of this artist persist to this day, in this part of the world? And why is his art still relevant in 2020?

Arguably, an important part of Basquiat’s enduring appeal is the artist’s rags-to-riches-to-burnout life story. From being banished from home at 17 by his father, to his death a decade later, Basquiat’s meteoric rise to fame within such a short span of time can only be described as phenomenal.

And as Eleanor Nairne2 explains, Basquiat’s life is very closely intertwined with the art he produced.

Basquiat channeled much of his experience back into his work, which is one reason why his life is an integral part of understanding who he was as an artist. When he references Charlie Parker, for instance, he is likely thinking of their shared experience of the burdens of celebrity, the persistence of racism, and the difficulties of breaking with tradition — whether they are jazz standards or conventions of painting — as well as their trials with addiction.3

Another reason, we dare postulate, is that much of the experiential aspects of what Basquiat expressed in his works remain relevant issues to this day. Among these enduring issues: class divide, inequality, racism, and social power structures. Not just that, but the rawness and unpretentious visceral quality of how these notions are expressed in his art are still ‘fresh’ by today’s standards, hence very much resonate.

Conversation with Basquiat brings together the talents of fifteen young and emerging artists from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Taiwan, namely Dedy Sufriadi, Oky Antonius, Rangga A. Putra, Rizal Hasan, and Suanjaya Kencut from Indonesia; Ajim Juxta, Bibichun, Haris Rashid, Rekha Menon, and Syahbandi Samat from Malaysia; Angelo Magno, Dennis Bato, Jaime Pacena II, and Ronald Caringal from the Philippines; and Chang Chiung-Fang from Taiwan.

There isn’t one single common denominator that connects Basquiat to each of them; Basquiat is an important influence for different reasons. For some it is the visual language and style, for others the ability to creatively express their thoughts about what is happening around them, or even the daringness of challenging convention. Suffice it to say, Basquiat has touched each and every one of these artists.

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s legacy is undeniable, as is the global reach this legacy has attained. Perhaps what his friend and fellow artist Keith Haring said during Basquiat’s memorial service encapsulates the mystique and appeal.

He truly created a lifetime of works in ten years. Greedily, we wonder what else he might have created, what masterpieces we have been cheated out of by his death, but the fact is that he has created enough work to intrigue generations to come. Only now will people begin to understand the magnitude of his contribution.4

What Haring said back in 1988 continues to be true 32 years later. In particular, the intrigue surrounding Basquiat and his work, whose endurance alone is testament to its magnitude.

Artnet News, in an article rounding up their 2017 survey of the world’s leading art professionals, prominently listed Basquiat as one of the 20th century’s most influential artists5. Young artists the world over continue to discover the tragic genius’ career and artworks, and more amazingly, continue to be enthralled.

We can say with some level of certainty that each of the fifteen participating artists would jump at the opportunity to meet Jean-Michel Basquiat face to face. To have a proper chat; to delve deep into the mind of their art icon.

Instead, the fifteen artists have done the only thing possible to do today, and that is to pay tribute, each in their unique way, to an artist whose short decade-long career played a part in shaping the trajectory of contemporary art.

When it comes to Basquiat, this exhibition is but one of the multitudes of visual conversations that have been ongoing long after his demise. And these conversations, we suspect, shall continue for some time to come.

Endnotes

  1. Hoffman, Fred. (2005) The Defining Years: Notes on Five Key Works from the book Basquiat. Mayer, Marc (ed.). Merrell Publishers in association with the Brooklyn Museum, ISBN 1-85894-287-X, pp. 129–139
  2. Eleanor Nairne is the curator for “Boom For Real”, the Jean-Michel Basquiat retrospective exhibition held in 2017 at London’s Barbican Centre, the first major exhibition of the artist’s work in the UK
  3. Jack Stanley, 2017, ‘Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Art Is Still Re-Defining Culture’, Hypebeast, September 20 2017, https://hypebeast.com/2017/9/jean-michel-basquiat-boom-for-real-al-diaz-interview, accessed on July 25 2020
  4. Haring, Keith (September 29, 2020), ‘Haring-isms’, Princeton University Press, p. 103, ISBN 978-0-691-20985-2
  5. Artnet News (October 13, 2017), ‘Who Are the Most Influential Artists of the Last Century? 26 Industry Leaders Weigh In’, https://news.artnet.com/art-world/most-influential-artists-1093196, accessed on July 25 2020

Conversation with Basquiat eCatalog

The eCatalog for the exhibition may be viewed via the player below, or alternatively you may download a PDF copy.

