Worship to Power
Jul 2 - Oct 15, 2023
Tirtodipuran Link Building A
Worship to Power: On Political Upheaval and Oppression in the 90s
The narrative of Heri Dono’s solo exhibition was built around the two particular works created during the critical years of democracy in the Indonesian New Order regime: “Worship to Power” (10th Biennale of Sydney, 1996) and “Blooming in Arms” (Museum of Modern Art Oxford, 1996). The original work never made it back to Indonesia, thus, the artist reconstructed these works using his old study, archival materials, and the catalogs—thanks to his meticulous archiving impulse. This will be the first time these noteworthy works of art are presented in Indonesia as a record of an era– a time where social commentary and political art are face to face with its worst enemy: an authoritarian government and its violent censorship.
Heri Dono's artistic practice spans over three decades and was shaped by socio-political events in Indonesia. As an artist, this socio-political turbulence interested him and affected his practice. He observed and transformed it into works of art across mediums—from paintings, wayang, performances, installations, and so on. In this case, he uses the medium of creating his various works as a form of social commentary, his views, and responses to the events that occur around him. Socio-political issues have shaped most artists of the same generation as Heri Dono, but they started to fade as the new generation grew up in a different socio-political context.
Presenting the works by Heri Dono made during the critical years of Indonesian democracy and presenting them within the contemporary context is an active attempt to fight against forgetting. A performative part of the exhibition is expected to provide a vivid experience of the 90’s political upheaval and repression. In this exhibition as well as in visiting Studio Kalahan, one is face to face with archival material of art history within the artist’s practice and at the same time recording the socio-political history of Indonesia during the 90s.