Agung Kurniawan, Artistic Director of Kedai Kebun, having exhibition at Vanabbe Museum, Netherland, on July – September 2008
These two statues are the photographs of a Javanese Sultan and a residence ruler (sort of a governor) in Java in the middle of 19th Century. Their official photographs were always in the condition of holding hands. Now, it probably seems awkward, and it also felt the same in hundred years ago. It is unusual for two men holding hands each other, especially in an official photograph. Have you ever imagine, George Bush and Toni Blair holding hands in their official photographs?
When I was putting the statues into the box, to be delivered to the Netherlands, my assistant – a young artist, who wish to be like me (rich, and have the opportunity to go abroad) – have an idea which quite brilliant. He wanted to get into the box. By taking an airplane, he can survive in that box. At the beginning, I considered it as haphazardly idea, but he said in very convincing way, “Just give me a box of instant noodle and mineral water, with those supply, I can survive for a week in that box.” I was starting thinking, it was a possible thing. First, he never goes abroad before, get into the box probably is one of the reasonable ways. “I can pretend being a statue when it is X-Ray.” Second, by that way he doesn’t have to make a visa and wait for a month to get the visa.
But I don’t know why, when I decided to accept his idea, he never dare get in to the box. And I never asked about it no more. I think his wife was not agreed. Maybe, by wasting money to buy a box of instant noodle was a useless thing. His wife probably chose to buy rice rather than to follow her husband’s dreams.
Now, he becomes a little bit silent, his dreams to fly to Netherlands were just left behind. I feel sorry because I cannot help him, by sending him through the box of the artworks, at least my art are having an advantage. At least, it was able to bring him to Netherlands for free.
2. I have never made an artwork video before. I think that is uncommunicative art and to Europe-Centrism. I think that video art is only suitable for artists who do not have big enough space to be made into studio. But I don’t know why I decided to make a video; at least it makes me look like mostly contemporary artists.
I got assistance from an artist who is my best friend for years. He was falling in love with a woman who already has a boyfriend, when he was working on this video. When we were at the studio, we always listen to James Blunt song “You so beautiful, …” over and over again, wishing that someone else’s girlfriend – who works at the same place – will listen and want to be asked for a date. At that time were very hot our sweats were streamed down everywhere. The air conditioner in that room was broken and James Blunt was not helping at all.
After finished editing the video, he asked me to be paid directly, the money was going to used to buy a gift for that someone else’s girlfriend. I told him, “Why do you want to buy a gift for someone else’s girlfriend?” He said to make her looks pretty, it already makes her happy.
I was touch with his answer. I think that my artworks are useful now, at least for making my best friend and that someone else’s girlfriend happy.
I feel that now this video art is more useful than installation and statue arts.