Entang Wiharso (b.1967, Indonesia) recently represented his country at the 2013 Venice Biennale. He is interested in communication between individuals and societies as geographical boundaries become amorphous. He addresses the struggle for tradition to find or maintain a place in the increasingly globalized world. His grand metal sculptures, cast wall reliefs, and oil paintings are imbued with Indonesian pop iconography, contemporary political history, and references to reliefs found on local Hindu temples. The English words seen are coded and invoke thoughts of love, separation, distance and tragedy. He has been the subject of numerous one-person museum shows in Asia, Europe, and the US. His debut solo exhibition at a gallery in the United States was at MARC STRAUS in September 2014.
Entang Wiharso (b. 1967) came of age in Java during President Suharto’s New Order regime, which rose to power some twenty years after Indonesia gained independence from Dutch colonial rule. By the time he graduated from the Institut Seni Indonesia (Indonesian Institute of the Arts) in Yogyakarta in 1987, contemporary Indonesian artists had come to employ a variety of forms and media in addressing their nation’s cultural complexities and the social and political realities of the Suharto years. Wiharso’s early paintings were notable for their turbulent compositions, grotesque figures, and expressions of dark emotional content.
For a period during the mid-1990s, Wiharso lived and worked in the United States, where his observations and experiences led him to examine his sense of identity and to question the relationships between historical processes, contemporary social constructions, and cross-cultural perceptions. The artist began to incorporate superheroes and other figures from American popular culture into his paintings, alongside traditional Indonesian cultural and mythological references. In several works created after his return to Indonesia, where he witnessed key developments in the archipelago’s modern history—the mounting discontent of the late 1990s, the collapse of Suharto’s regime in 1998, and the promises and dashed hopes of the reforms that followed—Wiharso refined his striking visual vocabulary. The introspective and poignantly critical paintings, sculptures, and installations Wiharso has produced since then reflect the psychological confusion, anxiety, and even terror produced by an increasingly globalized and seemingly chaotic world, giving vision to a complex and intensely personal mental landscape. For Prospect.3 he will present his recent large-scale cast- and cut-metal sculptures and reliefs, which interweave personal and historical references. Evocations of Indonesian cultural wealth, and an array of violent, shocking, or distasteful images—knives, tongues, intestines, and the like—are part of his ongoing meditation on the contentious human dramas played out on stages worldwide.