Monday, October 09, 2006

Apotik Komik Disbands (?)

Library Room, Jogja Gallery, Saturday, October 7, 2006
By Nunuk Ambarwati

On the Subject of Apotik Komik
In the series of grand launching Jogja Gallery (JG) and visual arts exhibition “ICON: Retrospective” −curators: Mikke Susanto and M. Dwi Marianto− from September 19 until November 19, 2006, JG launched a book entitled Mural Sama-sama/Together published by Kelompok Apotik Komik and Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP), San Fransisco, declaring a public statement on the disbandment of the group. In my opinion, the formation of its membership fluctuates, easy comes easy goes so that it is quite hard to identify who the members are. However, JG managed to present some individuals who used to be the members of ex-Apotik Komik represented by Arie Dyanto, Samuel Indratma, Arya Pandjalu, Nano Warsono but without the presence of Ade Tanesia and Mie Cornedeus as scheduled in the publication previously released. The four people began the program by presenting skillfully their art works and mural activities both in Yogyakarta and San Fransisco. It was significant to present Apotik Komik as one of the icons in visual arts mapping in Yogyakarta particularly and Indonesia generally considering that this group was the pioneer in socializing and re-interpreting broadly on what and how the real public art was. The techniques applied by them were murals, graffiti, stencils, texts, and the sorts. The medium aspects and capacity to penetrate public spaces in Yogyakarta were the key points to count on.

What is next after Disbandment?
The phenomenon of murals in Yogyakarta has been initiated since 2000. The strategic point signaling the mural movement by Apotik Komik was the murals along the fly-over wall in Lempuyangan in 2002. It is interesting to notice that the local government, in this context is the mayor (at that time was H. Herry Zudianto), strongly supported the movement. The direct impact is that it becomes “a snow ball” keeping on rolling and becoming bigger. Numbers of mural movements have been spread in each wall corner in Yogyakarta until today. With a variety of techniques, symbols, and messages, many youth communities turn out to be in existence. Their murals can be found and learned as history records on the development of mural arts in Yogyakarta.

By the time of the rolling “snow ball” in such hot spirit among the bombers −the call refers to the artists of graffiti and murals−, Apotik Komik faced up to a crisis on the complexity of different visions among its members. The group beginning its activities to socialize wide-ranging awareness on the importance of public spaces through visual arts works in 1997 had to declare its disbandment in 2005. According to Arie Dyanto, the friction among them had become complicated in 2004. Yet, as a matter of fact, the disbandment of this group was in the discourse stage of the state in the following year. Many parties were made intricate on this situation. Although on that evening discussion they did not mention the reason of disbandment explicitly, the official statement to public declared on the disbandment was very important as a manifestation of their social responsibility to public as well as their position in Indonesian visual arts mapping relating to many art projects in the future possibly to be taken and developed by them.

The disbandment of Apotik Komik is no longer a mystery especially in the circle of visual arts practitioners. In fact, it is such a common thing to happen on the rise and sink of any group or community. Numbers of communities rise easily even though they consist of former people just like Apotik Komik. For them, each ex-members as Samuel Indratma and Arie Dyanto will continue working on the issues of public spaces and mural arts without Apotik Komik so that the emerging topics of the discussion on that evening was how the mural movements in the coming days in Yogyakarta might be.

Visual Trash versus Regulation
After the disbandment of Apotik Komik, it was evenly discussed the government officials’ shifts (the mayor, for instance) that would bring consequences on the policy changes and support types provided. So, what should the artists or public do toward the existing murals while the images remain identical torturing our visual point of views for years? An input offered on the discussion showed the importance of making a regulation equivalent to Peraturan Daerah (Perda)/Local Offical Rules ruling a number of visual objects in public spaces in Yogyakarta taken as visual trashes. A huge number of graffiti on the walls and huge sponsor messages afflicting the city landscape had made a city as Yogyakarta more and more crowded. It could not be denied that they were one of the tempting income sources to the local government of Yogyakarta but they could be managed in such elegant and contiguous ways indeed. Take an example, there was a negotiation possibility between artists and businessmen to work for their sponsor messages such as billboards, banners, and so on by presenting more artistic shapes and taking the beauty of all city sides entirely. Samuel gave a solution on that problem by renewing visual images of murals with new movements and messages. It was Samuel’s optimism by taking in businessmen who were ready to work in line with these matters. “Just wait for the realization in the coming year”, Samuel promised.

One Book Three Year
Mural Sama-sama/Together is worthy to be collected just as a memoir book, a remembrance on the presence of a group namely Apotik Komik in Yogyakarta. The book was printed for 1000 copies and sold Rp 70,000,00 per copy dedicated to be such pension fund (as they joked) for each ex-member to continue presenting various art projects in public spaces in the future. By buying the book, it means that you have contributed in the efforts of awareness-raising on public spaces through their personal projects in the future. As explained by Arie Dyanto, it took three years to process the book from collecting documentation on writings and photos, designing, and printing. The 158-paged book equipped with full color images on the works and creations achieved by Apotik Komik had been launched on that evening. Some writings on the book are dominated with the topics of collaborative works between Apotik Komik and CAMP as written by Megan Wilson (Curator and Co-director of CAMP) in Two Communities and Beyond which is strengthened by the writing of Ade Tanesia (Manager of Apotik Komik) in The True Cultural Exchange. The book becomes a critical stepping point to portray us that a community may be retired but its mission should be disseminated in different ways though.
A Glance on Jogja Gallery
Jogja Gallery was established in September 19, 2006 and opened officially by Gubernur Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta (DIY), Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X. JG is located in the zero kilometer or Northern Square area as the heritage landmark in the city center of Yogyakarta. It rests in Soboharsono ex-theater building (built in 1929) functioning from the Dutch colonization. JG, a visual arts gallery with international quality and technology was established by PT Jogja Tamtama Budaya in association with Keraton Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat as the land and building owner. To some extents, it brings a vital role as a meeting point between art workers and large society attempting to facilitate the prospective resources of Yogyakarta as cultural, historical and potential city to develop as well as one of international tourism destinations. The public services designed are periodic exhibitions, non-exhibition programs (education programs for children and adults, public, and students), exhibition and non-exhibition collaborations, friends of Jogja Gallery, library, art award forum, art shops and consignments, and Banaran Café and restaurant as well. Welcome and enjoy the exhibition at Jogja Gallery entitled “YOUNG ARROWS: Indonesia’s 40 Most Outstanding Artists” held from December 2, 2006 until January 2, 2007!
Gallery opens on Tuesdays - Sundays from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m.
Administration is on Mondays - Saturdays from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Banaran Café and Restaurant opens daily from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m.
Jogja Gallery [JG]
* Contact person: Nunuk Ambarwati [Manajer Program Jogja Gallery]
Jalan Pekapalan No 7, Alun-alun Utara, Yogyakarta
Telepon +62 274 419999, 274 7161188
Fax +62 274 412023
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