Agus Suwage


ABOUT THE ARTIST

One of Indonesia’s most revered and internationally active contemporary artists, Agus Suwage is known for his paintings, drawings, sculptures, and installations that relentlessly investigate the interrelationships between multiple forms of identity – touching on issues of ethnicity, religion, and politics – as viewed through a very personal lens. Over the course of his 35-year career, he has continually returned to the self portrait as a primary motif through which not only to address these broader socio-political issues but also to probe what it means to be an artist. He has had a longstanding fascination with the process of artistic inspiration, with notions of artistic influence, and with the role of the artist in society. Appropriation, particularly from his own work – but also from the works of his peers, of iconic works of the past, and of the contemporary mass media – is a central, ongoing strategy for Suwage, a process of recycling and recontextualizing that parallels the cycle of life and death that has been an underlying theme throughout his career, and which is grounded in the spiritual traditions of Java’s ancient Hindu-Buddhist culture. Suwage’s mixed Chinese Javanese heritage, and his experience as a Christian convert to Islam, have informed his approach to cultural pluralism and religious syncretism. His works have often made critiques – sometimes pointed, sometimes veiled – of various forms of intolerance and of the attempt to impose a single rigid, monolithic structure on society, whether by Indonesia’s authoritarian Suharto regime (1966-98) or more recently by the rise of a fundamentalist strain of Islam in Indonesia. The specter of violence recurs in many of his works, creating a somber mood that is leavened by humor and an irreverent spirit of self-mockery and irony. Suwage is a master of paint and watercolor, and his works shimmer with vibrant color delineated by boldly assured line drawing, the use of textual components, and startling juxtapositions of images – all hallmarks of his early training in graphic design.

 

Born in 1959 in Central Java, Indonesia, Suwage received his M.F.A. in graphic design from the Faculty of Art and Design at Bandung Institute of Technology in 1986. He has since been featured in almost 200 exhibitions around the world, and his works are included in most comprehensive collections of Southeast Asian contemporary art. He has exhibited in numerous international biennials, including the Asia Pacific Triennial (1996), the Gwangju Biennial (2000), the Singapore Biennial (2006), the Jogja Biennale (2007 and 2013), and Prospect New Orleans (2014-15). In 2009, the Jogja National Museum in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, devoted all three floors of its building to a major retrospective of Suwage’s work, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, and installations. A 670-page monograph, Still Crazy After All These Years, was published in conjunction with this landmark exhibition. Recent museum exhibitions include: Manifesto V: Arus, National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta (2016); After Utopia: Revisiting the Ideal in Asian Contemporary Art, Singapore Art Museum (2015); Panorama: Recent Art from Contemporary Asia, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore (2012); Beyond the East, Macro Museum, Rome, Italy (2011); Beyond the Self, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, Australia (2011). He presented his first solo exhibition in the United States, The End is Just Beginning Is the End, at Tyler Rollins Fine Art in 2011. This was followed in 2012-13 by a three-part series of CYCLE exhibitions shown consecutively in Jakarta, New York, and Berlin. CYCLE No. 2 was presented at Tyler Rollins Fine Art in 2013. In his New York Times review of the exhibition, Holland Cotter wrote: “Topical commentary has always been the foundation of this remarkable artist’s work. He’s a born satirist, which means a born moralist. The range of his subjects, cultural and existential, is broad; his take, vivid and sharp.” His third solo exhibition at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, Room of Mine, runs from February 16 through April 1, 2017.

Room of Mine (2017)

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Fragmen Pustaka - After Raden Saleh, 2016

watercolor, ink and tobacco juice on paper

48 x 66 in. (122 x 168 cm)

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Fragmen Tempat Tidur - After Raden Saleh, 2016

watercolor, ink and tobacco juice on paper

48 x 66 in. (122 x 168 cm)

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Icono Fascismo II - After Wakidi, 2016

watercolor, ink and tobacco juice on paper

48 x 88 ½ in. (122 x 225 cm)

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No Evil and Co. II - After Soedjojono, 2016

watercolor, ink and tobacco juice on paper

48 x 88 ½ in. (122 x 225 cm)

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Dogma Bertumpuk, 2016

papier-mâché, ink, tobacco juice and acrylic

76 ¾ x 56 x 37 ½ in. (195 x 142 x 95 cm)

