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Ciputra Artpreneur celebrates centenary of Modern Art Master Hendra Gunawan with two prestigious exhibitions

Ciputra Artpreneur today revealed details of 100 Years Hendra Gunawan– A Centenary Celebration, marking the centenary year of Hendra Gunawan, one of Indonesia’s greatest modern art masters. 

In this momentous year, Ciputra Artpreneur celebrates the life and work of Hendra Gunawan with two prestigious exhibitions opening on 4 August at the Ciputra Museum and Ciputra Gallery – Hendra Gunawan: Prisoner of Hope and Spektrum Hendra Gunawan.

Hendra Gunawan was born on 11 June 1918 in Bandung. His name has since been carved into the annals of Indonesia’s history as well as art history. Hendra was an artist imbued with a nationalist spirit, with Indonesia as his most treasured motherland. With his involvement in Indonesia’s battle for independence and the tumultuous years of his imprisonment from 1965 to 1978, Hendra Gunawan is etched into the history of the Indonesian nation.

As an artist, Hendra Gunawan’s works were defined by distinctive and bold colours, which portrayed the aesthetics and tropical light of the Indonesian archipelago. His love for the land and the people lent his works a distinctive characteristic, imbuing them with his passion for the common folk, which contributed to an artistic form and style that made his art uniquely and distinctly Indonesian. Central to the centenary celebration is the theme of Prisoner of Hope, which is reflected in the Ciputra Museum’s new permanent exhibition presenting 32 artworks by Hendra Gunawan, an increase from the 10 works that were previously exhibited.

The exhibition Hendra Gunawan: Prisoner of Hope is curated by Agus Dermawan T. and Aminudin TH Siregar specially for the centenary. The exhibition comprises works from the private collection of Ir. Ciputra who had a close and extraordinary friendship with the artist. This exhibition is his homage to Hendra Gunawan whom he has described as an artist who “...was able to bring forth the theme of profound humanity.” The largest Hendra Gunawan exhibition to be presented in Indonesia, it will also feature a significant number of works from the collection that have never been publicly exhibited. 

The exhibition Prisoner of Hope alludes to the 13 years that Hendra Gunawan spent in the Kebun Waru prison for his alleged activities with Lekra, the People’s Art Movement in Indonesia active in the 1950s and 60s. However, beyond this reference to Hendra’s physical imprisonment, the exhibition reflects upon the notion of hope that Hendra carried with him throughout his life.

This hope manifested itself in the sacrifices he made for his first love - Indonesia, as he constantly strived to impart a sense of freedom, an artistic energy and a new vision to the Indonesian people. He pictured Indonesians as hardworking people, portrayed in most of his paintings as fishermen, farmers, market vendors, women and men toiling together in the fields, husbands and wives working hand-in-hand, children and parents being together as a family. He nurtured this hope right up to his death in Bali in 1983, leaving Indonesia and the world with the legacy of his ideas, ideals and art.

The same emotion is strongly projected in the historically significant painting titled Pangeran Diponegoro Terluka (Diponegoro Wounded At War), one of the works to be exhibited in the showand the largest painted by Hendra Gunawan. It features the Javanese Prince Diponegoro who struggled against Dutch control of Java. He too was a Prisoner of Hope, embodying the hopes and dreams of the people in a time of hopelessness and despair. This makes the painting a key focus of the exhibition as it expresses ideas of sacrifice and selflessness. Through this notion of Hendra as a prisoner of hope, we can better understand his life and work as well as his pivotal position as a painter of profound humanity.

Yani Mariani Sastranegara - Senandung tri purnama chandrika

Parallel to Hendra Gunawan: Prisoner of Hope is the exhibition Spektrum Hendra Gunawan, underscoring Hendra Gunawan’s importance and relevance to contemporary Indonesian art practices today. The exhibition is curated by Rifky Effendy and is a contemporary response to Hendra Gunawan and his art. This exhibition features artworks by 70 contemporary Indonesian artists.

Spektrum Hendra Gunawan is a form of tribute, honouring the art of Hendra Gunawan by way of reading, contemplating and re-experiencing the many aspects found in his artistic praxis. The works in the exhibition offer new perspectives and discourse into Hendra Gunawan’s art, reinterpreting it vis-à-vis today’s contemporary art practices. The works of the artists in the exhibition demonstrate the diversity of media, from conventional art techniques such as painting, sculpture, or ceramics, to new media works, video, assemblage, installations and photography to name a few.

These works in new media trigger different interpretations, responses and perspectives from each of the artists to Hendra Gunawan’s works. The diversity of mediums, techniques and materials on display in the exhibition also aims to show the development of contemporary Indonesian art that has emerged after Hendra Gunawan.

Among the 70 artists exhibiting in Spektrum Hendra Gunawan are Agung Kurniawan, Agustina Sitompul, Arkiv Vilmansa, Davy Linggar, Eddy Susanto, Eldwin Pradipta, Erika Ernawan, Franziska Fennert, Galam Zulkifli, Hanafi, Heri Dono, Jumaldi Alfi, Made Wianta, Mella Jaarsma, Nasirun, Nindityo Adipurnomo, Otty Widasari, Patricia Oentario, Putu Sutawijaya, Theresia, Rancajale and Ugo Untoro to name a few.

The exhibitions Hendra Gunawan: Prisoner of Hope and Spektrum Hendra Gunawan are part of Ciputra Artpreneur’s celebration of Hendra Gunawan’s 100th anniversary: 100 Years Hendra Gunawan– A Centenary Celebration.In addition to the exhibitions, Ciputra Artpreneur will be presenting a series of public programmes that would include talks such as a panel discussing the life and works of Hendra Guawan with Agus Dermawan T and Aminudin TH Siregar; a talk titled Art For Life on creativity, self-expression and art therapy with Ananda Sukarlan, Monty Setiadarma, Puri Hadipran and Cecilia Trijata, a discussion titled Thinking Beyond Large-scale Digital Screen by Adi Panuntun, to name a few. There will also be workshops and performances by Gigi Art of Dance. Hendra Gunawan: Prisoner of Hope will be open to the public from 5 August onwards. 

Spektrum Hendra Gunawan will be on from 5 to 16 August 2018.

(Main image: Diponegoro Wounded at War - 1982 by Hendra Gunawan)

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