Maryanto

Maryanto (b.1977, Indonesia) creates evocative, black and white paintings, drawings, and installations that undermine the romantic language of traditional landscape painting to examine socio-political structures in the physical spaces that he depicts. Through fable-like and theatrical settings, these landscapes are subjected to the whims of colonisers and capitalists through technological development, industrialisation, pollution of the land and exploitation of its natural resources.

Maryanto graduated from the Faculty of Fine Art, Indonesia Institute of the Art, Yogyakarta in 2005, and completed a residency at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam in 2013. Maryanto has recently presented solo exhibitions at Yeo Workshop, Singapore (2017 and 2015); Art Basel Hong Kong, Discoveries Section (2016); the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam; ArtAffairs, Amsterdam; and Heden, Denhaag (2013). He has also recently participated in notable group exhibitions at the Koganei Art Spot Chateau, Tokyo (2018); the Samstag Museum of Art, Adelaide; the Asia Culture Centre, Gwangju; the Bozar Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels (2017); the Singapore Art Museum, Singapore (2015); and the Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam, Amsterdam (2013). Maryanto has also been featured at international biennials such as the 2nd Industrial Biennale, Labin, Croatia (2018); the Setouchi Triennale, Naoshima, Japan (2016); the Jakarta and Jogja Biennales, Indonesia (2015); and the Moscow Biennale, Moscow, Russia (2013). Maryanto lives and works in Yogyakarta.

  • A Journey of Forking Paths, 21st September - 27th October 2019

    A Journey of Forking Paths is Maryanto’s third solo exhibition with the gallery, featuring latest monochromatic canvas and paper works by the Yogyakarta-based artist.   Hauntingly dark yet sublime, Maryanto’s typical oeuvre depicts landscapes with dualities of once idyllic spaces that have been corrupted by systems of power. The landscapes are rendered beautiful and sweeping by the artist, but in reality are inspired from exploited geographies. The title of the show came about as Maryanto found the image of a forking path apt, in illustrating the duality he encounters in his thought process when looking at an interesting landscape. He is faced with the stories the landscape has to tell of its past, and imagine its uncertain future of preservation or destruction. The metaphor of the forking path also points to how these landscapes are not eternal, and is affected by every decision we make, every path we choose. As such, the title of the show is a premise to look at the scenes the artist has captured in his works, and he hopes to inspire the audience to reflect on the effects people have inflicted on the natural environment.

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  • Catalogue, 22nd April - 9th June 2019

    Haunting, affective, and painstakingly rendered, the work in the show: "Scorched Earth" is a continuation of Maryanto’s oeuvre exploring postcolonialism, industrial interventions, ecology, and displacement. A burnt forest in Sumatra decimated by the palm oil industry is left broken and devastated in this defiant black and white acrylic on canvas scratch painting. Subverting the romantic language of Southeast Asian landscape painting and its troubled history marred by colonisers idealising exotic lands, Maryanto conjures hyperreal scenes to convey the grave realities of exploited environments. Is it a dystopian future or are we staring unflinchingly at the horrors of the present? The palm oil industry has been guilty of deforestation on a massive scale, with plantations covering 14 million hectares in Indonesia. Fire remains as one of the primary means of land conversion in the planting and development of oil palm, contributing to escalating levels of pollution and blankets of toxic haze. According to the Centre for International Forestry Research, this heinous practice is the cause of 100,000 premature deaths in the region. Maryanto’s scratch painting, accomplished through assiduous labour using a scalpel to etch out the intricate forms in his ravaged vistas, forces the viewer to confront these enterprises and reflect upon the ramifications of our personal undertakings on nature and the ground we inhabit. Employing the gaze of the colonised, we are on terra firma looking upwards and outwards at the harrowing “spoils” of industry only to find ourselves lost and untethered.

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  • Maryanto: Story of Space, 28 March - 31 May 2017

    Maryanto makes art to engage in social and political activism. Deeply concerned about environmental issues, his inspiration stems from his observation of the physical landscape and its changes brought about by human interference. From drawings and paintings, to sculptures and installations, Maryanto’s exhibitions visualise themes of environmental exploitation and its political consequences. He believes that landscapes are rich in their untold narratives and it is through his detailed visualisation and representation of landscape in his works that he highlights the importance of protecting the environment. Story of Space presents a synthesis of utopian and dystopian reflections of landscape and the environment by pulling together elements from his previous exhibitions; Space of Exception (2015, Yeo Workshop) and Mineral Desire (2016, Art Basel Hong Kong). Story of Space is a place of thinking and reflecting on narratives or stories of the land, journeying through the past into the reality of the present to the possibility of a future. 

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  • Maryanto: Space of Exception, 17 Jan 2015 - 1 March 2015

    Space of Exception, Maryanto’s first solo presentation in Singapore, will consist of charcoal drawings and sculptural installation. Referencing Italian Philosopher, Giorgio Agamben’s ‘state of exception’, ‘space of exception’ involves taking a position outside the existing natural state, a space beyond or outside the normal order, where normal law does not hold.

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  • Ad Hoc, 20 September - 9 November 2014

    Ad Hoc suggests an improvision, a solution to a problem. The works presented show a small survey of a variety of artists who are at the forefront of contemporary art production and working within Singapore today. This group of artists pose a prescription in their work to tackling the current issues and problems of contemporary society through technique and concept. This exhibition explores these trends in the current showing of prints, paintings and drawings.

    Presenting recent works by Maryanto, Antoine L'Heureux, Xue Mu, Haruki Ogawa and Ian Woo 

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  • Threads and Tensions, 16 January - 28 February 2021

    A group exhibition featuring five international artists (Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Brussels, and America) working with textile. In these works that are part of a wider chapter of the artists’  interests, fabric is painted on, treated, ornamented, dyed, collaged and embroidered suggesting the possibilities of textiles beyond mere ornamentation or utility, deploying the medium as a tool of resistance, reflection, and rumination.

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Works