FX Harsono


ABOUT THE ARTIST

FX Harsono, one of Indonesia’s most revered contemporary artists, has been a central figure of the Indonesian art scene for over 40 years. In 1975, he was among a group of young artists who founded Indonesia’s Gerakan Seni Rupa Baru (New Art Movement), which emphasized an experimental, conceptual approach, the use of everyday materials, and engagement with social and political issues. Over the course of recent decades that have seen enormous transformations in Indonesia, Harsono has continuously explored the role of the artist in society, in particular his relationship to history. During Indonesia’s dictatorial Suharto regime (1967-98), his installation and performance works were powerfully eloquent acts of protest against an oppressive state apparatus. The fall of the regime in 1998, which triggered rioting and widespread violence, mainly against Indonesia’s ethnic Chinese minority, prompted an introspective turn in Harsono’s artistic practice. He embarked on an ongoing investigation of his own family history and the position of minorities in society, especially his own Chinese-Indonesian community. The recovery of buried or repressed histories, cultures, and identities – and the part that the artist can play in this process – have remained a significant preoccupation. Through looking into his own past, Harsono has touched on concerns that resonate globally, foregrounding fundamental issues that are central to the formation of group and personal identities in our rapidly changing world.

His recent solo exhibition at Tyler Rollins Fine Art (March 3 – April 16, 2016), The Chronicles of Resilience, marked an important new stage in this process. Curated by Leeza Ahmady, independent curator and director of New York’s Asia Contemporary Art Week, the exhibition centered on two new installation works especially conceived for the show, along with video, drawings, and multi-media works. Initially inspired by a cache of documentary photographs taken by his father in the 1950s, Harsono has, since 2009, been actively tracking down little known mass gravesites of ethnic Chinese massacred in his native Java from 1947-49, during the period of conflict leading to Indonesia’s independence in 1949. After years of investigation, and the discovery of many neglected sites, Harsono has created a series of artworks that seek to give form to what has been buried along with the bodies: not only the stories of individual lives, but the historical memory of a nation. The two installations, Memory of the Survivor and The Light of Spirit (both 2016), function as monuments of remembrance, commemorating the specificity of personal tragedies alongside the collective loss, and bringing light to a past that had long been consigned to the darkness. Other works in a variety of media reflect the artist’s own attempts to come to terms with the reality of the sites as physical testaments to history, incorporating documentary materials such as government reports, Google maps and the artist’s own handmade rubbings of inscriptions. “The works embody Harsono’s socio-philosophical lens, which views the life of an individual as intrinsically linked to collective history,” Ahmady explains. “They are a making and recording of history, simultaneously. An encapsulation of a particular people’s experience in a particular place and time, told in ways that create transparent, personal, and emotional spaces for viewers to stand very much apart from negative identity-politics, and instead very close to universal humanity.”

In recognition of his decades long “commitment to art and to freedom of expression in art,” Harsono was awarded the Joseph Balestier Award for the Freedom of Art in 2015, presented by the US embassy in Singapore, and in 2014 he was given the Prince Klaus Award honoring his “crucial role in Indonesia’s contemporary art scene for forty years.” His work has been shown in over 100 exhibitions around the world, including the seminal Traditions/Tensions: Contemporary Art in Asia at Asia Society in New York (1996), and the first Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in Brisbane, Australia (1993). The Singapore Art Museum mounted a major career retrospective, FX Harsono: Testimonies, in 2010. He presented his first solo exhibition in the United States, Writing in the Rain, at Tyler Rollins Fine Art in 2012. Recent biennials include Indonesia’s Jogja Biennale (2013) and the Sydney Biennale (2016).

Please click on the links below to view videos of Harsono and his work.

