selected exhibitions * solo
2015 Andrey Bartenev. Say: I love you, MOMMA, Moscow Russia
2014 inTransitio, BeArt Gallery, Heidelberg, Germany *
2012 Kamasutra Spoon, Biennale for the Young Arts, MMOMA, Moscow, Russia
2011 mammae, ViViYip Art Space, Jakarta, Indonesia *
2010 30 Nations, Watermill Center Openhouse, NY
2009 VISTO, KOONG Gallery, Jakarta, Indonesia *
2007 faces, Alpha Utara Gallery, Penang, Malaysia *
residencies & workshops
2007 Guest Residency at Malihom-ABN-Amro, Penang, Malaysia
2004 – 15 Participation and later d Annual Summer Program, Water Mill Center, Southampton LI, NY
2013 Showcase at PACE Gallery, NY in conjunction with the de Kooning AIR Program Curation & realization
2007 – 14 Watermill Centre Art Collection, NY, USA, Documentation, partly in collaboration with Lesley Leslie-Spinks and Carlos Soto
2013 Kampung Pulo, Free Portrait Project for people from the outskirts of Jakarta
related work experience
2015 Watermill Benefit (Fundraiser for Watermill Center), Berlin, Germany, Production
2012 Times Square Moment, Public Art Program, Times Square Alliance, NY, Documentation
2011 – 13 AIR program at de Kooning Studio Management
2011 PA to Lisa de Kooning Establishing AIR in Easthampton
2007 – 12 Watermill Centre Art Collection, NY, USA documentation
2010 little items he left behind - Documentation book comission , de Kooning, Studio, Easthampton, Photogaphy, Layout & Design
2008 Watermill Center, NY, USA PR & Photography
2008 Jenggala Keramik, Bali, Indonesia Creative Services Manager
2007 PR for the Summer Program of the Byrd Hoffmann Watermill foundation, NY, USA
2006 – 07 PA to Robert Wilson
2003 The Magic night by Kurt Weill, Kurt Weill Festival, Dessau & Düsseldorf, Germany, directed by Milan Sladek, Actor, lead character
2002 – 05 Staatliche Bühnenreife - Acting diploma, Schauspielschule Mainz, Germany
2001 – 02 Staatstheater Wiesbaden, Wiesbaden, Germany Rigger & technical assistant
2000 – 02 ZDF News studio, Mainz, Germany Production assistant
I fell into photography by chance.
After finishing high school I had a strong interest in art management, however, without serious intentions, auditioned at a private acting school, and to my surprise was accepted. Even though not entirely convinced I started my training in 2002. The experience was vital to my further career path as it taught me how to work with people, empathize, read minimal gestures and mimics, and instruct positions, posture and movement. People, their lives and emotional expressions was to become the focus of my work, artistically and socially.
The encounter with Robert Wilson during a workshop for ‘I la Galigo’ was hugely influential, and I later received the incredible opportunity to work for him as his personal assistant. Traveling extensively with Wilson in 2005, I documented everything required with the camera, and he subsequently greatly encouraged me to turn it into a career.
I understood the power of a single image not through art, but documentary photography. Several photographers had captured my interest, among them Leni Riefenstahl, Jock Sturges and Mona Kuhn, whose words instigated me and my work: “Develop your own perspective and sharpen it.” And so I began to look intensively at people, taking portraits in order to manifest emotional expressions, exhibiting my first completed series in 2007 in Malaysia.
I worked both on the street and in the studio, which I prefer for reasons of precision and priority. Here I can control all aspects concerning light and backdrop, in order to concentrate fully on the figure. I start with the most simple solution and build more complex challenges from there. However, the question always persists: What are the most minimal means to work with? It beholds a simple concept of “drawing” with light, i.e. treating the camera equipment as pencil and brush, and letting outlines delicately emerge from the paper, starting with one line, evolving into planes and bodies. Since I never formally trained as a photographer, I retain the freedom to playfully work with the medium, discovering new ways of capturing images as I go along.
I quickly moved from faces to work with the whole body, taking an interest in emotion manifested in corporal postures and movement. For the series VISTO in 2010 I worked with trained dancers in order to freeze movements of extreme concentration and relaxation in time, and capture a body and its distorted shadowy companion looming like a ghost behind its back. I asked the dancers to empty their faces and shift emotions into their body and movement. A depiction of utter health and beauty that bears a fragility and duality. We often worked as long as the models needed to forget about their nakedness and began to perceive themselves in a non-sexual way, for that is a moment of purity, when you really get naked long after you have taken your clothes off. It then starts being about the form of the body as sculpture, the convex and the concave. The whole process of arriving at that is an essential part of my work.
The series inTransitio which I worked on in Jakarta and Heidelberg in 2013 also dealt with dance, but rather than sharpening the body as sculpture, I lay focus on the entwining movements of the hands, perhaps the most crucial body part with regards to Javanese dance. The juxtaposition with the blurred, almost vanished body implies the near extinction of this form of dance.
My interest in desexualizing unclad bodies is tied in with my intention to address social taboos evolving around nudity, especially in Indonesia. I aspire to engage critically with political or social issues. And yet, I do not consider myself an intellectual or political artist, but rather an emotive one, who touches upon issues through abstracted sensuality and moving beauty.
Visuality is immensely important, as it is the contact point and beginning of communication between the artist and the viewer. I am interested in blurring the lines, distorting visual reality, in order to arrive at a deeper reality and meaning of life.
My projects are rarely initiated through intellectual considerations, but through a personal impulse and urge to engage in social and political contexts. Kampung Pulo, a social art project, I realized in 2013, simply begun with the wish to contribute to a community in the outskirts of Jakarta. A photo booth allowed all and everyone in the neighborhood to have their portrait taken, which is usually a privilege. The growing series of black and white faces and expressions currently encompasses 160 portraits, and the reactions from participants as well as critics were powerful and contagious.
This is emotional photography.