aliansyah caniago now BijlmAIR artist-in-residence
curator christine van den bergh
14 October 2017 - 5 November 2017
The Indonesian artist Aliansyah Caniago (1987, Tangier / Indonesia) decided to stop painting one year after his very successful graduation from the Bandung Institute of Technology Faculty Art and Design. He found the action of painting distanced himself from the people around him. Since that moment, he has looked for ways to make art in close collaboration with others. He developed his own project form: a combination of performance and installation art. Based on research and in close collaboration with the community, he develops projects in which he creates new insights into the present while using historical rituals and knowledge. Hence the title for his solo performance in Bradwolff Projects: NOW.
The project: Point of Return which Caniago made in Ciburuy in 2014, shows how much his work is about change. Ciburuy is a fishing village approximately twenty kilometres from his hometown of Bandung. The lake the fishermen once depended on for their livelihood was heavily polluted. The pollution was caused by a factory where most of the villagers worked. Caniago restored an old fishing boat and together with people from the local community they pulled it along over land and asphalt to Bandung. In one blow a slumbering ecological and social disaster was made visible to the community itself and to the authorities concerned.
From that moment on, Caniago has focused solely on projects where he can show the acute socio-ecological change in his environment. The project during his artist’s residency in the Netherlands is also a commentary on his immediate environment. NOW is primarily about migrants, the people who came to the Netherlands from Indonesia and have lived here for generations. How does their ‘Beautiful Dutch East Indies story’ differ from the history of Indonesia as he knows it? How do they paint land and landscape? Caniago reverses the perspective and investigates what identity can be and what role Indonesia plays in it. The result is a series of stimulating, cross-border images of what we think we know and what we think we are: a reflection of ourselves through the eyes of another.
Aliansyah Caniago graduated in 2011 from the Institute of Technology Faculty Art and Design in Bandung, Department of Painting. Since then he has participated in various Artist in Residence projects and performance workshops among others Boris Nieslony, Germany, Joan Jonas, United States and Lee Wen, Singapore. At the moment he is involved in performance art education at Melati Suryodarmo in Indonesia. He is one of the founders of the artists collective Ruang Gerilya in Bandung and won several prizes for his work, including the Winner of Bandung Contemporary Art Award 2015 and the Top Honor Indonesian Art Award in 2015. In November 2017 his work will be presented at the Jakarta Biennale, Indonesia.
Christine van den Bergh, curator of the exhibition, encountered Aliansyah Caniago during a work visit to Indonesia last year. She was impressed by the integral strength of his work and intrigued by his Indonesian view of the common (post-) colonial history: Caniago’s knowledge of history and rituals, which he uses to create dialogue. This is why she invited him for a solo exhibition at Bradwolff Projects and to participate in the Artist in Residence Programme BijlmAIR of the CBK in Amsterdam Zuidoost.