INTERVIEW
An interview with the artist by curator Christine Clark

DOCUMENTATION
The Erased Time
Testimony
nDudah

PERFORMANCE
Burn Victim
Destruction

The Chronicles of Resilience (2016)

ENLARGE

Memory of the Survivor, 2016

wooden furniture, fused deposition models, standing lamp, ceramics, sound recordings, radio, video projection, batik fabrics

dimensions variable

ENLARGE

Memorandum of Inhumane Acts, 2016

pigment-based digital print on acid free paper, graphite, charcoal, watercolor

33 pieces, each 13 ½ x 15 ¾ in. (34.5 x 40 cm); total dimensions 41 x 174 ¾ in. (104.5 x 444 cm)

ENLARGE

The Light of Spirit, 2016

plastic electric candles, LED bulbs, sand, cast cement, wood

86 ½ x 82 ½ x 118 in. (220 x 210 x 300 cm), edition of 2 + 1 AP

ENLARGE

Rewriting on the Tomb, 2013

series of digital prints on textile

dimensions variable, edition of 5 + 1 AP

ENLARGE

Pilgrimage To History, 2013

single channel video

13:40 min, edition of 5 + 1 AP

ENLARGE

Digital Souls, 2016

Google Maps online project

ENLARGE +

Installation View of "The Chronicles of resilience" at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, March 3 - April 16, 2016

ENLARGE +

Installation View of "The Chronicles of resilience" at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, March 3 - April 16, 2016

ENLARGE +

Installation View of "The Chronicles of resilience" at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, March 3 - April 16, 2016

ENLARGE +

Installation View of "The Chronicles of resilience" at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, March 3 - April 16, 2016

ENLARGE +

Installation View of "The Chronicles of resilience" at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, March 3 - April 16, 2016

Archive (2010-Present)

ENLARGE

Rewriting the Erased Name #1, 2010

oil on canvas

diptych: each panel 59 x 71 in. (150 x 180 cm)

ENLARGE

Rewriting the Erased Name #6, 2010

oil on canvas

diptych: each panel 39 x 53 in. (100 x 135 cm)

ENLARGE

After Initial #1, 2010

oil on canvas

diptych: each panel 47 ¼ x 59 in. (120 x 150 cm)

ENLARGE

After Initial #3, 2011

oil and acrylic on canvas

51 x 78 ¾ in. (130 x 200 cm)

ENLARGE

Pull Out from the Root, 2010

acrylic on canvas

triptych: each panel 59 x 53 in. (150 x 135 cm)

ENLARGE

Growing Pains, 2010

oil on canvas

diptych: each panel 59 x 47 ¼ in. (150 x 120 cm)

ENLARGE

Needle in my Consciousness, 2010

acrylic on canvas

triptych: each panel 63 x 65 ½ in. (160 x 166.5 cm)

ENLARGE

Per Memoriam Ad Spem #1, 2011

acrylic on canvas

51 x 71 in. (130 x 180 cm)

ENLARGE

Per Memoriam Ad Spem #2, 2011

acrylic on canvas

79 x 79 in. (200 x 200 cm)

ENLARGE

Memory of a Name #7, 2010

oil on canvas

triptych: each panel 47 x 59 in. (120 x 150 cm)

ENLARGE

Ranjang Hujan (The Raining Bed), 2013

wooden bed, stainless steel, pump machine, water, ceramics, fabric and LED

78 ¾ x 98 ½ x 78 ¾ in. (200 x 250 x 200 cm)

ENLARGE

The Light of Journey, 2014

wooden boat, neon tubes, and acrylic sheet

dimensions variable

ENLARGE

Masa Lalu Dari Masa Lalu/Migrasi (The Past of the Past/Migration), 2013

boat, electric candle, earthware, wooden chair, lampshade

dimensions variable

ENLARGE

Sisi-Dalam Kehidupan (The Inner Side of Life), 2013

unbleached cotton, thread and ink

dimensions variable

ENLARGE

Perjalanan Waktu (Course of Time), 2013

LED running text

dimensions variable

ENLARGE

Writing in the Rain, 2011

wooden chair and desk, 24" television, single channel video

6:11 min.