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Kama Sutra II, 2016

papier-mâché, gouache, watercolor and tobacco juice

87 x 95 ¼ x 2 ¾ in. (223 x 242 x 7 cm)

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Room of Mine, 2016

papier-mâché, dentures, watercolor and tobacco juice

63 x 114 x 16 in. (160 x 290 x 41 cm)

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Song Without Sound, 2016

used bottles, ink jet print, ink, tobacco juice

108 x 177 x 2 ¾ in. (274 x 450 x 7 cm)

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The Anatomy of Desire, 2016

papier-mâché, gold leaf, graphite and found objects

67 x 22 ½ x 15 ¾ in. (170 x 57 x 40 cm)

Installation View of "Room of Mine" at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, February 16 - April 1, 2017

Installation View of "Room of Mine" at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, February 16 - April 1, 2017

Installation View of "Room of Mine" at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, February 16 - April 1, 2017

Installation View of "Room of Mine" at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, February 16 - April 1, 2017

Installation View of "Room of Mine" at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, February 16 - April 1, 2017

Installation View of "Room of Mine" at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, February 16 - April 1, 2017

CYCLE No. 2 (2013)

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Tembok Toleransi #2, 2013

tin cans and car audio systems

138 ½ x 179 ¼ x 7 ½ in. (358 x 457 x 16 cm)

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Ave Mariam #2, 2013

oil and graphite on zinc and aluminum

shaped panel approximately: 70 ½ x 25 ½ x 1 ¼ in. (179 x 62.5 x 3.5 cm)

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Malaikat Yang Menjaga Hankamnas #3 (the angel guard of Hankamnas #3), 2012

oil and gold leaf on zinc and aluminum

shaped panel approximately: 46 x 34 ¼ x 1 ¼ in. (117 x 87 x 3.5 cm)

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Death is Certain, Life is Not, 2012

oil, silver leaf and bitumen on zinc and aluminum

shaped panel approximately 48 ¼ x 34 ¼ x 1 ¼ in. (123 x 87 x 3.5 cm)

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Paradiso - Inferno #5, 2012

oil, silver leaf and bitumen on zinc and aluminum

shaped panel approximately: 53 ½ x 35 x 1 ¼ in. (136 x 89 x 3.5 cm)

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Social Mirrors, 2013

brass cornet, copper figure, wood base and car audio system

size including base: 47 x 27 ½ x 9 ½ in. (119 x 70 x 24 cm)

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Tolerance #1, 2012

oil, acrylic and bitumen on canvas

59 x 79 in. (150 x 200 cm)

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Tolerance #2, 2012

oil, acrylic and bitumen on canvas

59 x 79 in. (150 x 200 cm)

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Installation View of "CYCLE No. 2" at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, February 28 - April 13, 2013

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Installation View of "CYCLE No. 2" at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, February 28 - April 13, 2013

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Installation View of "CYCLE No. 2" at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, February 28 - April 13, 2013

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Installation View of "CYCLE No. 2" at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, February 28 - April 13, 2013

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Installation View of "CYCLE No. 2" at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, February 28 - April 13, 2013

The End Is Just Beginning Is the End (2011)

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The Kiss #3, 2010

oil on zinc

27 ½ x 36 in. (70 x 92 cm)

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Landscape with Man and Skeleton, 2010

oil on zinc

36 x 47 in. (91.5 x 119 cm)

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An Offering to Ego #3, 2010

oil on zinc

36 x 47 in. (91.5 x 119 cm)

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Happiness is a Warm Gun, 2011

zinc, acrylic, iron, and LED lightbox

53 x 47 x 63 in. (135 x 120 x 160 cm)

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An Offering to Ego #2, 2010

oil on zinc

36 x 47 in. (91.5 x 119 cm)

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Cleaning the Mirror #2, 2010

oil and asphaltum on zinc

47 x 36 in. (119 x 91.5 cm)

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Eros Kai Thanatos #3, 2010

oil, acrylic, and gold leaf on zinc

47 x 36 in. (119 x 91.5 cm)

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Still Alive, 2010

oil on zinc panel, with copper and zinc sculpture

painting: 47 x 36 in. (119.5 x 91.5 cm); guitar sculpture: 43 ¼ x 16 x 5 in. (110 x 41 x 12 cm)

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Beautiful Dead #2, 2010

oil, acrylic, and gold leaf on zinc

27 ½ x 36 in. (70 x 92 cm)

