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A Solo Exhibition by Agung Kurniawan: Have, Hold, Forget

The solo exhibition Milik Nggendong Lali (Have, Hold, Forget) was held at Richard Koh Fine Art (RKFA), in Singapore. The exhibition continued from 12 July to 5 August 2013.

Have, Hold, Forget presented Agung Kurniawan’s latest work. In this exhibition, Agung explored his identity as a Javanese man in Indonesia. He was born into a family steeped in the nuances of aristocracy, or the priyayi. By today’s definitions, priyayi essentially means a middle-class, ethnic Javanese secular family with tendencies to Westernisation. Through the habits and practices of his childhood, Agung came to understand Javanese culture. In his statement, he said he felt that one characteristic of the Javanese is their ability “to hide their feelings, using body language as their primary language: acting symbolically”. Agung also highlights the difficulty of defining the Javanese, because they have many identities, depending on who they are speaking to.

milik nggendong lali

Java Man Series: My Personalities
Image source:http://indoartnow.com

The following is an excerpt from Agung Kurniawan’s curatorial notes: “My works channel this complex personality. Javanese cultural and political identity never turns on a single axis. As always, when we look at it from another perspective, some might be attracted to the exotic “sophistication” of Javanese culture, while a smaller group might take a more critical perspective. Javanese culture is like the blunt ceremonial dagger that Javanese man keep tucked into the back of their waistbands, entrenched in layer upon layer of identity because of the complexity of their own culture. The layers are what make Javanese culture unique. In reference to the title, which implies that cultural identity is always believed to be safeguarded (because it is an object), but often this object is still taken up as an individual’s possession, as they grow up with these habits and then assimilate them.”




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