Press Release

Download the press release for Conversation with Basquiat (or view below)

PRESS-RELEASE-Conversation-with-Basquiat-ENG-Rev-1

The Star

Published via The Star Online on Monday, 17 August 2020.

The Star 20200817 Feature

(read article online)

BFM 89.9

BFM 89.9 interviewed us to talk about the exhibition as a segment in their Front Row series, featured as part of the radio station’s The Bigger Picture cultural highlights. The broadcast originally aired on Thursday, 3 September 2020.

BFM899 Interview Podcast

(listen to the podcast)

Exhibited Artworks

Click on the thumbnails below to view the full artwork image, as well as details for each piece

Ajim Juxta

(b. 1983, Malaysia – full artist profile)

Better known in the art scene as Ajim Juxta, Raja Azeem Idzham is a young multi-talented visual artist whose formal training is in architecture. After graduation Ajim worked as an architect for some three years, before coming to the realization that his true calling was visual art, a realization that eventually lead him to make the decision to become a full-time artist.

His repertoire of works spans several mediums, including pen and ink, found-object sculptures, and paintings on canvas. Like many architects-turned-artists, influences of architecture are apparent, particularly in Ajim’s use of lines and structures in his artworks.

Angelo Magno

(b. 1979, Philippines – artist profile available on request)

Angelo Magno obtained his bachelor’s degree in Art Studies at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, College of Arts and Letters in 2000 and finished his Master of Fine Arts from the UP College of Fine Arts in 2016. He formerly taught at the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, School of Design and Arts, iAcademy and St. Scholastica’s College in Manila. He is currently the Assistant Executive Director of the School of Multimedia and Arts, Asia Pacific College in Magallanes, Makati City. He is the Vice President of the Pinoy Printmakers (a national art organization formerly known as the Philippine Association of Printmakers; a resident art organization of the Cultural Center of the Philippines).

His works have been exhibited in the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, USA and Indonesia.

Bibichun

(b. 1983, Malaysia – artist profile available on request)

Bibichun – the nom de guerre adopted by Penang-based Khor Zew Wey – is an artist who concerns himself with issues such as authorship, identity and what he construes as “public sites” within the context of George Town in Penang. Over the past few years, he had devised a few clandestine projects, as interventions towards existing mural works. He then studies the reactions and responses from the public, hoping to help him better understand these issues.

Bibichun has participated in group shows and festivals around the world and was one of two artists featured in Dua Alam held at Artemis Art in 2019.

Chang Chiung-Fang (張瓊方)

(b. 1984, Taiwan – artist profile available on request)

Taipei-born Chang Chiung-Fang has exhibited extensively in her home country of Taiwan, most recently in a two-artist exhibition with Indonesian artist Indra Dodi, held at Julia Gallery in Taipei.

Her style of painting is expressive and embodies a free-spirited expression of life as it is experienced and observed. Through understanding herself better, Chiung-Fang is more able to express the ideas that she wishes to convey in her art, something she picked up from getting to know Basquiat operated as an artist.

Dedy Sufriadi

(b. 1976, Indonesia – full artist profile)

An artist whom Artemis Art has been regularly showing over the past several years, Dedy Sufriadi is one of Indonesia’s leading abstract artists, and whose style embodies a deep philosophical understanding of the self and of the world around him.

This deep understanding is felt through the artist’s expressive style of painting, Dedy’s thoughts and ideas emerging through his compositional and color usage skills. And more often than not, a sense of the humorous side to this artist never fails to emerge.

Dennis Bato

(b. 1989, Philippines – full artist profile)

Another artist in the lineup whose background is architecture is Manila-based Dennis Bato. An analytical artist who channels his surrounding environment into his artworks.

Dennis subjects his observations through a process of deconstruction and distillation, and what emerges as a result are crystalized ideas and thoughts, representing the essentialities of the sensory data he has acquired.

For this exhibition, Dennis has created a series of imagined social media exchanges between his fictional self and a reimagined Basquiat, leading up to “the tragedy” on August 12th. The artworks have been conceptualized around mental health, a very real concern in society today that often goes unnoticed and unaddressed, often until a level of obvious severity is reached.

