Centre for Contemporary Photography—Melbourne, Australia
Opening: 27 October 2011
Friday 28 October to Sunday 11 December 2011.
Artists/curators’ talk: 12noon, Saturday 29 October


Agan Harahap
Angki Purbandono
Wimo Ambala Bayang
Jim Allen Abel
Akiq AW

Curated by Kristi Monfries and Georgie Sedgwick

Funded the Australian Indonesia Institute, CCP and Ruang Mes56

For the last 10 years, as a collective, Ruang Mes56 has been using artistic practices to respond to the changes occurring within their rapidly expanding nation, Indonesia. Primarily working in the medium of photography, these artists have been developing their work collectively and as individuals to create visual representations of different aspects of Indonesian contemporary culture and its constantly shifting realities. Their work as a whole offers insights into the fast paced move from third world to developing nation and the concerns and issues they face as a generation responsible for their own future – a future vision, shaped in part by the images that they have created.

The works presented in Ruang Mes56: Contemporary Photography from Indonesia are by five of the Ruang Mes56 artists stable: Wimo Ambala Bayang, Akiq AW, Agan Harahap, Angki Purbandono and Jim Allen Abel.

The works traverse a range of contemporary issues facing Indonesians. Jim Allen Abel’s work is a visual deconstruction of authority through the symbol of the uniform, utilising performance art practices, action and awkwardness. Agan Harahap’s unique and playful anthropomorphic images questions Indonesian cultural attitudes towards the domination of the natural world over the man made world. Angki Purbandono’s disturbing and ironic ‘fashion book’ looks at outsider fashions styles of the homeless and forgotten on the streets of Yogyakarta and Jakarta. Wimo Ambala Bayang’s work comments on the prevalence of ancient Javanese mythologies which are manifest in sacred Javanese sites and objects and continue to inform contemporary political and cultural discourse. Finally, Akiq AW’s work explores the visual semiotics of space through the ordering of colour and shapes, resulting in a highly coded series of images that try to make sense of a landscape and a country that is by nature chaotic.

Mes56 is at the forefront of the contemporary photography movement in Indonesia, a scene that while young is attracting the attention of the local and international community alike for its fresh take on the medium as well as the insights they offer in to contemporary Indonesian society as it shapes and is shaped by our increasingly globalised world.

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