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Suwung, 2010

oil on zinc panel with graphite and polyester skeleton

36 x 27 ½ in. (92 x 70 cm)

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Ego Worship, 2010

oil on zinc

27 ½ x 36 in. (70 x 92 cm)

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Nine, 2010

oil on zinc

27 ½ x 36 in. (70 x 92 cm)

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Installation View of "The End Is Just Beginning Is the End" at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, March 3 - April 23, 2011

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Installation View of "The End Is Just Beginning Is the End" at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, March 3 - April 23, 2011

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Installation View of "The End Is Just Beginning Is the End" at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, March 3 - April 23, 2011

Archive (2010-2012)

Monumen Yang Menjaga Hankamnas, 2012

graphite on resin, gold-plated brass, cloth, steel, beer bottles, LED lights, acrylic box, flourescent lights

125 x 125 x 102 in. (320 x 260 x 260 cm)

Tembok Toleransi, 2012

zinc, gold-plated brass, LED lights, sounds

125 x 184 in. (318 x 468 cm)

Ave Maryam, 2012

digital print and oil paint on zinc plate, light bulbs, LED lights, electrical wire

76 x 25 in. (194 x 64 cm)

Permandangan Duniawi, 2012

oil paint and asphaltum on zinc

72 x 187 in. (183 x 475 cm)

Siklus, 2012

backdrop: digital print on aluminum, 90 pcs. 11x 16 in. (30 x 40 cm) (each)

front piece: zinc bucket, graphite on resin, light bulbs. approx. 25 ½ x 41 x 31 in. (65 x 105 x 80 cm)

Man of the Year #4, 2011

oil on galvanized zinc, small sculptures, found objects

360 ¼ x 177 in. (915 x 450 cm)

The Kiss #4, 2011

oil and acrylic on canvas

78 ¾ x 98 ½ in. (200 x 250 cm)

Eros Kai Thanatos #1, 2010

watercolor and tobacco juice on paper

16 panels; overall dimensions 89 ¾ x 89 ¾ in. (228 x 228 cm)

Archive (2009)

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8 Bab 44 Pasal #5, 2009

lithography, acrylic, two layers of handcut, pigment stained and stencil washed STPI handmade paper

51 x 41 x 1/5 in. (128.3 x 102.9 x .6 cm)

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Aku Mendengar, 2009

lithography, etching, pigment stained and stencil washed STPI handmade paper assembled with lithography on fabriano paper

50 x 40 x ¾ in. (127 x 101.6 x 1.9 cm)

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Abel, 2009

lithography, embossing and pigment stained STPI handmade paper

40 x 51 in. (101.6 x 128.3 cm)

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Fool in Love, 2009

graphite, duct tape

dimensions variable

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Luxury Crime, 2009

stainless steel, gold plated brass, rice

49 x 30 x 20 in. (124 x 77 x 52 cm) (3rd edition)

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Man of the Year, 2009

oil on linen

79 x 98 in. (200 x 250 cm)

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Passion Play, 2009

steel bars and six pieces lifesize sculptures, polyester resin, polyurethane, acrylic paint, iron

dimensions variable

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Toys 'S' Us #7, 2009

polyester resin, stainless steel, aluminum, acrylic paint

71 x 45 x 68 in. (180 x 115 x 172 cm)

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Vox Mortis, Vox Orbis, 2009

life-size sculptures, mixed media aluminum, silver plated, resin and oil paint

dimensions variable

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Too Young to Die, Too Old to Rock N' Roll #1, 2009

acrylic, cigarette butts, aluminum

20 x 47 x 6 in. (52 x 119 x 16 cm)

Archive (2008)

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After Gilbert and George, 2008

oil on canvas

79 x 79 in. (200 x 200 cm)

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Aku Ingin Hidup Seribu Tahun Lagi (King Liar), 2008

oil on canvas

59 x 47 in. (150 x 120 cm)

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After Jana Sterbak, 2008

oil on canvas

79 x 59 in. (200 x 150 cm)

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Andy Warhol, 2008

silver, silicone

6 x 4 x 28 in. (14 x 10 x 70 cm)

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Art of Punishment #2, 2008

watercolor on paper

45 x 61 in. (115 x 155 cm)

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Bush, 2008

acrylic on cardboard

102 x 61 in. (260 x 154 cm)

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Dalai Lama #4, 2008

oil on canvas

79 x 79 in. (200 x 200 cm)

