Solo exhibition at the Objectifs Centre for Photography and Film, Singapore, 13-31 Jan 2016. Supported by the National Arts Council, Objectifs and CushCush
Read artist journal
“Drawing, with its graphology, elaborates what our consciousness grasps in an instant.” - Henri Cartier-Bresson
The exhibition debuts the artist's Imaginary Homeland series, which looks at photographic images and their impact in our remembering and re-forming of personal narratives. Having left his hometown at a young age, the artist’s perception of his former country is mostly through images and the imagined. Imaginary Homeland looks ontologically at photography’s methods, connecting them with ideas of embodiment, gaze and memory.
The process started with the artist drawing negative images of press photographs of Indonesian politics in pre-Soeharto (1945-1968) and post-Soeharto (1998-present) periods - bookends to the New Order Era. Political leaders of that era figured in the drawings: Sukarno, and when he met with Mao Zedong and Fidel Castro, Suharto, Megawati, Amin Rais and Gus Dur were then put through analogue photography studio processes as well as digital manipulation, to produce a body of images that differed from their original meanings. He also made peci* pinhole negatives from online photographs of Indonesia’s first president Sukarno in political rallies.
The viewer is invited to use her mobile device, with invert settings turned on, to see the positive image. Shifting between the modality of drawing and photography, the artist reflects viscerally upon the imagery of his personal history, seeking agency.
The Chinese titles of the works were drawn from lyrics of 1980s Mandopop-songs. About heartbreak and its melodrama, the songs were popular selections in karaoke clubs which the artist visited growing up.
* Peci is a headwear commonly worn by Javanese men; it is also a symbol for the Indonesian national identity, popularised by Indonesia’s founding president Sukarno.
Read artist book 可不可以都重來 (Chinese for "can we start all over again"). Includes "Aborted Interview #29" by Tse Hao Guang.
View artist talk held on 19 Jan 2016 at the Objectifs, facilitated by Annie Jael Kwan, co-founder of curator collective Something Human.
The Artling. Art of the week: 'Imaginary Homeland' by Boedi Widjaja. Coconuts Singapore. 13 Jan 2016. Web.
Mayo Martin. Singapore Art Week 2016: From solo shows to tours. Today, 12 Jan 2016. Print.
Zhou Yian Ping. Between the positive and negative are connections of the personal and history. Lianhe Zaobao Now, 9 Jan 2016: 4. Print.
Cheah Ui-Hoon. Positively engaging art of negatives. The Business Times 18 Dec 2015: 24. Print.
Chitra Santhinathan. Art Ascension. AirAsia Travel3sixty Dec issue: 108-117. Print.