Mizuma Gallery is pleased to announce ON/OUT OF PAPER, a group exhibition curated by Hermanto Soerjanto, featuring five Southeast Asian artists: Ashley Yeo (SG), Irfan Hendrian (ID), Iswanto Soerjanto (ID), Ryan Villamael (PH), and Yudi Sulistyo (ID).
Works on paper are often understood as less valuable and less significant as compared to sculptures and works on canvas, as they are commonly perceived as a study or a sketch for something bigger. This view may have been influenced by the Western art culture in which paper is seen only as a temporary medium for artists to organize their thoughts or ideas before they create their artworks.
Tracing back to thousands of years ago, paper was essential to Japanese and Chinese scroll paintings. Works on paper – whether made with ink, watercolour, pencil, or charcoal – have their own unique charm that is difficult to replicate with other mediums. In Chinese paintings, shaping forms through the use of ink and water on paper is a fluid and often uncontrollable process that requires the artist to understand the medium very well in order to work with it. This process attributes to the distinctiveness and the unique quality of Chinese ink paintings. However, the characteristics of Chinese paintings are often neglected due to the widespread influence of Western Art principles.
In this contemporary age, the use of mediums and materials for art creation has become quite versatile. This has unlocked a huge window of opportunity for artists to explore alternative mediums and unconventional techniques. In his works, Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang ignites gunpowder on paper, capturing burn marks left by the energy and fumes from the explosions. With paper as the sole medium, Japanese artist Tomoko Shioyasu employs traditional paper-cutting technique to form unique pieces of artworks. Paper, as a medium, has developed beyond ordinary means. It no longer serves only as a foundation for artists to lay their paint, ink, or pencils on; but also functions as an independent medium out of which artworks are created.
ON/OUT OF PAPER showcases artworks by Ashley Yeo, Irfan Hendrian, Iswanto Soerjanto, Ryan Villamael, and Yudi Sulistyo. Beyond seeing paper merely as a tool, the artists in this exhibition approached the medium with an interest in its materiality and developed unconventional techniques of utilizing it in their works.