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Edgar Allan Poe, 2008

aluminum, wood, iron

14 x 12 x 27 in. (35 x 30 x 68 cm)

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Holy Beer Dan Kawan-Kawan, 2008

acrylic and digital print on Hahnemühle canvas

74 x 37 in. (187 x 93 cm) (5 pieces)

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Part of an Offering to Ego #4, 2008

charcoal and graphite on paper

43 x 60 in. (110 x 152 cm)

Archive (2007)

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The Times They are a Changing Series (The Beatles), 2007

oil on linen

79 x 79 in. (200 x 200 cm)

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David Hockney, 2007

oil on canvas

59 x 47 in. (150 x 120 cm)

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Act Naturally, 2007

iron on wood

7 x 37 x 2 in. (17 x 95 x 5 cm)

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After Tania Bruguera, 2007

oil on canvas

79 x 59 in. (200 x 150 cm)

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An Offering to Ego, 2007

graphite

dimensions variable

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Are You Going With Me?, 2007

resin, aluminum, roller skates, leather

dimensions variable

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Coexist #2, 2007

oil on canvas

79 x 197 in. (200 x 500 cm)

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I Want to Live Another Thousand Years Series, 2007

oil on canvas

59 x 47 in. (150 x 120 cm) (27 pieces)

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Spa, 2007

oil on canvas

79 x 79 in. (200 x 200 cm)

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Menjaga Malam, 2007

resin, vinyl, stainless steel

137 x 98 x 16 in. (350 x 250 x 40 cm)

Archive (2006)

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Cross Road I, Collaboration work for the Singapore Biennale by Titarubi and Agus Suwage, 2006

iron, wood, lontar leaf, handmade flowers, ceramics

dimensions variable

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Cross Road, Collaboration work for the Singapore Biennale by Titarubi and Agus Suwage, 2006

iron, wood, lontar leaf, handmade flowers, ceramics

dimensions variable

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Pinkswing Park, Collaboration Work for CP Biennale by Agus Suwage and Davy Linggar, 2006

modified pedicab, digital print on paper, stone

dimensions variable

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Pinkswing Park Frame - Tengah, 2006

digital print on paper

dimensions variable

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Nikotin Glamor, 2006

aluminum, stainless steel, resin, cigarette butts, and blank discs

8 x 15 x 15 in. (21 x 37 x 37 cm)

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Tahta Untuk Rakyat, 2006

oil on canvas

83 x 197 in. (210 x 500 cm)

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Tahta Untuk Rakyat I, 2006

mixed media

dimensions variable

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The Times They are a Changing Series (Bob Dylan), 2006

oil on canvas

59 x 57 in. (150 x 145 cm)

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The Times They are a Changing Series (Madonna), 2006

oil on canvas

59 x 57 in. (150 x 145 cm)

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Nowhere Land #4, 2006

oil on canvas

59 x 79 in. (150 x 200 cm)

Archive (2005)

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Aku Ingin Hidup Seribu Tahun Lagi, 2005

modified pedicab, cigarette butts, watercolor on paper

30 x 22 in. (75 x 55 cm) (27 pieces)

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Air Seni, 2005

mixed media

130 x 110 in. (330 x 280 cm)

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All My Life I Gave You Nothing and Still You Ask for More, 2005

oil on canvas

59 x 57 in. (150 x 145 cm)

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Artist's Plan, 2005

resin, plastic, acrylic

24 x 16 x 16 in. (60 x 40 x 40 cm)

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Man Bites Man, Pig Eats Pig, 2005

oil on canvas

59 x 57 in. (150 x 145 cm)

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Memperagakan Herman Nitsch, 2005

waterclor and nicotine on paper

22 x 28 in. (57 x 70 cm)

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Self Healing Series, 2005

watercolor and nicotine on paper

dimensions variable

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Swarga Nunut, 2005

stainless steel, plastic, digital print

64 x 35 x 24 in. (162.5 x 90 x 62 cm)

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Blues Untuk Allah II, 2005

oil on canvas

65 x 79 in. (165 x 200 cm)

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Oh Plastik Oh Daging, 2005

oil on canvas

59 x 79 in. (150 x 200 cm)

Archive (2004)

Art of Punishment #3, 2004

oil on canvas

59 x 79 in. (150 x 200 cm)

