The Columns Gallery is pleased to announce a solo exhibition by Indonesian artist, Eko Nugroho. Among the "2000 Generation" of Indonesian artists, Eko Nugroho came of age during a tumultuous period of socio-economic and political unrest in the 1990s. He conveys his experiences through a multi-disciplinary approach, weaving traditional styles like Batik and Wayang with contemporary practices like animations and comics. In his art, Eko explores themes such as democracy, religion, urbanism and ecology with a mix of humour and exuberance.
Nugroho's upcoming exhibition features ten artworks that showcase a diverse range of mediums, including embroidery and painting, highlighting his artistic versatility. In this exhibition, a masked figure is a recurring motif which often dominates the foreground of his works. Nugroho uses the mask to create visual tension, heightening the contrasting emotions conveyed through the eyes which are the only visible part of the figure.
Surrounding the figures are abstract forms that contribute to a visual narrative depicting the complexity and depth of the human experience. Nugroho's use of these forms reinforces the idea that the masked figures represent universal experiences that we can all relate to. Nugroho's artwork offers a thought-provoking commentary on the human condition and the struggle to reconcile our inner selves with the external world.
Eko Nugroho's artistic practice is widely celebrated for its adept use of colour, which plays a crucial role in eliciting emotive responses and creating unique atmospheres in his works. "Knowing, but Hard to Understand," a notable piece in his oeuvre, exemplifies his mastery of chromatic tones. The abstract forms interweaving in the background convey a sense of chaos and perplexity, mirroring the intricacy of human experience. The colour palette is equally significant in enhancing the narrative complexity of the piece. Deep blues and purples evoke the unknown, while bright oranges and yellows intensify the viewer's emotions, creating a disorienting and stunning effect. Each hue holds a specific meaning, imbuing the work with the various sensations characterising the human condition. Nugroho's ability to manipulate colour in this way underscores the fundamental role it plays in his artistic expression.
Eko Nugroho's art encourages viewers to confront the multifaceted aspects of our society. It allows us to introspect on our perceptions, capabilities and limitations. Through his use of the masked figure and specific colour palettes, Nugroho challenges us to consider the intricacies of human behaviour and the laws of power and control. By expressing his message dynamically and visually engagingly, Nugroho's art invites us to engage with the world around us more mindfully and thoughtfully. Ultimately, his work invites us to examine our societal role and consider how we can positively impact the world.
The vibrant yet ominous imagery invites the viewers to view the world from the artist's point of view. The layers of ambiguity and absurdity they present give them a singular and universal dimension and open up myriad interpretations. "Where we expected exoticism, we are confronted with our own plural-identity. What moves Eko is not the modernist or postmodernist dynamics of contemporary art, but the need to create an enchanted link in a fragmented world" (Sebastien Gokalp, curator of the exhibition Hybrid Witness, Musee d'art Moderne, Paris, 2012).
Press release courtesy The Columns Gallery.