blacklightAAAAHHH!!! Paris Internationale, 15-17 Rue du F. Poissonnière, Paris, France17 - 22 October 2023
ROH blacklight

ROH is pleased to present blacklight, a body of new works by Aditya Novali (b. 1978 Surakarta, Indonesia) for Paris Internationale 2023, in which the artist attempts to reconstitute the notion of a formless shadow, and posits the conceptual possibility of this shadow bearing its own weight and viscosity, to the point that a skeletal structure of sorts begins to appear. What happens in this paradox notion of a light source emanating black light, with its own frequency of light waves and discrete particles of energy. In this alternative proposition of reality, can shadows be light, and therefore light, and its reflection, act in its consequence as shadow?

As an extension of thinking in relation to those things that are destined, or fated to be, the proposition presented in blacklight is as follows: if by its very own nature a source of light hits an object and casts a shadow by the necessity of its constituent occurrences, can it be the reverse of occurrences instead be attempted, where the shadow begins as the first occurrence that thereafter shapes the form of the object that is being interacted by light? Novali attempts in blacklight to reverse the relationship between an event and its antecedent through firstly introducing the shadow. In the consequence of creating shadows in his transparent compositions, the works react to its surroundings by deflecting light, shifting the notions of what can be seen by the eye as a certain form of abstract formations. But furthermore, the shadows being depicted in the paintings thereafter create a cascading consequence of more shadows depending on the circumstances of light at any given moment throughout the presentation. This context is made more apparent in the context of Paris Internationale’s current spatial context and its everchanging natural light circumstances.

ROH blacklight

In blacklight, Novali synthesizes the many layers of discoveries and findings in his most recent solo exhibition, New Obsolescence: ADITYAVOVALI, and interpolates these recent aesthetic considerations into his plexiglass compositions in a methodology that is decidedly monochromatic in nature, emphasizing the relationship between line and shadow in his work. The presentation contains various complex, cascading layers of form, some distinct, and others more sublime and ephemeral, in conjunction with each other to form his compositional forms. Empty voids made present by Novali’s plexiglass boxes are filled by silhouettes of complex abstractions derived from references to wayang narrative structures, a relic of Novali’s own childhood as a master puppeteer, which has been obfuscated thoroughly to the point of being of being almost undiscernible except for when the works are observed closely in greater detail.

Novali first began to develop more cohesively a body of work pertaining to the utilization of plexiglass as its fundamental medium in 2016 for his exhibition ACRYLIC, wherein the artist began to build a specific lexicon that was fundamentally abstract and devoid of reference towards any specific image. The exhibition expressed a very pure relationship between the light coming into and within the gallery space and the interplay of pigmentation Novali rendered upon various scales of transparent plexiglass sheets. Novali more intuitively explored many different possibilities and permutations within quite a strict corridor of constraints, in which each work in the show deliberately looks empty until the work interacts with light and shadows begin to emerge on its secondary surface underneath.

Born 1978, Surakarta, Indonesia
Lives and works in Surakarta, Indonesia

Aditya Novali received his Bachelor of Engineering in Architecture from Universitas Katolik Parahyangan, Bandung, Indonesia, in 2002; and an IM Master of Conceptual Design from the Design Academy Eindhoven, The Netherlands, in 2008. Novali works with a variety of materials, often first conceiving an idea and then finding the right medium to transcribe his vision. His background in architecture influences his sensitivity to structure, space, and knowledge of construction – key elements of his approach and aesthetic. Addressing themes such as boundaries, identities, materialism, and urban life, Novali’s work interacts with the viewer and transforms with each viewing.

Novali’s work has been exhibited in numerous galleries and institutions both locally and internationally. Some of his previous exhibitions include recent solo presentations New Obsolescence: ADITYAVOVALI at ROH, Jakarta, Indonesia (2023); WHY at Tumurun Museum, Solo, Indonesia (2022); ME:DI:UM with ROH Projects at Liste Art Fair, Basel, Switzerland (2019); Significant Other at ShanghArt Gallery, Singapore (2019); Caprice with ROH Projects at Art Basel Hong Kong: Discoveries, Hong Kong (2018); and ACRYLIC at ROH Projects, Jakarta, Indonesia (2016); and notable group presentations Dhaka Art Summit: বন্যা/Bonna, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Dhaka, Bangladesh (2023); On Muzharul Islam: Surfacing Intention at Dhaka Art Summit: Seismic Movements, Dhaka, Bangladesh (2020); The 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, QAGOMA, Brisbane, Australia (2018); DIASPORA: Exit, Exile, Exodus of Southeast Asia, MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum, Chiang Mai, Thailand (2018); The 15th Asia Art Festival: Multiple Spectacle Art from Asia, Ningbo Art Museum, Ningbo, China (2017); Imaginary Synonym, Tokyo Wonder Site, Japan (2016); Aku Diponegoro, National Gallery of Indonesia, Indonesia (2015); Shout! Indonesian Contemporary Art, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea (MACRO), Italy (2014); Little Water, Dojima River Biennale, Osaka, Japan (2013); South East Asia (SEA)+ Triennale, National Gallery of Indonesia, Indonesia (2013); Of Human Scale and Beyond: Experience and Transcendence, Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong (2012). Novali was nominated for Best Emerging Artist Using Installation at the 2016 Prudential Eye Awards in Singapore; Finalist in the 2010 Sovereign Asian Art Prize, and awarded Best Artwork in the Bandung Contemporary Art Awards (BaCAA) in the same year. 

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Copyright belongs to The Artist

Photography by Margot Montigny

Courtesy of The Artist and ROH