During the 80s and 90s, the world of Yogyakarta fine art was coloured by creative ideas on mediums, clash between artistic movements, and the increasingly important role of the market signified by the booming of paintings in late 80s. One thing that should not be forgotten is the emergence of the 1998 Reformation as a major event in Indonesian politics for it had, with all its consequences inspired many artists. At least the role of artists to be critical toward state’s policies, social deprival, violence (either structural or physical) became part of the themes in their works. The works by Djoko Pekik, the drawings by A gung Kurniawan, the paintings by Hanura Hosea, the performances by FX. Harsono and the installation art by Moelyono were prominent in the visual realm of this decade.
In the late decade of 90s until early 2000 the existence and capability of Jogja artists in the growing world of visual art had reached international scale. This was also due to the presence of global issues that partially stimulated the artists living in Yogyakarta. In the decade of the 2000s they gave birth to the upheavals of ideas in visual art with the emerging ideas on using technological advancements (audio visual, disks, electromagnetic waves, mobile phone and the web).
Video game—an important source of inspiration for Masriadi, also became important in this progress.
Societal problems and issues like the urban/city, public art, globalization, post-traditional, natural disaster and other major issues like the revelation of past history continually present in the events and realm of the arts, both national and international. The artists of Yogyakarta, once again, contributed their service to the awareness of the people and to the effort of arousing the awareness on all these.
This medium-related problem gained serious response. Other than painting and sculpture, the later advancement brought out photography, installation art, contemporary craft, performance art, comic, mural and new media art. Even the art of “artistic project” had emerged itself a separate market. Proven todays more and more artists no longer suspended their lives from an sich paintings, but also from the invitations of artistic projects. They could be some double participants in the agenda of an art department, either private or by foreign government.
The existence of Masriadi was indirectly supported by the situation in Yogyakarta during his active period in late 90s. He breathed fresh breeze from the reformation. The atmosphere and dynamic political changes since the 1998 reformation winded up fresh breeze and inspirations to Masriadi.
“I’m proud with work after the year 1999, because it was then I could develop certain styles that were explorations of deformational shapes in different ways, especially when drawing human. It coincided with the post-Suharto year, but I think this transitional (Reformation) period was more related to my readiness to explore and synthesize my own style,” his words as noted in Hanae Ko’s interview for artasiapacific.com (2013).
One most important point in different context is the intactness of art infrastructure. Yogyakarta had informal form of art education with the establishment of learning studios for children and adults. The number of these institutions provided professional competitiveness, a growing number of artists every year as well as an increasing number of art appreciator.
Other supporting infrastructure was the government support. The government funds, in particular the funds for institutes and exhibition agenda (i.e. the Jogja Biennale) gave additional power to the artists in Yogyakarta to further devote them in creating artworks. Ever since he was a student Masriadi had been involved in a number of local exhibitions in Yogya, in or outside campus like the exhibition in Museum of Vredeburg Fortress and the Taman Budaya Yogyakarta (Yogyakarta State Cultural Park).
Personal support was also conducive. A number of collectors who accessed the works in Yogyakarta since the 80s until today have injected freshness to every artist. The “artwork recreation” (the practice to appreciate and buy the works directly from the artists) done by collectors living in Magelang, Jakarta, Surabaya, Singapore and other cities of was an essence of the dynamics of visual art market in Yogyakarta.
With the growing economy of the artists came new artistic spaces. These artists then built museums, artists’s initiative or art space that were oriented to help other artists to publicly present themselves in the public, aside of course became part of their own existence. Since the 80s in Yogyakarta there had been a number of artistic spaces built by artist’s initiative.
Noted among these artists were the maestro Affandi, Nyoman Gurnarsa and Widayat who founded museums, Nindityo Adipurnomo & Mella Jaarsma who founded the Cemeti Art House, Putu Sutawijaya who built Sangkring Art Space, Agus Ismoyo and Nia Fliam with their Gallery Babaran Segaragunung, Ugo Untoro who founded the Museum and Tanah Liat, Leny Ratnasari with her Kersan Art Space, Nasirun who founded his own private museum, Jumaldi Alfi who built Sarang Art Space, Handiwirman who built the Balai Pemajangan dan Keseharian (BKDP or Hall of Display and of the Everydays), Eko Nugroho who founded The Daging Tumbuh (DGTMB), Bayu Widodo and friends who founded the SURVIVE!garage, and Masriadi himself who founded the Masriadi Art Foundation.
At long last, Yogyakarta was renowned as the city of culture. This title was granted due to the prominent richness of both native and foreign culture in Yogyakarta. The Kraton of Yogyakarta and its king, Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono IX & X played significant role in this situation. This kind of atmosphere gave specificity to anyone who came to Yogyakarta, Masriadi was no exception.
There are still a number of “luxuries” in Yogyakarta that make Masriadi feel fit to stay in Yogyakarta. The surrounding nature and the strong transitional culture also give different stimulus. Now, what else could be the reason for Masriadi not to stay in Yogyakarta?
By Mikke Susanto