Moelyono, BERKACA DULU, 2020, OOC, 170 x

Atreyu Moniaga, Truth is Stranger Than Fiction, 2021, watercolor on paper, 100 x 150 cm



Atreyu Moniaga

FEB 19 - APR 3, 2022


Not Available

One of the keys to happiness is to accept sadness as part of the realities in life. That being said, this is not an encouragement nor an excuse for us to dwell in our own pessimism and stop every attempt in our pursuit of happiness. Instead, this is a call to cultivate a new mindset in understanding sadness, anger, and disappointments, not as negative emotions that need to be resisted or avoided, but as a moment or opportunity to reflect and understand ourselves.

Nevertheless, for the longest time, sadness and art have been associated as two sides of the same coin, in which depressive episodes have served as inspirations for artists – from poets, musicians, to visual artists – in producing their works. Therefore, it is unsurprising that we may have, inadvertently, perpetuated the myth of the tortured artists, which romanticizes frustrated feelings, chronic fatigue, anxiety, and mental stress as the prerequisites for the creative process. We admire figures like actor Robin Williams, poet Sylvia Plath, and painter Vincent van Gogh as the creative geniuses who produced extraordinary works because of their mental conditions. In recent years, as conversations around mental health become more widespread, we realize just how this mindset is wrong and dangerous. Williams, Plath, and van Gogh were the exceptions – their remarkable achievements in spite of their conditions were not common, and we all know the tragic way their stories ended. Prolonged sadness, depression, and sufferings are not to be normalized and glorified as the price of creative and artistic genius. Research has shown that being at peace and in good health are important factors that help us optimize our creativity and improve our artistic abilities. Then, what about artists who still use sadness as the source of inspiration for their process?


Nin Djani