Art is at its most powerful when it marks the era that we live in. Photography and new art, by the nature of their medium, represents the current generation: ever-changing, ever-growing, continuously accelerating. Urban environments and culture grow with a rapidity that is only rivaled by technological advancement and it is this theme that the present collection of cutting-edge eleven works brings forth. They vary in form and appearance, but the themes they discuss are those most integrated with current contemporary life. They may evoke personal contemplation and evolution - Who are we? How should we live? What is our destiny? – as exemplified by works by Ay Tjoe Christine, Agan Harahap, Yee I-Lann and Neal Oshima. They may question the urban lifestyle, fluctuating between a world that is both real and unreal, such as works by Indra Leonardi, Jason Tablante, Wawi Navarroza and Yason Banal. They may express playfulness and humour, as seen in pieces by Tromarama, Erwin Windu Pranata and Angki Purbandono. Essentially, however, these works ultimately narrate the journey of human existence.
Debuting for the first time at Sotheby's are works by Erwin Windu Pranata, who combines video animation with sculpture with his 1 Eye Mickey (Lot 261). Playful and innovative, Erwin is one of the first in Indonesia to use this creative method to enhance the work's visual aspects and effects. Another innovation in Southeast Asian New Media Art is epitomized by a work by Tromarama. Tromarama, from Indonesia, is a collective that was formed in 2004 by Febie Babyrose, Ruddy Hatumena and Herbert Hans. Their work, represented here by *Ting (Lot 265), poses intriguing yet playful commentaries and observations on contemporary urban culture. Working in different media, particularly stop-motion animation and combining it with music produced by local bands especially for their projects, Tromarama has exhibited extensively, including at the Mori Art Museum, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, and the 5th International Video Art Biennial. *Ting perfectly describes the urban masses; they move in herds, follow each other and do what the other does; they are restless and thus embark on adventures and travel the world, only to find that ultimately the place they long for most is home.
Like the episodes from daily life, these little vignettes speak of hope, fear, desire, relationships, humour, goodness, and the quest for life's meaning. Tracey Emin once said, "There should be something revelatory about art. It should be totally new and creative, and it should open doors for new thoughts and new experiences." These works possess the power of storytelling and their form enables them to do so in the most extraordinary way. They reveal what is hidden, obscure what is shown and feel through absence. And as they provoke, inspire, caution and delight, they reveal something about the creator, the viewer, and if the timing is right, the life we are living.
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