Haris Purnomo: VISITATION


Haris Purnomo

Unveiling Thursday, August 4, 2011, 8:10 pm

Doors open at 6:00 pm
Plume21 Exhibition Space
2211 Fifth Avenue, Seattle, Washington 98121

The public is invited to the Seattle's Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA)'s unveiling of "Visitation" by the acclaimed Indonesian artist, Haris Purnomo, on August 4, 2011, 8:10 pm at plume21 exhibition space (2211 Fifth Avenue, Seattle). This will be the only U.S. exhibition of the installation before it travels to its London destination at the regarded Saatchi Gallery. Entry is free and the doors open at 6pm.

Purnomo is a graduate of Sekolah Tinggi Seni Rupa College of Fine Art, Yogyakarta, and one of the grandfathers of the rebellious Kepribadian Apa ("Pipa") art movement that shook up the Jakarta art scene more than 30 years ago. Purnomo's work may be viewed by appointment through August 26, 2011 by contacting CoCA at (206) 728-1980.

"Visitation" is a large installation of 100 larger-than-life-size babies that was first exhibited in 2009 at Bentara Budaya in Jakarta, and, later that year, was split for partial installations in CoCA's Ballard and Belltown (Seattle) locations. Thanks to the generous collaboration with plume21, this is the first time that all 100 babies will have been exhibited in a single location in the U.S. The present installation was co-organized by plume21's Thomas Lamprecht and CoCA's Joseph C. Roberts.

When CoCA first presented these works at its Belltown Gallery in 2009, Lamprecht wrote in Singapore's C-Art magazine, "When it works, the overall strength of Purnomo's artwork resides in creating a platform for unresolved whimsy. It falls short of being a punch line, a conclusion, and keeps the question hanging. In the end, the wondering travels the viewer tends to go through are not deeply visceral or profound. They do, however, aspire to intellectual intensity. It is about how close to those intensities Purnomo is able to get himself and then pitch it to the viewer. However politely."

Tattooed babies pervade the content of Purmono's work. "Each Indonesian child, newly born, carries the burden and debts of our past deeds," Purnomo says. "...A baby, regardless of his or her parents, is a new human being. We can invest our hopes in children. I am perhaps too pessimistic to expect anything from 'old human beings.' There is something good in thinking an apprehended thief is sent to jail, but it is more significant to ensure that children will not become thieves."

In his essay for the catalogue that accompanied the 2009 shows in Jakarta and Seattle, CoCA Curator Joseph Roberts admits, "I was totally unprepared for what I saw. I had neither the benefit nor curse of context. A series of life-size babies floating like cocoons in a spider web if viewed from afar; more like sublime spirits viewed at closer range...I don't know whether I should be afraid of or in love with Haris Purmono's work - and I am afraid to ask; but I do, over and over again."

Viewing by appointment through August 26, 2011 at Plume 21 Exhibition Space.

plume21 was founded in 2009 by Thomas Lamprecht and Kristina Müller-Eberhard. Plume21 is an independent creative firm specializing in brand development, advertising, digital communications and design. Recent client work includes Restaurants Unlimited Inc., United Airlines, T-Mobile and AT&T. Plume21 also runs an exhibition space and is committed to showcasing the highest quality of visionary artistic projects. To learn more, visit www.plume21.com.

CoCA serves the Pacific Northwest as a catalyst and forum for the advancement, development, and understanding of Contemporary Art

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