ENLARGE

Berziarah Ke Sejarah (Pilgrimage to History), 2013

single channel video

13:40 min.

ENLARGE

Rewriting on the Tomb, 2013

pastel rubbed on fabric

dimensions variable

Writing in the Rain (2011)

ENLARGE

Writing in the Rain, 2011

single channel video

6:02 min., edition of 5

ENLARGE

Screen Shot from Writing in the Rain #1, 2011

acrylic on canvas

59 x 88 ½ in. (150 x 225 cm)

ENLARGE

Screen Shot from Writing in the Rain #2, 2011

acrylic on canvas

59 x 86 ½ in. (150 x 220 cm)

ENLARGE

Screen Shot from Writing in the Rain #3, 2011

acrylic on canvas

59 x 78 ¾ in. (150 x 200 cm)

ENLARGE

Screen Shot from Writing in the Rain #4, 2011

acrylic on canvas

71 x 78 ¾ in. (180 x 200 cm)

ENLARGE

Screen Shot from Writing in the Rain #5, 2011

acrylic on canvas

diptych: each panel 59 x 59 in. (150 x 150 cm)

ENLARGE

Screen Shot from Writing in the Rain #6, 2011

acrylic on canvas

triptych: each panel 59 x 29 ½ in (75 x 150 cm)

ENLARGE

Screen Shot from Writing in the Rain #7, 2011

acrylic on canvas

51 x 78 ¾ in. (130 x 200 cm)

ENLARGE

Writing in the Rain, 2011

installation with wooden desks and chairs, TV monitors, and video projection

dimensions variable; each desk approximately 26 ½ x 31 ½ x 29 ½ in. (70 x 80 x 75 cm), edition of 3

ENLARGE +

Installation View of "Writing in the Rain" at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, March 1 - April 14, 2012

ENLARGE +

Installation View of "Writing in the Rain" at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, March 1 - April 14, 2012

ENLARGE +

Installation View of "Writing in the Rain" at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, March 1 - April 14, 2012

ENLARGE +

Installation View of "Writing in the Rain" at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, March 1 - April 14, 2012

Archive (2000-2009)

Memori Tentang Nama/Yang Dihapus Kutulis Ulang #1 (Memory of a Name/Rewriting the Erased #1), 2009

C-print on photo paper

43 ¼ x 71 in. (110 x 180 cm)

Rewriting the Erased / video performance, 2009

installation with wooden and rattan chair, wooden table with marble, Chinese ink on paper and performance video

dimensions variable

Darkroom, 2009

acrylic sheet, steel, plywood, lamp and C-print

dimensions variable

Floating Between Threats, 2009

oil on canvas

70 ¾ x 196 ¾ in. (180 x 500 cm)

Preserving Life, Terminating Life #1, 2009

acrylic and oil on canvas, and cotton thread

137 ¾ x 78 ¾ in. (350 x 200 cm), two panels

Preserving Life, Terminating Life #2, 2009

acrylic and oil on canvas, and cotton thread

137 ¾ x 78 ¾ in. (350 x 200 cm), two panels

I am Chinese, I am Not, 2009

oil on canvas

59 x 78 ¾ in. (150 x 200 cm)

Bon Appetit, 2008

installation with butterflies, ceramic tableware, table and chair, textile, needles

dimensions variable

Kuteropong Watching the Wound, 2008

acrylic on canvas

diptych: each panel 59 x 59 in. (150 x 150 cm)

Point of Pain, 2008

acrylic on canvas

diptych: each panel 59 x 59 in. (120 X 120 cm)

May Bride, 2007

installation with steel, mannequin, and textiles

dimensions variable

Thousand Times Pain, 2007

installation with bees and needles

dimensions variable

Archive (1990-1999)

Burn Victim, 1998

performance video, 1977

Republik Indochaos, 1998

photo-etching on paper

5 panels: each 22 ½ x 21 in. (57 x 53 cm)

