& Jogja Ruang & Waktu
by Michelle Chin
After living in Bali for almost twenty years, I made a trip to Jogja to do a survey
of the art galleries there, and to visit artists studios. One of the first
artists I visited was a Balinese friend who was still a student at ISI Yogyakarta.
He had what I thought was a fabulous studio and home in a traditional Javanese
joglo. I was so impressed with his joglo, I rented one myself almost
the next day!
Later, after moving to Jogja, I realised that there are different concepts of
space and time in Bali and Jogja. The difference in physical space or environment
is obvious if we consider geographical location, but what really struck me was
that artists and art students simply have a lot more space in which to work. Their
counterparts in Bali often have to work in very cramped conditions, perhaps fortunate
if they have a cramped corner or room of their family compound in which to work.
In Jogja, due to lower rental prices, an artist or even a student can have a studio
that might measure several hundred square metres for his/her studio a near-impossibility
in Bali for all but the wealthiest artists.
If I consider the time aspect,
clearly most of the Balinese artists living and working in Jogja do not have the
time-consuming obligations and responsibilities of family and ceremonies, which
can take up so much of a working artists time when he/she lives in Bali,
especially after marriage. Many or most artists and art students in Jogja can
actually enjoy the opportunity to devote all their waking hours to art
whether they do so or not is another matter. While many artists in Bali spend
a lot of time at cockfights (as well as their family and adat and banjar
duties), the most common pastimes for the Balinese artists living in Jogja would
seem to be visiting their friends or playing ceki which, however devoted
a player one might be, can probably not take up as much time as all the activities
mentioned above for the Balinese artists.
In general, I think that the Balinese artists in Jogja enjoy the luxury of greater
freedom in space and time as compared to the Balinese artists in Bali, and this
may account for the differences in themes and styles to be found in the works
of Balinese artists living and working in Bali or Jogja.
[published in exhibition catalogue: Danu, Arnata, Santiyasa Dari Dalam
Diri, exhibition held at Art Centre, Bali in August 2003]