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Updated: Nov 17, 2021

Indonesia Art Expo 2021 (IAE 2021) has entered its first month since it first launched on July 5, 2021. More than 90 Indonesian artists have joined to be part of this significant event held by L Project, an art marketplace platform that offers curated artworks. Both emerging and established artists are given the same opportunity to showcase their artworks.

Three of L Project’s artists, Jonathan Viola Christian, Frisky Jayantoro, and Chrisye Alifian, who currently live in Batu City, East Java, held a joint exhibition for IAE 2021. The exhibition is held at their art studio in Batu called "Pintu Belakang” and is opened from July 5 to August 31, 2021.

The exhibition curator, M. Yunus, said that the "Pintu Belakang" is an art "laboratory" that emits each member's feelings and expressions. Therefore, this place has become a perfect platform, not only for Jonathan, Chrisye, and Risky but also for the two other friends who are also members of the group in visualizing their individual languages ​​through art.

"The traces of the artists' creative process are shown in a simple, yet powerful way. Abstraction and language characters of each artist are shown according to their respective emotions. These works will be the center of spotlight from the studio's basement." Said Yunus in his written curatorial notes regarding the current exhibition.


Pintu Belang Exhibition covers artworks of five artists, in which we managed to contact three of five artists from this studio, namely Jonathan, Chrisye, and Frisky. Born from a sense of brotherhood formed during their time in the academic studio, the artists continued to create a platform where they could express their emotions and gave birth to an authentic work of art.

Jonathan Viola, as stated in a curatorial note written by Dwiki M. Nugroho, he did a lot of experimental processes using not only canvas but also using mediums obtained from everyday items. Many of his works are inspired by old memories that revolved around particular live events like when he left for work, some trivial issues he found, jokes from his colleagues, news from newspapers, and social media that he read.

Jonathan's artistic career began when he took the Fine Arts education at the State University of Malang, East Java, Indonesia. Jonathan initially entered the concentration of fine arts education, whose graduates would pursue a career as an academics, not a pure artist. However, his life at the campus studio with his colleagues greatly influenced and inspired him to live the life of an artist.

The artworks of the man who was born in Tulungagung, 1995, often consist of collages of materials such as sheets of cloth, used clothes, torn magazines, which are stacked, burned, and rearranged. Jonathan also refers to himself as an artist who is currently leaning towards art deformation, which is an art that alters the original shape of an object that becomes the artist's main subject.

Jonathan Viola - Imaji Bawah Tanah #1 (right) & #2 (left)

Acrylic, Fabric, Crayon, Paper, Pen on canvas, 120x100x4 cm

Unlike Jonathan and his art of deformation, Frisky Jayantoro comes with a street art background that he has been doing since high school. Taking the same art education with Jonathan, Frisky shared that when he was in the student club (Together with Chrisye and Jonathan), the influence of seniors and alumni contributed a lot to his creative growth process.


During his academic years, Frisky visited various informal residencies at the homes of alumni who had been held art exhibitions at the international level during his academic years. His college years, various discussions with fellow artists, and his background as a mural artist gradually changed his art journey through the years. Frisky's artistic transition from street or graffiti artist to a contemporary practitioner influenced by the monotonous patterns he felt when painting on street media,

"Painting is vast not only on the streets, but I can also use it on canvas. I felt stagnant when it comes to graffiti because I keep repeating the same fonts and things. Whereas in contemporary art, we can do anything. Not only immersed and focused on painting, but I also do some installations."

The alteration of his art can be seen from the works of Frisky at L Project. The dominance of dark colors that adorn many of his works is a new form of experimentation that is very different from the typical vibrant colors of street art.

In comparison to Frisky and Jonathan, who had a formal art education in college, one of the members of Pintu Belakang, Chrisye Alifian, is a mechanical engineering student. However, this does not imply that his interest in the visual arts is less than the others. Referring to what Chrisye mentioned, his love for fine arts began in his childhood years, finding himself enjoying drawing anime characters of his favourite TV shows.

Chrisye's works show snippets of events that he had experienced. The pieces of memories could come from an important event in his past or just a minor incident, but very interesting for Chrisye to respond to it into an artwork. He also divides his works into two periods which he called the flesh period and the figure period.

Many of Chrisye's works came from traumatic incidents that befell him in the past in the flesh period. These traumatic memories were come from what he saw, his feelings, and various memories embedded in his mind. However, the journey did not end there for Chrisye. He also tried to experiment through the figure period that made artist Barbara Krall one of his inspirations. In this period, the subject of his paintings took characters who were present in the artist's daily life who gave a glimpse of summary of his personal life to the viewer.


The Pintu Belakang exhibition may end on August 31, 2021, along with the closing of the Indonesia Art Expo 2021, but the works of these three artists will not end there. The experimentation process will continue inside their art laboratory, which may become the front gate of seeing local art and representing Batu City in the future. Through their artistic and creative hands, the relays of the future of Indonesian art will be passed from their predecessors so they can keep moving to introduce Indonesian art in the eyes of the world.

As we know, Pintu Belakang is a place to express their feelings through art. There is no doubt that there will be new surprises born from the hands of Jonathan, Chrisye, and Frisky. As local artists, they are also here to realize a vision in which Jonathan said that Indonesian art is currently still concentrated in big cities. In his vision, other regions also have equally strong voices in manifesting their existence and equally become a good reference in showing Indonesian contemporary art.

Keywords: Indonesia Art Expo 2021, L Project, contemporary art, profile, Jonathan Viola, Chrisye Alifian, Frisky Jayantoro, M. Yunus, Pintu Belakang, IAE 2021.

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