JAKARTA – With the ever-growing number of art fairs available throughout the year, it’s hard not to be spoilt for choice when it comes to the sheer amount of works available to collectors to purchase. And even for the non-collectors, art fairs often offer a chance to see rare pieces gathered all in one place.
With the return of premium Indonesian art fair Art Moments Jakarta (AMJ), the aim is to elevate these art fair visits further still, making each visitor’s experience one to remember with the introduction of their all-new Moments programmes in their second edition. Taking place from 17th to 19th April 2020 at the Sheraton Grand Jakarta, Gandaria City Hotel, the fair has now expanded from 35 galleries last year, to almost 50 galleries this year, featuring about 23 Indonesian galleries and 37 international exhibitors.
Speaking to Dr Sendy Widjaja, Chief Operating Officer of AMJ, we talked a little about this edition’s aims, and what visitors can expect this time around. “Last year, we saw about 10,000 visitors to the fair,” says Sendy. “This year, we’ve had a lot more time to prepare, and having already established ourselves last year, we’ve got a lot of galleries registering much earlier than before. We are still very much a boutique art fair, and want to make sure that visitors can a good balance of something new and different, but also enough familiar works to catch their attention in the first place.”
Speaking of the galleries, AMJ has been busy connecting with exhibitors not just in the Southeast Asian region, but has even managed to get galleries from Austria, Belarus, and a solo exhibition from one of Russia’s top artists. In particular however, approximately 12 Singapore galleries will be represented at the fair, something that was a very deliberate choice with how the team noticed how fast the arts scene in Singapore has been growing. “Singapore’s arts education has been improving in quality, and we’ve seen a lot of new artists that have emerged from the country over the last 10 years,” says Sendy. “The response to their work last year was very positive, and we’re interested in helping promote these galleries in Jakarta as well, where the market is a little bigger. We like to think of ourselves as a bridge to other countries, and try to contribute to the development of the region’s arts scene as well.”
Perhaps, beyond the galleries represented, the most exciting thing to emerge in this year’s edition of AMJ would be the all new ‘Moments’ programming, introduced by newly appointed Artistic Director Khai Hori, of Singapore’s Chan + Hori Contemporary. Titled Intimate, Converse, Eco, Prized, Maker, Barter, and Collected Moments, these programmes aim to connect with hot button themes that have headlined the world in recent times, ranging from equality to distribution of wealth, gender differences, cultural capital and sustainability, and environmental change.
With his wealth of experience, from having been Deputy Director of Artistic Programming at the esteemed Palais de Tokyo in Paris, to Senior Curator at the Singapore Art Museum, Sendy mentions that he’s begun to see the ‘Khai effect’ happening at AMJ. “It’s been very interesting to see how Khai works with his curation,” he says. “A lot of it has to do with building up a community of collectors in the region by designing activities for them to do together, and really turn a fair into an experience. We’re investing in today’s moments for the future, and want our content to establish how art represents the past, foresees the future, and remains very present.”
In Intimate Moments, for example, spectators have a chance to get up close and personal with Indonesian artist Arahmaiani, one of the most respected and iconic contemporary artists, especially in pioneering performance art in Southeast Asia. Arahmaiani will present a private performance based on her personal experience holed up in a hotel room, accompanied by a Muslim chaperon when denied entry to the US. In interactive yet cozy film-screening sessions at Converse Moments, filmmakers, artists and artisans will showcase and discuss their work with the audience in an informal and two-way, talk-back format; emphasizing the spirit of ‘nongkrong’, or ‘hang out’
Another such “Moments” programme will tap on Entwine, a traveling exhibition of traditional woven textiles of the Maybank Women Eco-Weavers and contemporary art translations by artists that was previously showcased at the National Museum of Singapore. “We’re displaying Entwine at Gandaria City Mall, which is owned by one of Indonesia’s biggest art collectors,” says Sendy. “You can find plenty of museum quality artwork on display there, from a giant Yayoi Kusama Pumpkin to a huge Botero piece. It’s the only venue in Indonesia that displays such art so publicly, and it really lends the right atmosphere for the event.”
Receiving about 30,000 visitors a day, Entwine will run for a week at the mall, allowing the exhibition plenty of exposure for visitors to learn more about the art of weaving and the contemporary artists involved in the project. “I think what Maybank is doing is very positive, almost as if they’re positioning Southeast Asia like the European Union by promoting so much cross-cultural exchange, and bringing this tradition of weaving into the modern world by involving contemporary artists,” Sendy elaborates. “You’ll notice how weaving is actually very common across the entire region, and bringing these things into the light add a sense of identity to the region and hopefully, gets it noticed more. We want to be an arts fair for the future without forgetting one’s roots.”
AMJ 2020 also intends to expand their reach beyond art enthusiasts, with plans in place to appeal to the wider public, such as appealing to the millennial crowd with by emblazoning popular art pieces on sneakers to make art both affordable and accessible, and even organising school tours to assist in art education. “Last year, we gave about 200 Jakarta students, from elementary to university, a tour of the exhibits,” says Sendy. “Things like teaching them how Botero is art and not pornography, or understanding the intent and meaning behind certain pieces. We’re going to do it again, but on a larger scale this time, and throw in some workshops and activities into the mix. It’s about creating impressionable moments for them in their youth that they’ll remember in the future, and help them learn how to appreciate art for a lifetime.”
“If you look at our logo, it’s actually inspired by the bika ambon snack in Indonesia,” Sendy concludes. “And it was designed with the hope that our visitors can come experience the sweetness of both art and Jakarta, adding some meaning to their lives when they come see the works. There’s been a lot of support from various collectors and galleries we’ve approached, and together with our new programming, we hope that our event can bring the community closer together, keep growing and expanding with even more activities, and create a sustainable, happy arts market together.”
Photo Credit: Art Moments Jakarta
Art Moments Jakarta 2020 runs from 17th to 19th April 2020 at the Sheraton Grand Jakarta, Gandaria City Hotel. For more information, visit their website here