Tepu’s interest in the microorganism that ranges from fungus to various decomposers in biosphere probes him into observing the life cycle of fungus and more recently the decomposing phase of human flesh, which underlying the macabre and morbid subject, nevertheless comes through a source of endless life and pulsating energy. Metaphorically and biologically, the decomposition process represents a cycle of death, decay, regeneration and birth that repeats itself incessantly.
Observing this infinitesimal world under the microscope allows the artist an endless source of inspiration to create compositions, which are visually intriguing and philosophically illuminating: a visual feast of colours and forms that is essentially the fundamental spring of life where decomposing, is to allow regeneration. This is a poignant commentary on the existential state of being for all things living and dead.
For the artist, this life cycle is occurring constantly around us almost inconspicuously because of the minuscule size of their structures, and their cryptic lifestyles either subterranean or on dead matter, and yet with such an enormous diversity of taxa, with varied ecologies that interact and communicate amongst one another, is a constant revelation and wonderment.
To that, Tepu responds by creating imageries on various media, to construct a cosmology that is based on the ecologies of the microor- ganisms he has observed. What eventually comes about is the creation of a unique vision that is both fantastical and empirical. Although based on objective observations, the artist nevertheless depicts the mutating and morphing forms under the lens with a certain degree of poetic interpretation, demon- strating an inherent penchant for an existence of a certain colony or ecosystems, at times real and at other times imaginary, a network that is at work, quietly but powerfully, an existence that beckons greater attention that promises beauty and life when one looks closer; a visual theoretical underpin- ning for the cosmic belief of Tepu’s which is that of : Life is an Infinite state of Being, ever Evolving but always Magnificent.
Born 1985, Jakarta, Indonesia
Lives and works in Bandung, Indonesia
Syaiful Aulia Garibaldi is currently pursuing his Master's Degree in Environmental Science at Universitas Indonesia. He obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts, Printmaking Studio from Institut Teknologi Bandung. Syaiful, fondly known as Tepu, previously pursued education in agronomy before pursuing experimental fine arts, where he applies his scientific background to create a conceptual foundation for his art. Tepu’s works in installation, painting, drawing, printmaking and video show a remarkably strong vision of art that collides with science in a graceful manner. His creation of an immersive environment was sparked by his interest in the networked and interconnected nature of ecologies, and the evocative power of microorganisms as symbols of death and decay, as well as life. Infusion between art and science transcends through Tepu’s work and gives way to a new gateway of knowledge, which is illuminated within his prints and installations.
Garibaldi has been featured in numerous solo exhibitions, the most recent ones being tumbuh at ROH, Jakarta, Indonesia (2022); Sudor at Silverlens Galleries, Manila, Philippines (2020); Lemniscate at Mind Set Art Center, Taipei, Taiwan (2018); Limaciform at Silverlens Galleries, Manila, Philippines (2017), Quiescent at ROH Projects, Jakarta (2016); and Abiogenesis: Terhah Landscape at Pearl Lam, Singapore (2014). He has been a part of major group exhibitions in various countries, such as Indonesia, Singapore, China, Taiwan, France, Italy, Belgium, and Hong Kong. The most recent ones include 1 (2022) at ROH, Jakarta, Indonesia; Chromatic Network at Galeri Salihara, Jakarta, Indonesia; And Life Goes On (2020) at Mind Set Art Center, Taipei, Taiwan; Art Basel Hong Kong 2019, Hong Kong; Natural Capital (Modal Alam), Europalia Indonesia, BOZAR, Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels, Belgium (2018); West Bund TALENT at West Bund Art Center in Shanghai, China (2017); the 2017 edition of Jogja Biennale and Art Stage Jakarta, Southeast Asia Plus (Sea+) Triennale at Galeri Nasional Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia (2016), and Prudential Eye Zone at ArtScience Museum, Singapore (2015). Tepu with Lokus Foundation is also currently part of Iron Placenta (2022), an ongoing research project by Irwan Ahmett and Tita Salina. He had residencies at ABC Learning Town, Siheung, South Korea in 2015 and Centre Intermodes, La Rochelle, France in 2014. He is awarded Best Artist for Tempo Magazine Award in 2016 and Bandung Contemporary Art Award (BaCAA) in 2013. Tepu is currently living and working in Bandung, Indonesia.View Artist
Copyright belongs to The Artist
Text by Keong Ruoh Ling
Photography by ROH
Courtesy of The Artist, Mind Set Art Center, and ROH