Beyond Transisi

Contemporary Indonesian Photography

October 1 until November 15, 2015

Octa Christi

Photo: Octa Christi, "Trisya Berselina Awom", Doom Island, from the series “Seventeen”, 2014 © Octa Christi

Jay Subyakto

Photo: Jay Subyakto, “Ngaben” from the series “Life after Death”, 2008

Paul Kadarisman

Photo: Paul Kadarisman, from the series “Wish You Were Here”, Jakarta, 2015 © Paul Kadarisman

The exhibition Beyond Transisi introduces influential photographic artists working in Indonesia today. Nine photographers born between 1960 and 1990 present key bodies of work documenting past and present circumstances of their country. They have all witnessed defining moments of transition within Indonesia: the booming expansion of Jakarta and Indonesia as a whole, political authoritarianism and democratic reformation, the digital revolution and the devastating consequences of natural disasters. However, Beyond Transisi is not just about journalistically recording the locality of their subjects, but expressing opinions that are globally relevant. Using the documentary tradition to surreal picture languages, each photographer has a defining approach to their subject. Their visual stories provide insight into youth, urban life, colonialism and man’s relationship to nature. The exhibition consists of portraiture, landscapes and street photography that are projected, mixed with video, shown as framed prints or part of book projects.

The exhibiting artists include Octa Christi with her portrait series of youths at the transitional age of 17 from Sorong City, Doom Island and Jakarta. Photographed in the comforting and familiar surroundings of their own bedroom, mixed expressions of ambition, uncertainty, and happiness are captured on the teenagers’ faces.

The subliminal black and white photographs of the series “JKT” from Fanny Octavianus document people and places in contemporary Jakarta and have recently been published as this artist’s first book. The details in the photographs provide a glimpse into what makes the city tick: cult and traditions, street life and surreal perspectives of light and shadows.

The multi-talented artist, photographer and stage designer Jay Subyakto creates a new installation conveying his views on Indonesian identity out of documentary and abstract photographs. With tightly composed views featuring the shimmer of water or the mesmerizing intensity of fire, we are summoned to consider Indonesia’s natural beauty iconographically.

The photographer Rony Zakaria is featured with photographs from three series: “Encounters”, “Man, Mountain and the Sea” and “The Sweet Sugar Island.” The latter is an expansive work in colour, dedicated to a traditional sugar-cane plantation in Yogyakarta. The other series are both in black and white. “Encounters” is a selection of photographs from Zakaria’s first book and contain photographic moments from his everyday excursions and travel abroad. For “Man, Mountain and the Sea”, a work in progress, he is travelling extensively throughout Indonesia to document the landscape, traditions, work and life, which evolve around the gifts of nature. Zakaria’s photographs take us into worlds of complex topics and terrain, also creating metaphoric in-situation portraits.

Muhammad Fadli’s documentary colour photographs reveal landscapes, details and portraits of everyday-occurrences or ceremonial activities in the Banda archipelago. Here, the photographer has concentrated on the remnants of the deep colonial history in connection to tradition of cultivating and trading nutmeg. These images of the seemingly quaint and peaceful life in the rural areas of Indonesia are juxtaposed with this photographer’s curiosity with remoteness, nature and the past.

Kemal Jufri, one of the most frequently published photographers from Indonesia won a World Press Photo Award in 2011 for his photographs during the Mount Merapi volcanic eruption. These surreal, yet tragically real images are shown together with Jufri’s visual reporting about mining expansion. Often working under extreme and even life-threatening conditions, Jufri remarkably perceives his subjects with dynamic and intense compositions that are shocking examples of the devastation caused by man and by nature.

The topic of urban population explosion and the infinite sound pollution it brings with it, is addressed by the artist Paul Kadarisman. He juxtaposes his images of deserted urban landscapes with videos he made with the artist group, Mata-mata Project*. Together they document the noisy bustle of meeting places and intersections creating a soundscape of the city of Jakarta.

New examples of Indonesian artist books are presented with the arrangement of photographs from the unique young designer and photo-media-artist Andi Ari Setiadi’s book "Dot Pixel". In colourful macro-photographs of packaging material we are presented with Andi’s everyday life through the subject matter of all the products he buys, eats and uses.

The stirring series “Soulscape Road” by Oscar Motuloh is on view as a projection and sound installation during the exhibition Beyond Transisi. This award-winning series of over 90 black and white photographs features his images of the aftermath of the Tsunami in the Aceh area. Now over ten years after this devastation of life and landscape, Motuloh’s epic photographic ballad is a continual reminder for the sorrow and fragility of life. His signature compositions are compacted with information of destruction and let our eyes wander throughout and into the heart of this other no-man’s land. An international survey show of contemporary Indonesian photography would be incomplete without these photographs. Oscar Motuloh is also the director of Antara Gallery in Jakarta and runs a photography academy, where many of the photographers on view have learned, worked or gotten their start in photography.

The exhibition, curated by Celina Lunsford, Artistic Director of the Fotografie Forum Frankfurt is part of the artistic and cultural programme of Indonesia – Guest of Honour Frankfurt Book Fair 2015. “Beyond Transisi” was developed in collaboration with Oscar Motuloh und Gunawan Widjaja of Antara Gallery, Jakarta (Committee of the Photography Exhibition) and is made possible by the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture. The Fotografie Forum Frankfurt is supported by the Förderkreis Fotografie Forum Frankfurt e.V., the city of Frankfurt am Main and Olympus Deutschland GmbH.

Since 1990, the Fotografie Forum Frankfurt has presented sixteen exhibitions in cooperation with the Frankfurt Book Fair: “Each time an exchange of cultural ideas enhances our understanding and knowledge of the arts, the people and customs of the guest country. These projects also enable many of the artists from the guest countries to establish a greater international audience for their photographs. For some it is the first time they have exhibited in Germany” says Celina Lunsford, Artistic Director Fotografie Forum Frankfurt.

Artists of the exhibition

Octa Christi, Muhammad Fadli, Kemal Jufri, Paul Kadarisman, Mata-mata Project, Oscar Motuloh, Fanny Octavianus, Andi Ari Setiadi, Jay Subyakto und Rony Zakaria.


An accompanying catalogue is available for purchase at the Fotografie Forum Frankfurt (80 pages, approx. 200 colour images, 15 EUR)

Accompanying Programme

October 1, 2015 Thursday, 6pm
Artists Talk with Kemal Jufri, Muhammad Fadli and Rony Zakaria (artists of the exhibition) and curator Celina Lunsford. The talk will be held in English.

October 14, 2015 Thursday, 7pm
Artists Talk with Jay Subyakto (artist of the exhibition) and curator Celina Lunsford. The talk will be held in English. > more details

October, 27 2015 Tuesday, 6pm
Curator’s Tour through the exhibition “Beyond Transisi. Contemporary Indonesian Photography” with curator Celina Lunsford. The tour is included in the entrance fee.