The Indonesian Contemporary Art & Design festival has returned this year with an exciting collection of exhibits and lively discussions on expressing intelligent creativity in contemporary Indonesia. ICAD 2012, which opened on May 5 at the Grandkemang Hotel in South Jakarta, introduces “gen.i.US” as its theme.
The grand opening paraded a spectacular showcase of the collaborative arts. A 3D projection of traditional music and storytelling was followed by a medley of The Extra Large’s smooth jazz/R&B interpretations of Indonesian national songs, a Keraton-inspired fashion show by Auguste Soesastro and vibrant traditional dances such as the Acehnese seudati, Balinese kecak and East Javanese kuda lumping.
But that was only the beginning. The six-week festival runs until June 15, offering a collection of unconventional artwork and interior design and stimulating conventions and workshops every week. The hotel lobby venue means the exhibition is accessible 24 hours a day. And the weekly events, featuring high-profile guest speakers and entertainment, provide an excuse for visitors to keep returning for more.
The force behind ICAD is Artura Insanindo, an interior design and architecture firm.
“Designers are insatiable people,” chairwoman Diana Nazir said. “As interior designers and architects, we work mostly based on our clients’ orders. But ICAD provides [Artura employees] the opportunity to create works of design based on our creative idealism rather than based on orders.”
Diana adds that ICAD is a nonprofit initiative that Artura employees work on in their free time.
By exhibiting artistic furniture pieces and installations in Grandkemang, ICAD’s collection responds directly to the hotel’s environment and attracts the attention of potential customers outside the conventional circle of art aficionados. “We turned walk-in customers into new collectors,” Diana said.
Although ICAD was initiated by interior designers and architects, the festival has gone beyond those disciplines and embraced creative professionals from every field imaginable, including film, music, fashion, hospitality and technology.
ICAD 2012 features the works of 38 artists. Some of them, such as Anabelle Clarissa and Tari Kunaryo, are young Artura employees with a history of memorable creations from previous ICAD festivals. Others are internationally known artists in their own right, such as sculptor Dolorosa Sinaga, painter Irawan Karseno and independent filmmaker Hafiz.
The hotel’s walk-through atmosphere creates an intimacy between visitors and the art. Dharma Prayoga’s ball chair, named “A Bowl of Seating Noodles,” has a painted resin exterior that cleverly resembles a typical bowl used by roadside bakso peddlers and a swirly synthetic seat that resembles strands of noodles. It sits right in the middle of the lobby, inviting visitors to take a seat.
Then there is Francis Surjaseputra’s “Lesehan.” Traditionally, lesehan takes place in a humble warung or roadside foodstall, where patrons would remove their shoes, sit on the tikar (a mat woven from palm leaves or plastic) on the ground and dine around a low table. But Francis gives a modern and luxurious twist to lesehan by making a bright red padded mat fit for a king, with fine silver cutlery on a stylish low table.
No lesehan is complete unless kampung -style krupuk (crackers) are served with the meal. And sure enough, right next to Francis’s “Lesehan” is fashion photographer Ayang Kalake’s “Kaleng Krupuk.” Ayang transformed the inconspicuous krupuk tin into an interior design statement by painting several with brightly colored portraits of international high fashion models.
Beyond the art are guest speakers, conventions and workshops. Diana said ICAD was shooting for a “multilayered approach” that allowed visitors from all walks of life to find something at the exhibition that spoke to their hearts.