Haris Rashid

(b. 1992, Malaysia – full artist profile)

Art has been a part of Haris Rashid’s life from early on, and in his current practice continues to experiment with various media, not merely sticking to traditional works on canvas.

Haris is known for his use of found objects in his artworks, both utilized in his paintings and installations, a characteristic that bears some commonality to Basquiat’s own art practice.

Jaime Pacena II

(b. 1980, Philippines – artist profile available on request)

Jaime Pacena II is a multimedia artist, educator and curator who operates out of the Philippines. His many talents include being a video director for the advertising and music video industries, plus acting as mentor to an industry-based learning program and collaboration in Manila.

He has exhibited quite extensively in the Philippines and has been involved with projects around Asia, including in Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea. His artistic practice involves not only producing art, but assisting other artists with his curatorial work as well.

Oky Antonius

(b. 1994, Indonesia – artist profile available on request)

Originally from Sicincin in Western Sumatra, Oky Antonius is a young artist who is currently pursuing his bachelor’s degree at the prestigious Institut Seni Indonesia (ISI) in Yogyakarta. Despite still in university, Oky is a very active member of the visual art scene in Jogja since his arrival in the city back in 2014, and was one of the participating artists in Artemis Art’s group exhibition Vice Versa 2.0 last year.

His characteristic visual language has seen him consistently being selected to participate in the annual Bakaba series of group exhibitions showcasing artists originally from West Sumatra, an indication of the potential many see in this young artist.

Rangga A Putra

(b. 1994, Indonesia – artist profile available on request)

Another young artist Artemis Art featured in Vice Versa 2.0 is Rangga A Putra, originally from Sleman, a regency located just north of Yogyakarta city.

His vivid abstract-based works on canvas are varied in style, often expressive, layered, and textured, occasionally with the inclusion of text and figurative elements presented in abstracted and minimalist fashion.

Rekha Menon

(b. 1976, Malaysia – artist profile available on request)

Rekha Menon is a self-taught Malaysian artist who became a full-time artist through a route very different from most, much of her adult life prior being in the field of branding and media relations.

Her works generally exhibit a bright and colorful palette, adorned with a plethora of flowing lines, patterns, and shapes, symbolic of the many emotions and ideas drawn from her own imagination. Despite being a fairly new artist, Rekha’s determination and industriousness have seen her works showcased internationally, in addition to participating in exhibitions within Malaysia.

Rizal Hasan

(b. 1992, Indonesia – artist profile available on request)

Surreal and comic-styled figurations are the characteristics that define the visual style of young Indonesian artist Rizal Hasan, another artist whom Artemis Art featured in Vice Versa 2.0 last year. The artist originally from Gresik in East Java, currently resides in Yogyakarta.

Inspired by pop art iconography, Rizal’s works are an imaginative depiction of life, often with odd characters and disembodied heads merrily bobbing along in his surreal dreamscapes.

Ronald Caringal

(b. 1980, Philippines – artist profile available on request)

Manila-based Ronald Caringal has been described as the “Pop Art antithesis of a pop artist”, his art employing vivid color palettes used to depict familiar imagery yet carry a deeper undertone that defies what’s seen on the surface.

The treatment he gives to popular cultural iconography can vary from darkly humorous to downright crude, but what the artist presents is a gritty aesthetic reflection of modern-day urban life. We can glean much that is familiar in Ronald’s works, forcing us to ponder and think exactly why we get that feeling of familiarity.

Suanjaya Kencut

(b. 1994, Indonesia – artist profile available on request)

Bali-born artist Suanjaya Kencut’s visual style is one that uses imagery based on colorful floppy cloth dolls, with fabrics vibrantly realistic in their appearance, to depict ideations and subjects the artist wishes to present to his audience.

His works have been exhibited both in his home country Indonesia and internationally and is one of the promising talents from his peer group currently living and working out of Yogyakarta.

Syahbandi Samat

(b. 1992, Malaysia – full artist profile)

His use of the ordinary ballpoint pen has made Syahbandi Samat one of the more unique Malaysian artists currently practicing, and whose works are almost always instantly recognizable.

Bandi (as he is known among friends) has been shown by Artemis Art since 2016 and has been featured fairly regularly in our art fair participations both domestically and abroad. For this exhibition, the artist takes a slightly different approach in presenting an artwork incorporating media that he does not often use.

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