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Dedy Sufriadi – Superficial Readers

IMG_4312 Superficial Readers

Superficial Readers – Dedy Sufriadi’s massive installation staged at Jogja Gallery

Those familiar with the career of Dedy Sufriadi will be aware that text has been an important subject matter for his vast body of work, dating back to the 1990s.

Superficial Readers is Dedy’s 18th solo exhibition and was held at Jogja Gallery from 15 December 2020 to 15 January 2021. This marks the artist’s first solo exhibition held at Jogja Gallery, a space that holds special significance for the artist’s career. Instead of exhibiting paintings, Dedy decided to do something different. Something quite spectacularly different.

Occupying almost the entirety of the main Jogja Gallery exhibition space, Superficial Readers is also the name of the exhibition centerpiece, a massive installation measuring 8 x 26 x 4 meters, in the form of a simulated rain chamber depositing continuous torrents of water onto books, magazines, and other paper-based reading materials deposited and arranged all around the base of the structure.

The installation is a follow-up to an earlier installation, I Cursed Your Thoughts and Texts into Stone, staged a year earlier in one of the spaces adjoining the main hall in Jogja Gallery, as part of the 10 Perantau group exhibition.

Similar to the earlier installation, Superficial Readers is also Dedy Sufriadi’s expression of a shift in the literacy landscape, from analog (i.e., paper-based books) to digital and web-based. But in addition, this time around Dedy expresses another observation related to this shift: the changing reasons behind why people read, something that has emerged in tandem with the literacy shift to the digital domain.

Superficial Readers opened on 15 December 2020 and was officiated by Dr. Oei Hong Djien, a name that is almost synonymous with Indonesian visual art. Dr. Oei is one of Indonesia’s most important visual art collectors and ambassador, and also the owner of the OHD Museum in neighboring Magelang, an important institutional private museum renowned worldwide.

It would not be an exaggeration to state that Superficial Readers is Dedy Sufriadi’s magnum opus; it is a gigantic physical representation of what has happened to the habit of reading, and an important visual statement that ties back to the artist’s use of text in his art.

This article brings together essays, photos and videos related to the Superficial Readers installation and exhibition, as a means of documenting what is essentially Dedy Sufriadi’s most monumental endeavor to date, and will be periodically updated as and when we have access to pertinent additional material.

Writer Dedi Yuniarto has been closely following the artistic career of Dedy Sufriadi for the past several years. In conjunction with Superficial Readers, the writer/curator wrote an essay that traces the artistic career of Dedy Sufriadi, with an emphasis on the artist’s use of text as a subject matter, something that has been part of the artist’s repertoire of works since the 1990s. The essay is presented both in its original Bahasa Indonesia and an accompanying English translation. To read the essays, click on the respective tabs below (use the zoom buttons to adjust the viewport size as required). You may also download a PDF copy of each for later reading.

Membaca Rasa Di Balik Teks

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Reading The Feel Behind The Text

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Opening Highlights

This video contains highlights from the exhibition opening, during which the installation became the set for a dance performance piece led by maestro Jujuk Prabowo, accompanied by musician Jimmy Kimosabe on solo cello, in addition to the regular exhibition opening and officiating. 

Dance Teater Energi (Performance Art)

The Superficial Readers mega installation became the set and backdrop for this contemporary dance performance art piece, performed at the opening of Dedy Sufriadi’s solo exhibition held at Jogja Gallery on 15 December 2020. The dance troupe was led by dance maestro Jujuk Prabowo, which presented an interpretive dance performance, symbolic of mankind’s quest for knowledge amidst a continuously changing and increasingly chaotic world.

Press Conference & Rehearsal

A press conference for Superficial Readers was held at Jogja Gallery a day or so before the exhibition opening. On the panel were the artist, Dedy Sufriadi, accompanied by writer Dedi Yuniarto, dance maestro Jujuk Prabowo, and music director Jimmy Kimosabe. The press we given the opportunity to get a preview of the installation and dance performance, and to find out more about Dedy’s extensive use of text as a subject matter in his artistic career, as well as some insights into the installation concept and background.

Artist Statement by Dedy Sufriadi

This video is a supplement to the main artist interview video, and was conducted in a more informal setting, during the setup period for the exhibition and installation. In this video, Dedy provides some additional insights into the production process of the installation, plus recapping other information provided in the primary interview.

Interview with Dedy Sufriadi

The 10-minute interview provides insights into Dedy Sufriadi’s mega-installation, Superficial Readers, plus a glimpse into the artist’s use of text as an important subject matter in his body of work.

Interview with Dedi Yuniarto

Dedi Yuniarto is a Yogyakarta-based writer and curator who has been closely working with Dedy Sufriadi for the past several years. He provides some insights into the artist’s over two-decade long career, and why the use of text is an important facet of Dedy Sufriadi’s artistic practice.

Komentar-komentar atas Pameran Tunggal “Superficial Reader” Dedy Sufriadi di Jogja Gallery

Published on February 10, 2021 – Sastra-Indonesia.com

Rounds up reader commentaries from an earlier article published on the same site (included below). The article is in Bahasa Indonesia

Buku Pun Jadi Bubur

Published on February 6, 2021 – Sastra-Indonesia.com

The article presents a critique of Dedy’s Superficial Readers installation from a literary perspective, and is presented in Bahasa Indonesia.

Dedy Sufriadi Menghujani 5 ton Buku Dalam Pameran Superficial Readers

Published on January 23, 2021 – Pakdhe Sur Vlog (via YouTube)

Cultural video logger Pakdhe Sur (Pandu Suryo Wicaksono) covered Dedy’s solo exhibition and installation as part of his series of videos that focuses on interesting events and places in Java (presented in Bahasa Indonesia)

Pameran Superficial Readers Hadirkan Kolam Buku

Published on January 5, 2021 – Gudeg.net 

This report on Dedy’s solo exhibition and installation was published in the Art & Culture section of Gudeg.net, a Yogyakarta-focused news portal (presented in Bahasa Indonesia)

“Superficial Readers”, Paradoks-paradoks Pandemi Literasi

Published on December 22, 2020 – Humanisma blog

In this blog posting, Dedy’s installation is deconstructed in the process of addressing a variety of issues, from the literacy shift that forms the thesis of the artwork, to consumerism and the environment (presented in Bahasa Indonesia)

Pameran ‘Superficial Readers’, Ada Pergeseran Literasi 10 Tahun Terakhir

Published on December 16, 2020 – Times Indonesia

News coverage of the exhibition, with an emphasis on the literacy shift Dedy that has observed in the past decade, which forms the central thesis of his artwork (presented in Bahasa Indonesia)

Seniman Ini Hancurkan 5 Ton Buku untuk Memancing Emosi

Published on December 16, 2020 – HarianJogja.com

Local Yogyakarta online news portal reporting on Dedy’s exhibition and installation (presented in Bahasa Indonesia)

Perupa Dedy Sufriadi Boyong 5 Ton Buku ke Jogja Gallery

Published on December 16, 2020 – Yogya Pos

News coverage of the exhibition, and in particular reactions from key individuals present at the opening ceremony, by a news portal focusing on what goes on in Yogyakarta (presented in Bahasa Indonesia)


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