Across the Universe, 2004

painted brass, oil on canvas, wood, vinyl

13 x 7 x 6 in. (33 x 17 x 15 cm) (4 pieces)

Holy Dog, 2004

oil on canvas

57 x 55 in. (145 x 140 cm)

Mengasong Barang Kontemporer, 2004

chrome, aluminum, cigarette butts

13 x 7 x 7 in. (33 x 17 x 18 cm)

Totem X'Ray, 2004

acrylic on canvas

57 x 55 in. (145 x 140 cm)

Playing the Fool, 2004

chrome, aluminum, wood, vinyl, magnetic chess

13 x 7 x 6 in. (33 x 17 x 15 cm)

Sekedar Memperagakan Apa Yang Sedang Dilakukan Oleh Si Dia, 2004

oil on canvas

59 x 57 in. (150 x 145 cm)

Sol & Luna #4, 2004

oil on wood

7 x 11 in. (18.5 x 29.5 cm)

Sol & Luna #7, 2004

oil on wood

12 x 6 ½ in. (30.5 x 16.5 cm)

Teruskan Semakin Sakit Semakin Baik, 2004

oil on canvas

59 x 57 in. (150 x 145 cm)

Archive (2003)

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Love Bomb, 2003

wrought iron, iron, neon sign

47 ¼ x 67 x 41 in. (120 x 170 x 105 cm)

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Holy Beer Dan Kawan-Kawan, 2003

digital print on canvas

79 x 40 in. (200 x 100 cm) (5 pieces)

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Meditation #1, 2003

digital print

18 x 18 x 2 in. (45 x 45 x 4.5 cm)

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Moral Skin Fables, 2003

oil, acrylic, goat's leather mounted on board

24 in. diameter (60 cm) (24 pieces)

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Paradiso-Inferno PP, 2003

digital print on canvas

diptych: each panel 79 x 40 in. (200 x 100 cm)

Potret Diri Sebagai Nero #2, 2003

acrylic on canvas

59 x 79 in. (150 x 200 cm)

Potret Diri Sebagai Nero, 2003

mixed media

dimensions variable

Toys 'S' Us #2, 2003

photo, zinc plate, metal string

12 x 16 x 2 in. (31 x 40 x 5 cm)

Toys 'S' Us #5, 2003

photo, zinc plate, chain

14 x 8 x ¾ in. (35 x 19.5 x 2 cm)

Yin Yang, 2003

photo, zinc plate, motor

9 x 12 x 4 in. (24 x 30 x 10 cm)


WORKS

Room of Mine (2017)

CYCLE No. 2 (2013)

The End Is Just Beginning Is the End (2011)

Archive (2010-2012)

Archive (2009)

Archive (2008)

Archive (2007)

Archive (2006)

Archive (2005)

Archive (2004)

Archive (2003)

Hyperallergic, An Indonesian Artist Paints Fundamentalists as Buffoons and Monkeys

March, 2017


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The Jakarta Post, Agus Suwage Goes Back to the Basics

January, 2015


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Prospect 3: Notes for Now

2014


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LACMA: Unframed, Contemporary Friends Acquire Ten New Works by Artists from around the World

January, 2014


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The New York Times, Agus Suwage: ‘Cycle No. 2’

April, 2013


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Beyond the Self at the Canberra National Portrait Gallery

August, 2011


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Art + Auction, From the Editor

June, 2011


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Indonesian Eye catalogue, Agus Suwage

May, 2011


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The Wall Street Journal, A Chance for Lesser Asian Stars to Shine

March, 2011


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NYCity Woman – On the Town, Midwinter Medley: Film, Theater, Arts and More

March, 2011


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Artinfo, Agus Suwage

March, 2011


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Art Market Monitor, Singapore is the Center of Southeast Asian Art

January, 2011


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The Wall Street Journal, The Year of the Artist

December, 2010


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Art Asia Pacific, Agus Suwage, All Things Must Pass

March, 2010


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Singapore Art Museum Classic Contemporary Catalogue

January, 2010


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The Grass Looks Greener Where You Water It. Indonesian Contemporary Art Showcase., Agus Suwage

2010


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MiNDFOOD, Artist Agus Suwage Defies Indonesia’s Conservatism

October, 2009


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Painting Today, Photographic

2009


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Thermocline of Art: New Asian Waves, Agus Suwage

2007


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Southeast Asian Art Today, Agus Suwage

1996


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