Press Release : The Launching of Dolorosa Sinaga's Book

On 31 January 2020, located at Ruang Serbaguna Galeri Nasional Indonesia, Central Jakarta, the book launching of Dolorosa Sinaga: Tubuh, Bentuk, Substansi is held by a collaboration of 4 institutions: a) Somalaing Art Studio, belongs to Dolorosa Sinaga, b) Galeri Nasional Indonesia, Directorate General of Culture, Ministry of Education and Culture, c) The Jakarta Institute of Arts, Dolorosa’s place to study and teach, and d) IKJ Press, one of the book publishers. 

Supporting events held from 31 January – 11 February 2020 are:

a) Book launching of Dolorosa Sinaga: Tubuh, Bentuk, Substansi (Editor: Alexander Supartono and Sony Karsono)

This book is available in English entitled Dolorosa Sinaga: Body, Form, Matter. The launching will be held at Ruang Serbaguna, Galeri Nasional Indonesia on Friday, 21 January 2020 at 7 pm.

b) The kaleidoscope of Installation Exhibition “40 Years of Dolorosa Sinaga Activism”

Recording the artistic journey of the artist for more than 4 decades, this exhibition goes on from 31 January to 11 February, 10 am - 7 pm at Gedung B, Galeri Nasional Indonesia.

c) Seminar “Art, Activism, Reproduction”

Opened with a keynote speech by Dr. Hilmar Farid (Director General of Culture, Ministry of Education and Culture), this seminar has two sessions: the English session and the Bahasa Indonesia session. Grace Samboh (Curator and Art Researcher) will be the moderator for the English session presenting three notable speakers: Marian Pastor Roces (Independent Curator and Political Analyst, the Philippines); Heidi Arbuckle (Art Historian, Paramadina University, Jakarta); and Clare Veal (Art Historian, Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore).

Guided by Enin Supriyanto (Curator and Independent Art Writer) as the moderator, the Bahasa Indonesia session presents three speakers: Alexander Supartono (Art Historian, Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland); Saras Dewi (Curator, University of Indonesia, Depok); and Sony Karsono (Historian, Sejong University, Seoul).

“I want to invite you to give meaning to diversity, as well as to imagine how the dialectical process between the artworks and the visitors happens until it becomes a valuable knowledge,” said Dolorosa.

About Dolorosa Sinaga

Dolorosa Siaga is one of the Indonesian major sculptors. As the first graduate of Lembaga Pendidikan Kesenian Jakarta (LPKJ, now the Jakarta Institute of Arts/IKJ) who then becomes a lecture there until now, she is the historical figure of the Faculty of Arts and Design of IKJ. Besides, she is also known as a human rights activist who works in the advocacy of humanity and epistemic community mobilization. As an artist, she has been working for more than 4 decades and has been creating more than 600 artworks. Until now, her works are hunted by the national as well as international collectors, not only because of its artistic value but also her ability to speak up the humanity messages that no words can describe. Dolorosa Sinaga does not limit herself to the artistic practice of art. To her, art needs to present and reaches all spectrum widely.

About Dolorosa Sinaga: Tubuh, Bentuk, Substansi (Editor: Alexander Supartono and Sony Karsono) published in two versions (Bahasa Indonesia and English). The English edition entitled Dolorosa Sinaga: Body, Form, Matter.
Stepping on to the wide scope of Dolorosa’s work, this book presents a long dialectic about life experiences, political anxiety, artistic exploration, and sparks of inspiration embodied in more than 600 artworks by Dolorosa Sinaga. This book is compiled in a quite long time (almost 3 years) because it does not only contain information about artworks but also reveals inspiration that triggers the books’ birth. Through strong commitment and collaboration, the production of Dolorosa Sinaga: Body, Form, Matter is finally finished.

