Looking at Art - July

<strong>Ardiyanto Pranata</strong><br/>Born 1944, Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia Lives & works in Yogyakarta<br/><br/><i>Window</i> 1997 <br/>Etching, Workshop Proof, edition 10<br/>Collaborator/Printer: Basil Hall<br/>14.5 x 9.5cm [image]; 28 x 20cm [paper]<br/>Charles Darwin University Art Collection – NTU481<br/>Gifted by the artist and the NTU Print Workshop, 1998<br/>Image © the artist

Ardiyanto Pranata

Educated at Gaja Madah University in Yogyakarta, Ardiyanto Pranata is an internationally renowned Indonesian batik artist, painter and textile designer. He initially trained as an agricultural technologist, but gravitated to the art of batik as his first love in 1970s, becoming an emissary for the reinvigoration of traditional handmade techniques and designs that have suffered decline in recent decades due to mass-production. He is also skilled in the art of ikebana, a fashion designer and an interior design consultant, and has lectured in the Theatre department of the Indonesian Institute of Art. In 1972, he established PT Ardiyanto Wijayakusuma Batik, a workshop and gallery focusing on the production and promotion of traditional Indonesian batik art. He has received numerous awards in Indonesia for his contribution to education, the arts and cultural tourism. In 2002, he was appointed Chair of the organising committee for the second International Batik Festival held in Yogyakarta.

In July 1997, Ardiyanto was invited to take part in the Australasian Print Project, held at the then NTU Print Workshop (now Northern Editions Printmaking Studio), along with four other artists: Yuan Mor’O Ocampo (Philippines), Peter Adsett (a New Zealand artist, then based in Darwin), and Djalu Gurruwiwi and Dhopia Yunupingu (husand and wife Yolngu artists from Northeast Arnhem Land).  The print workshop coordinators of the project were Basil Hall and Jan Hogan, assisted by Leon Stainer. Shaun Poustie editioned the screenprints for the project.

Hall and Hogan described the guiding principle of the project as being an opportunity for artists ‘to participate in an exchange of ideas about place.’ The ‘process of printmaking and the place of Darwin’ became ‘common ground for the beginning of an exchange’ that would be repeated in a second workshop held in 1998. Each of the artists were relative novices to the medium of printmaking; each had diverse practices in other media and established reputations as individual practitioners. Yet each had been selected for their ‘receptivity’ to collaborative and community focused work.

In the catalogue foreword for the exhibition celebrating Stage 1 of the project, entitled ‘The Meeting of Waters’ and held at 24HRArt – the NT Centre for Contemporary Art in September 1998, Hall and Hogan described the ‘role of art in the construction of cultural identity’ as intrinsic to the printmaking workshop and ‘fundamental in the exchange of ideas’ that took place between artists meeting and working together for the first time. The workshop became ‘an environment in which experimenting and doing were paramount; where the process of printmaking, the process of collaboration and the process of understanding were allowed to weave through the event.’ The medium of printmaking was itself a ‘meeting point’: a creative space where ‘artists showed great generosity and integrity in their exchange of ideas, with respect and understanding of another world view.’

‘Water’ became the artists’ agreed project theme, cultural specificity giving way to a universal and unifying element present in all the artist’s lives and cultural framework, and an emblematic device in their existing work. The title for Ardiyanto’s Window (1997), echoed in other prints (Jendela Dalam, ‘Window In’) references perhaps, the process of experiencing other world views as an act of learning by looking and seeing. In this work, an aqueous blue enclosure forms a diaphanous boundary around fluid lines and eroded marks, seemingly susceptible to the flow of air and effects of light, like a batik silk. Both the etching’s delicate composition and palette refer symbolically to the project itself as a true ‘meeting of waters’, where there are no fixed rules, hard boundaries or harsh marks: all is porous, mutable and receptive to change and transformation. Whilst Ardiyanto has always maintained a highly personal visual vocabulary for his paintings, distinct from the motifs and compositional designs of his batik practice, the two appear to have coalesced in the medium of printmaking.

Ardiyanto Pranata has exhibited his batik work, paintings and graphic art, nationally and internationally, since 1973.  His work is represented in the National Historical Museum of Art (Jakarta, Indonesia), National Gallery (Singapore), Victoria and Albert Museum (London, UK), Council of Europe Palace (Strasbourg, France), Röhsska Museum of Design and Applied Art (Gothenburg, Sweden), Darlington Gallery (Middleburg, Virginia, USA), Textile Museum Krefeld (Germany) and Masaki Ishikawa Collection (Tokyo, Japan).

Sources:
Jan Hogan, Basil Hall & Nigel Lendon, ‘The Meeting of Waters: An exhibition of prints and works by artists from the Australasian Print Project’ (A collaboration involving artists from Indonesia, the Philippines, Arnhem Land and Darwin), Northern Territory University & 24HR Art – NT Centre for Contemporary Art, Darwin, 1998

Daena Murray, ‘The Meeting of the Waters: The Australasian Print Project’ in Artlink, vol 18 no 4, 1998:W artlink.com.au/articles/179/the-meeting-of-the-waters-the-australian-print-pro/

Anita Angel
Curator, Charles Darwin University Art Collection and Art Gallery
13 July 2014

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