FX Harsono: The Chronicles of Resilience
The Chronicles of Resilience encompassed the celebrated Indonesian artist, FX Harsono’s efforts to document the significant events, people, and circumstances surrounding several massacres committed against Indonesians of Chinese decent across villages and cities in East Java from 1947 to 1949. After years of investigation, and the discovery of many neglected sites, Harsono has created a series of artworks that seek to give form to what has been buried along with the bodies: not only the stories of individual lives, but the historical memory of a nation. The exhibition centers on two new installations specially conceived for the show. Memory of the Survivor and The Light of Spirit (2016) function as monuments of remembrance, commemorating the specificity of personal tragedies alongside the collective loss, and bringing light to a past that had long been consigned to the darkness. Other works in a variety of media reflect the artist’s own attempts to come to terms with the reality of the sites as physical testaments to history, incorporating documentary materials such as government reports, Google maps and the artist’s own handmade rubbings of inscriptions.
FX Harsono has been a central figure of the Indonesian art scene for over 40 years, recognized for his experimental, conceptual approach, the use of everyday materials, and deep engagement with social and political issues. Over the course of recent decades that have seen enormous transformations in Indonesia, Harsono has continuously explored the role of the artist in society, in particular his relationship to history. Harsono was awarded the Joseph Balestier Award for the Freedom of Art in 2015 and the Prince Klaus Award in 2014. His work has been shown in over 100 exhibitions around the world.