Agus Suwage (IDN)

Agus Suwage was born In Purworejo, Indonesia in 1959. He graduated in 1986 from Graphic Design at Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesia. The artist often uses his self-portrait in different poses and settings that convey critical messages concerning socio-political issues around him. His work often shows extensive appropriation of works by other artists, as well as his own, which he continuously remakes and develops, repeatedly and on multiple layers. In 2009, he had his retrospective exhibition, “Still Crazy After All These Years” in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. He was also featured in “Awas! Recent Art from Indonesia” (Australia, 1999); “Negotiating Home, History and Nation: Two Decades of Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia, 1991 – 2010” (Singapore Art Museum, 2011); and “SIP! Indonesian Art Today” (Singapore and Germany, 2012-2013).

Both of his works; “Tembok Toleransi” (The Wall of Tolerance, 2012) and “Social Mirror” (2012) reflect the multicultural crisis in Indonesia these days. In both of these works, Agus Suwage

[column] Agus-Suwage2
Tembok Toleransi
2012
Zinc, gold-plated brass, led lights and sounds 318
x 468 cm[/column][column] Agus-Suwage
Social Mirrors #3
2013
Trumpet, copper, wood and car audio systems
118 x 24 x 70 cm[/column]
reveals his daily experience of besiegement by the muezzins’ calls to prayer from the mosques around his home. The muezzins’ calls, intended as an enticing invitation for Moslems to pray, often turns out to be jolting and deafening, blaring from three, four or five speakers from several nearby mosques at almost the same time. This works also alludes to the institutionalization of religion in the daily and political life in Indonesia.
“Social Mirror”, a car audio system concealed in the plinth plays a trumpet-only rendition of the traditional azzan call to prayer, which is heard through a small speaker in the horn of the cornet. The sound level is low, which invites viewers to come close and be enveloped by the tune. The work is a reflection on the role of Islam in contemporary society, in light of the current rise of fundamentalism in Indonesia.