The Voice Controlled by the Powers, 1994

installation with wooden masks and cloth

dimensions variable

Voice Without Voice/Sign, 1993

silkscreen on canvas (9 panels), wooden stools and stamps

9 panels: each panel 56 ½ x 37 in. (143.5 x 95 cm)

Voice from the Dam, 1994

Maduranese attire and utensils, plants, chili pots, microphones, and voice recording

dimensions variable

Archive (1980-1989)

ENLARGE

Pagar Tripleks Dan Hutan Kita (Plywood Fence and our Forest), 1982

text and screen print on plywood on Parang Tritis beach, Yogyakarta

each 47 ¼ x 6 in. (120 x 15 cm); 650 yards in length (600 m)

ENLARGE

Pagar Tripleks Dan Hutan Kita (Plywood Fence and our Forest), detail, 1982

text and screen print on plywood on Parang Tritis beach, Yogyakarta

each 47 ¼ x 6 in. (120 x 15 cm); 650 yards in length (600 m)

Archive (1970-1979)

The Relaxed Chain (Rantai Yang Santai), 1975

installation with cushions and chains

26 x 38 x 22 in. (67 x 97 x 56 cm)

Paling Top '75 (The Most Top '75), 1975

plastic toy gun, textile, wooden crate, wire mesh

19 ¾ x 39 ¼ x 62 in. (50 x 100 x 157 cm)


WORKS

The Chronicles of Resilience (2016)

Archive (2010-Present)

Writing in the Rain (2011)

Archive (2000-2009)

Archive (1990-1999)

Archive (1980-1989)

Archive (1970-1979)

Blouin Artinfo, 20th Sydney Biennale Q&A

May, 2016


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Asian Art News, Historical Memory

April, 2016


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Hyperallergic, Retrieving the History of Indonesia’s Massacred Chinese Community

April, 2016


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20th Biennale of Sydney, FX Harsono

March, 2016


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Art in America, FX Harsono

March, 2016


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Blouin Artinfo, FX Harsono’s “Chronicles of Resilience” Remembers Indonesia’s Dark History

February, 2016


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Art Asia Pacific, FX Harsono

2015


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Prince Claus Award Exhibition Catalogue

2015


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The Jakarta Post, FX Harsono: Exposing the beauty of ugly truth

January, 2015


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The Jakarta Globe, FX Harsono, Reaping the Fruits of Pain

January, 2015


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The Straits Times, Indonesian artist gets inaugural freedom award

January, 2015


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Hofstra University Museum, FX Harsono

2014


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Art Asia Pacific, This is History

October, 2013


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Beyond the East

October, 2011


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National Portrait Gallery Beyond the Self: Contemporary Portraiture from Asia

August, 2011


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Negotiating Home History and Nation, FX Harsono

2011


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Art Journal, FX Harsono

July, 2011


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Indonesian Eye, FX Harsono

May, 2011


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Asian Art Now

2010


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Asian Art Newspaper, FX Harsono at Singapore Art Museum

May, 2010


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C-Arts, FX Harsono at SAM

April, 2010


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The Jakarta Post, FX Harsono: Testimonies through art

April, 2010


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Asian Art Newspaper, FX Harsono Testimonies

April, 2010


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All Art News, Singapore Art Museum Honors One of Indonesia’s Foremost Contemporary Artists

April, 2010


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The Jakarta Globe, FX Harsono’s Legacy of Brutality

March, 2010


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The New York Times, FX Harsono’s Rebellious Critical Voice Against ‘Big Power’ in Indonesia

March, 2010


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The Jakarta Post, A haunting exhibition at SAM

March, 2010


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FX Harsono: Testimonies

March, 2010


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The Jakarta Post, Historical revelations

November, 2009


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The Erased Time, FX Harsono

2009


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Beyond the Dutch, Indonesia, the Netherlands and the Visual Arts, from 1900 until now

2009


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Traditions/Tensions, FX Harsono

1996


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Asia-Pacific Triennial, FX Harsono

1993


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