The book consists of five parts. The first part, Pengantar Umum, contains a collaboration of two articles guiding the readers to explore the visual, textual, and intellectual “jungle” at the heart of the book. The second part, Biografi, presents “Life, Art, and Politic of Dolorosa Sinaga”. In a long intellectual-historical genre essay, historian Sony Karsono studies the dialectic tug of war between Dolorosa’s life journey and the transformation of cities and countries she works in. The third part, Galeri, exhibits Dolorosa Sinaga’s representative sculptures arranged thematically and semi-chronologically. The fourth part, Ragam Pandang, contains 30 essays written in the last 18 years about Dolorosa Sinaga and her sculptures. As “the center of gravity” of this book, also as the archival foundation of her works later on, the fifth part, Katalog, presents the most complete list of Dolorosa Sinaga’s sculptures.

Dissecting a dialectic of experience, inspiration and birth of works that sues Indonesian reality, the book Dolorosa Sinaga: Tubuh, Bentuk, Substansi comes in two editions (Bahasa Indonesia and English), completed with a volume of analysis and, most importantly, a catalog of Dolorosa's artworks during her more than four decades creations.

About the Editors Alexander Supartono and Sony Karsono
The success of Dolorosa Sinaga: Tubuh, Bentuk, Substansi book is inseparable from the roles of two editors working to reveal the social inspiration from the artistic behind the sculptor’s works then weave it to a visual as well as textual narration.

Alexander Supartono is a photography curator, art historian, also a history and photography theory lecturer at Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland. He achieved his doctoral degree in photography history from the University of St. Andrews, England. Some of his scientific publications are “Other Pictures: Vernacular (Hi) stories from the Photo Albums of Dutch Industrialists in Colonial Java (Noorderlicht, 2013); b) “Afterimage: Is There Such a Thing as Southeast Asian Photography?” (Singapore Art Museum, 2014); and c) an article on The Routledge International Handbook of New Digital Practices in Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums and Heritage Sites (2019). His research is around the topic of modernism in photography and visual culture in Southeast Asia.

Sony Karsono is a lecturer of history at Sejong University, Seoul, South Korea, where he teaches world history, biographical study, and experiences about the metropolis in Walter Benjamin’s works. He achieved a doctoral degree in Southeast Asian History from Ohio University, US. Some of his scientific publications are a) “Flâneur, Popular Culture and Urban Modernity: An Intellectual History of New Order Jakarta” in Asian Studies Review (will publish); b) “Motinggo Busye and His Popular Novels” in Indonesia and the Malay World 44, no. 129 (2016); and c) “The Making of a Sculptor: The Life, Art, and Politics of Dolorosa Sinaga” in English (2019). His research’s main topic is how body, city, and social change have embodied in theatre, literature, and visual art in Southeast Asia since 1900s.

About the Jakarta Institute of the Arts (IKJ), Faculty of Arts and Design IKJ, and IKJ Press

The Jakarta Institute of the Arts (IKJ) is the only higher educational institute of arts located at the heart of the capital city, Jakarta. Academically, IKJ is able to become the pioneer for art and art industry development in Indonesia and abroad by becoming the center for thoughts, development, and growth of traditional arts –not only Betawi, but also all Nusantara- and Indonesian contemporary art as well.

Since its foundation in 1970, the Faculty of Arts and Design (FSR IKJ) has been giving birth to artists and designers also various arts professionals enlightening cultural, social, as well as industrial activities in Jakarta.

Under the leadership of the Rector, Seno Gumira Atmadja, IKJ Press attempts to publish art and cultural books written by IKJ’s lecturers. So far, since 2017 until the present, there have been 6 books published and to commemorate the Golden Anniversary (50 years) of IKJ in 2020, there will be 4 more books published. The book Dolorosa Sinaga: Tubuh, Bentuk, Substansi is a collectively published book by Somalaing Art Studio, Red & White Publishing, dan IKJ Press.

