Interview with the participating artists: Syagini Ratnawulan
E-mail interviews were conducted with the ten artists featured in the exhibition Home Again—10 Artists Who Have Experienced Japan.
Syagini Ratnawulan, an artist who has become a focus of attention in her native Indonesia, did her residence in Japan in 2011. She is also the founder of her own fashion line.
SYAGINY RATNAWULAN Indonesia, b. 1979 Ratnawulan, who lives in Bandung, Indonesia, studied at Goldsmith’s College in London. She participated in the exhibition Under Construction at Tokyo Opera City Gallery and in the Japan Foundation Forum (2002). Old furniture, typewriters and cushions found during her 2011 residency appear in her installations, photographs and drawings.
Q1: In Tokyo you made a series of small works and drawings reflecting quite personal themes. Can you please tell me something about them?
I’ve always been very conceptual in my works, even back when I was still studying. It was always the product of the mind, while what I’m trying to achieve now is to deliver works that are from the heart. Since 2010 I’ve been exploring these more personal themes as I dug into my own psychology, but the works are still framed in a conceptual way. In a way, it’s more complex but they do not necessarily feel and look so. I want to shed the pretentiousness of my work, and try to be more honest.
Q2: Drawing seems to be a central medium for you. And you often draw quite fantastical or almost grotesque things, like hair. Is your work saying something about our fears and desires? There seems to be a strong psychological dimension there….almost horror-like sometimes too? What do you think?
Fear is something that we have to release. I try to release it all through my works.
Q3: Your works often refer to well-known works such as Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘The Last Supper’ and Hans Bellmer’s dolls. Are you trying to address different histories or hidden stories by using these familiar figures?
It’s just an expression that my mind set has been influenced by Leonardo da Vinci’s codes, especially the idea of the Vetruvian Man, the Divine Proportions, Golden Ratio. Supreme beings have unlimited skills and nothing is unacceptable for them. All these ideas have taught me to release things such as fear, doubt, regret, etc.. to reach a higher level of acceptance.
Q4: What is the new Hara work about?
I draw a raining of swords. The title is Homecoming Swords. It’s actually always a question in my head. About Judgement Day. Do we have to believe about the end of this world? The omega of this life?