Pearl Lam Galleries is proud to present Masquerade of Life, a solo exhibition by Indonesian artist Gatot Pujiarto (b. 1970). The show focuses on his figurative works and examines the everyday comedy of being someone who we would not actually want to be.
Gatot Pujiarto, Personal Crisis (Krisis Karakter) detail, 2015, Acrylic and thread on canvas, 200×150 cm
Scratched, stained, and collaged, Gatot Pujiarto’s men wear masks with open-mouthed laughs. In their attempts to meet the expectations of today’s society, they have put on falsefronts that are in fact very different from their actual personalities. It is through his technique that Pujiarto reveals his critique of this world: broken, real and emotionally rich with passion. Real men are soft, malleable and much more diverse than the masks they hide behind.
There is a difference between existing and living. In Pujiarto’s seven-metre-long Allergic to Alcohol (Alergi Alkohol), a man puts on a mask of careless degeneration, drinking in order to fit in with the crowd. However, he is actually allergic to alcohol and does not like its effects. The consequence is personal and does not affect the people he is trying to please. This is a situation that many people are experiencing today: they look back and realise that like the man in Edvard Munch’s The Scream, they are living in a nightmare, undergoing a personal crisis, as also depicted by Pujiarto’s Krisis Karakter. They have not managed to become who they wanted to be.
While the artist’s earlier works depict abnormality, the weird and the tragic, this new body of work delves more intriguingly into his personal stance towards life. In Blinded by Faith (Jadzab), different bits of magazine assemble into a collage to form the principal figure, who is no ordinary or stable man. In assimilating his environment, the man becomes assimilated into the environment. He has been cut up by the scissors that remain hovering over his head and is broken and confused. In this work, Pujiarto comments on the double bind of faith: in loving and believing in God, there is a need to abandon some form of reason. In reflecting upon life, the religious are forced to take leaps of faith that run counter to logic, which he believes is a signifier for humanity. Blind faith in the unknown results in a fractured identity, lost somewhere between the rational and irrational.
Gatot Pujiarto, Religious Fervour (Jadzab) detail, 2015, Magazine paper and acrylic on canvas, 200×150 cm
About Gatot Pujiarto
Gatot Pujiarto was born in 1970 in Malang, East Java, Indonesia and graduated from the Department of Fine Art and Design at IKIP Malang in 1995. Currently, he lives and works in Malang. Pujiarto’s works explore abnormalities, weirdness, and tragedy. Inspired by uncommon events or occurrences in everyday life, including stories heard from friends, TV shows, and the news,
Pujiarto’s works amuse and provoke audiences to reinterpret daily stories as a new reality, to enjoy them through evoking new emotions. The visual sensation in his works is combined with the unique textures that are created by pasting, patching, layering, tearing, binding, and by making fabric patterns.
Pujiarto’s utilises a distinctive collage and weathering technique on fabric, which is either applied on canvas or installed in the form of a tapestry. The bare threads and weave of cloth are revealed for his viewers’ scrutiny. The broken cloth acts as a metaphor for the distress of man’s action upon nature: negative, confused and counterproductive to the overarching aim of world harmony. Bare tendrils accumulate to form the skeletal structure of the original cloth, reminding us through nostalgia of what it had originally been.
Pujiarto has been widely exhibited throughout Indonesia and internationally. Recent exhibitions include Shout—Indonesian Contemporary Art (2014), Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma (MACRO), Rome, Italy; Indonesian Contemporary Fiber Art (2012), ArtOne New Museum, Jakarta, Indonesia; and Jatim Art Now (2012), National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia.
About Pearl Lam Galleries
Founded by Pearl Lam, Pearl Lam Galleries is a driving force within Asia’s contemporary art scene. With over 20 years of experience exhibiting Asian and Western art and design, it is one of the leading and most established contemporary art galleries to be launched out of China.Playing a vital role in stimulating international dialogue on Chinese and Asian contemporaryart, the Galleries is dedicated to championing artists who re-evaluate and challenge perceptions of cultural practice from the region.
The Galleries in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore collaborate with renowned curators, each presenting distinct programming from major solo exhibitions, special projects and installations to conceptually rigorous group shows. Based on the philosophy of Chinese Literati where art forms have no hierarchy, Pearl Lam Galleries is dedicated to breaking down boundaries between different disciplines, with a unique gallery model committed to encouraging cross-cultural exchange