Between the swarm of people constantly crowding Bagus Pandega’s show-space to the sounds of clicks and hums emitted into the surrounding area from his artwork, Pandega’s collection of electro-mechanic sound installations, Clandestine Transgressions, were literally and figuratively a buzz-worthy addition to this year’s Art Basel Hong Kong show. The Jakarta native was the only Indonesian artist included in this year’s Discoveries, one of the event’s six sectors which highlights emerging artists from around the world. At first glance, the installations seem to be little more than randomly arranged objects mechanized into Rube Goldberg−esque contraptions, but once one uncovers the backstory to each piece, the collection begins to move with new meaning.
Through this collection, Pandega explores the natural tendency for people to mask their deepest secrets with their normative strengths and good deeds. Pandega sees secrets as an aspect of memory, a theme that has inspired many of his previous works. To create each piece, Pandega interviewed a diverse sample of people—musicians, prostitutes, office workers—about a deep secret that they had never shared before. He then represented each individual and their secret by arranging a miscellany of the interviewee’s personal objects into an audio-mechanical installation, using the interviewee’s voice samples to dictate the movements. In effect, Pandega’s artwork visually and aurally communicates his subject’s secrets without fully revealing what they are—rendering them in the “language” of his art. With titles like The Mind, The Lust, and The Ordinary, viewers can only guess at the obscured stories behind each piece.—Chitra Anwar
For more information about Art Basel itself, visit Art Basel.