Indonesia’s National Gallery Mounts Its First Exhibition of 2022

The five-week showcase draws on the museum’s own collection while bringing together pieces loaned from major institutions in Germany, Singapore, and Thailand.

Paduan Suara yang Tidak Bisa Berkata Tidak (The Choir that Cannot Say No), a 1997 installation by Indonesian artist S. Teddy D. (All photos courtesy of Goethe-Institut)

Art aficionados in Jakarta have every reason to visit Galeri Nasional Indonesia in the coming days to see a special exhibition titled “Para Sekutu yang Tidak Bisa Berkata Tidak” (The Acquiescent Allies). Running until February 27, it’s part of a project initiated by the Goethe-Institut named “Collecting Entanglements and Embodied Histories,” a dialogue between the collections of the Indonesian National Gallery, MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum in Chiang Mai, Berlin’s Nationalgalerie, and the Singapore Art Museum. For this final installment in a series of exhibitions held across the four institutions, curator Grace Samboh sought to bring out new perspectives on historical events through the eyes of the 50 featured artists, with 78 works organized into themed sections that examine commonalities between creators of disparate backgrounds and periods.

The showcase takes its name from Indonesian artist S. Teddy D.’s 1997 installation Paduan Suara yang Tidak Bisa Berkata Tidak (literally “The Choir that Cannot Say No”). Reproduced for the exhibition, the artwork comprises preserved chicken heads lined up rows on a stepped platform, satirizing the political choir of yes-men who were incapable of defying then-president Soeharto. Also represented are leading local figures such as Agus Suwage and Tisna Sanjaya, as well as Edhi Sunarso, the late master sculptor responsible for designing Jakarta’s iconic Welcome Monument and several more high-profile projects around the Indonesian capital. Other featured masters include Walter Spies; Wassily Kandinsky — considered one of the pioneers of abstract Western art; Vietnamese painter Bui Suoi Hoa; and the celebrated Singaporean artist Jimmy Ong, who is best known for his large-scale charcoal drawings.

Because of capacity restrictions, visitors must pre-book their slots online via at least six hours before arrival. A limited number of hourly slots are available every day between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. (except for public holidays), and curatorial tours with Grace Samboh will be scheduled throughout the exhibition period, alongside public programs both online and offline that cater to different age groups.

More information here.

Nguyen Trinh Ti’s Unsubtitled, an artwork created in 2010.

January December Skin (1989) by leading Singaporean artist Jimmy Ong.

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