Because of that, IKJ, FSR IKJ, and IKJ Press take part in holding the book launching of Dolorosa Sinaga; Tubuh, Bentuk, Substansi

Press Kit

Book Review Dolorosa Sinaga: Tubuh, Bentuk, Substansi

Based on years of research, by focussing on the artist’s journey as a sculptor, the book of Dolorosa Sinaga: Tubuh, Bentuk, Substansi are divided into 5 parts:

The first part, Pengantar Umum, contains a collaboration of two articles guiding the readers to explore the visual, textual, and intellectual “jungle” at the heart of the book. In the first article, “Kata Pengantar”, Dolorosa Sinaga—as an impresario and study figure in this cultural “ceremony”—mentioned why and how this book production started, developed, and resulted. Then in the second article, “Cerita-Cerita yang Melampaui Raga: Perihal Katalog, Galeri, Ragam Pandang dan Biografi,” while reviewing this book’s content and architecture, art historian Alexander Supartono opened up the discussion principals that become the target of the investigation and the strategy used to dismantle it.

The second part, Biografi, presents “Life, Art, and Politic of Dolorosa Sinaga”. In a long intellectual-historical genre essay, historian Sony Karsono studies the dialectic tug of war between Dolorosa’s life journey and the transformation of cities and countries she works. This analysis provides readers with a dynamic context to enjoy the visual and textual journey of this book: from flânerie in the sculptor gallery, to the contemplation in personal and interpretive essay collections about the sculptor and her works, to—the top—a face to face encounter with the artworks catalog of Dolorosa Sinaga.

The third part, Galeri, exhibits Dolorosa Sinaga’s representative sculptures arranged thematically and semi-chronologically. As the crystallization of a firm career flared up fertile for over 40 years, sculptures in this Galeri are witnesses of Dolorosa’s creative journey foundations as a Batak-Indonesia woman artist: since her debut in the decade of 1970s at LPKJ where she learned Indonesian variety of sculptures inherited by Henry Moore; to the first decade of 1980s at St. Martin School of Art (now Central Saint Martins) in London where she was forged with the tradition of “body-based sculpture”; to her maturity phase (from the middle of 1980s decade until now) in Jakarta where she –by renewing and expanding those traditions—managed to create and operate her own sculpture language. That “Dolorosa’s Language” plays an important role in her transformation to become a sophisticated Indonesian sculptor who aesthetically the most bewitching and politically the most taking sides. In the Galeri, we witness the depth, outreach, complexity, and courage of Dolorosa Sinaga in her struggle to deal with materials, themes, styles, ideas, technical problems, aesthetical challenges, and political barbarism.

The fourth part, Ragam Pandang, contains 30 essays written in the last 18 years about Dolorosa Sinaga and her sculptures. Interdisciplinary-background writers of art history and criticism, cultural anthropology, dance study, history, literature, philosophy, also urban photography and study. Most of them are “harvested” from six catalogs of Dolorosa’s solo exhibitions from 2001 to 2013, the essays are then sorted into two intertwined clusters. The first cluster entitled Impresi presents 11 personal reflections about Dolorosa and her works; three of them are manifestations of the artist herself. Having personal contents, the essays are not products of obedience towards a priory principal, yet they are intimate experiences in the writings of art. The second cluster, Interpretasi, contains 19 contemplative readings of Dolorosa’s sculptures based on each writer’s disciplinary perspective. They try to answer Dolorosa’s question: Have you seen the sculpture of the body? As a whole, these various views open the window to see the spread of social and intellectual networking which until now never stop spinning the creative triangle around the sculptors, artworks, and art lovers.

As “the center of gravity” of this book, also as the archival foundation of her works later on, the fifth part, Katalog, presents the most complete list of Dolorosa Sinaga’s sculptures. By covering all his career paths, Katalog documents not less than 620 sculptures, from her youth artwork, Bertolak Belakang (1976), to her newest artworks, Penghargaan Tokoh Budaya (2018). This Katalog, we hope, will trigger sharp, deep, and brilliant comprehension sparks about the creative journey of Dolorosa as an Indonesian Sculpture maestro. For the first time in the reading history of Dolorosa’s work treasury, this Katalog enables the writings of empirical foundation studies about the changes and continuation in Dolorosa’s struggle with the materials, dimensions, techniques, and reproduction methods, also productivity cycles, theme digging, intellectual and aesthetic adventures, as well as the moral and political involvement. The Katalog publication will invite the emergence of Dolorosa’s works which are undetected during the compilation of this book. That is why Katalog becomes the first step for the compilation of catalogue raisonné Dolorosa Sinaga.