Abenk Alter’s Interplay – A Two Dimension Duality

Rizqi Ranadireksa, or usually known as Abenk Alter, is an aspiring artist from Jakarta. He just launched his first solo exhibition in Ruci Artspace from December 14th 2018 to January 27th 2019. Entitled “Interplay”, the exhibition is meant to emphasize a duality—the two sides of coin, finding the harmony in life between the good and the bad. It is up to the audience’s mind interpreting his works of art.

What kind of message you’d like to convey in your first art exhibition?
“Not exactly a message, but more like inviting the audience to understand a contradiction; that however contradicting something is, it’s inescapably a part of our life. That it is different, yet such difference needs not to be ignored, rather it is something that we have to embrace – hence, the duality. We shouldn’t lean too much on one side, we don’t have to be too extreme: meaning choosing only between full left or full right. If we can’t see one thing as a whole, then we couldn’t understand its overall message. We have to find the harmony within the duality.”
It’s quite an impressive achievement to finally have a solo exhibition. How long have you been waiting for this? And speaking of duality, why such theme?

“It took me 3 months of preparation for this exhibition, from making a concept to the curation process. What triggers me to have this theme is actually, well, this fear, per se, within me – fear of being trapped for a society’s validation. I don’t want my identity defined by acknowledgement from others. I don’t want people to say something like ‘Oh, this is very Abenk’, I don’t want to be defined as one thing. So it’s a journey for me, to find my own identity, and also to find balance visually.”

Who do you look up to?
“I like Eko Nugroho, Edi Hara, and Sudjojono, too, in terms of thinking, not visually. Because as far as I know, Sudjojono is more like a realist surrealist. International scale, I like Jean Dubuffet, Picasso, Richard Quinn, Eddie Martinez and many more. I like how their constant focus is always developing their character; never defined by the rules, they seem to always break them. They try to dig deep their own visual language, which now has became their character. That’s why I can relate to them.”
In your opinion, what makes local artists stand out the most? Do you think there’s something that needs to be improved?
“Indonesia indeed has many cultures, and that makes their works of art, visual wise, stand out the most. We can immediately tell from which province a work of art comes from by a glance. Each culture has their own visual identity, we’ll instantly know which artworks come from Jogja artists, which artworks come from Bandung artists, which artwork comes from Bali artists, et cetera. In terms of improvement, I can speak for myself that I think I need to keep improving because arts is not just about arts, but there are also other aspects: business, how to talk, how to negotiate—these aspects that would help us to present our artworks to the audience.”
Last but not least, if we’re talking about your arts, what is your dream?
“In terms of form, I want my artworks to be 3D. I want them to fill many places in a city, not only as decorative ornament, but as a meaningful symbol to deliver a message to the society.”

Writer: Safira Nurihsani Azzahra
Editor: Galuh Tathya
Photographer: Ganang Arfiandi

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