May 27, 2016

The journey to Batik - Introducing Krisna Murti

Video still 'Paradise Under Construction'. Video by Krisna Murti. Dance by Gita Kinathi

Photo of video installation 'Wayang Machine' by Krisna Murti  

For my upcoming project ''The journey to Batik' I'm very fortunate to collaborate with inspiring artists, who I met in 2009 during my first journey to Batik and who I haven't met in person yet, but who help me a great deal during my stay there. One of these artists is Krisna Murti.
I was in contact with him before I travelled to Java the first time and with his guidance and great help he made my journey a very great one. When I arrived in Yogyakarta I felt kind of lost. I knew what I wanted to do and see, real Batik Tulis, but how to do it was still a mystery. It was my first journey alone and I was under the impression that I maybe wasn't able to do this alone. I contacted Krisna about my troubles. He was at that time in the Netherlands preparing for the exhibition 'Beyond the Dutch' so he could visit me, but I introduced me to Denny Antyo, a student of his at the Art Academy and great guide for Yogyakarta. We kept in contact during my travels and later followed each others work on Facebook.
When I started to think about how I can make a follow up of my first journey to Batik, I realized that a really would love to collaborate with the artists I met. I wanted to combine to Art of Batik with the Modern Art being made on Java, which for me already are really connected.
One morning I woke up with these moving images in my head and I knew what I was going to do.
'The journey to Batik'-project is a live dance performance with a video-background and a video-work. Batik as a technique has been under pressure for a long time, but I noticed that in the Indonesian culture & art it is very alive. The philosophy of Batik as I call it, the language of the patterns, is used in many Art forms from painting to tattoo’s, in dance and fashion. The journey, the video, will show how the patterns of Batik are being used & created by different creatives on Java in different ways. The video will serve as background for the dancer.
When I got the idea, I first contacted Krisna Murti. His video-works are absolutely great and his experience is very welcome to realize my dream.

Dear Krisna Murti, who are you? And what do you make as an artist?

I am video artist. I use video as my media for my artistic expression.

If you think about Batik, what is the first thing you think about?

Batik is an art process: painting, dyeing and the symbolic meaning & purpose to wear and use Batik for various activities.

Paksi Naga Liman Batik Motif from Cirebon

Do you have a favorite Batik pattern or motif? 

Yes, my favorite pattern is from Cirebon. It is called "Paksi Naga Liman". In this Batik motif 'Paksi Naga Liman' a combination of animals is shown. A Paksi or Garuda  (eagle), an Dragon or Lion and a Liman (elephant). Paksi Naga Liman symbolizes Royal power and represents the air, Paksi, the sea, Naga and the land, Liman.

Photo of video installation 'Wayang Machine' by Krisna Murti  

Photo by Krisna Murti

Do you wear Batik? And if yes, when do you wear it?

Yes of course I wear Batik. I have a collection. I always wear a Batik shirt to important events like a wedding.

What is the most beautiful place on Java for you? And why?

I like Yogyakarta city. The city had a nice combining of modern and traditional culture. (Krisna teaches at the Institute of the Arts in Yogyakarta)

And last, do you maybe have a picture of you wearing Batik?

See photo above of Krisna Murti in a Javanese dance costume 'Pergiwati' on a cover

More about Krisna Murti:
- Article "Video (e)scape into a dream"
- His work is now on display during ART|JOG|9 from 27th May till 27 June 2016 in Yogyakarta and at the National Gallery in Jakarta

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