ART REVIEW | Artist Feature on Maryanto

Aimee Lin, Art Review, August 11, 2016

Maryanto’s Brimming in Wonocolo (2015) was first shown at the Jakarta Biennale 2015. The installation comprises a panoramic wallpainting of a landscape populated by oil derricks and, placed in front of it, a collection of oil drums rhythmically spouting crude oil and the smell that comes with it. Located in East Java, Wonocolo is a region in which Dordtsche Petroleum Maatschappij, the Dutch-owned pioneer of Indonesia’s oil-mining industry, began drilling in 1893. After Indonesia won independence in 1949, local and foreign investors started to manage, disputedly, approximately 500 old oil-wells, and since then, immeasurable environmental damage and related instances of political corruption have occurred. The landscape of the region has been dramatically altered. The text that accompanies the entry on Brimming in Wonocolo in the biennial catalogue provides a political interpretation of the work: ‘These objects illustrate how Indonesia’s mineral resources have been greatly exploited by foreign parties, and how it has a direct impact on people’s economic and social situation.’ That is one reading. From my perspective, Brimming…, and many other of the artist’s works, also offer a powerful image of the world and how we live in it.