ROH is pleased to present New Obsolescence: ADITYAVOVALI, Aditya Novali’s (b. 1978 Surakarta, Indonesia) first solo exhibition at our new space in Jalan Surabaya, and his third solo exhibition with the gallery to date. In this show, Novali conducts a rigorous evaluation into an archival video documentation taken in June 17, 1989, in which Novali himself, alongside two other groups of performers, was invited to conduct a solo wayang (traditional Indonesian shadow puppetry) performance at the Istana Negara (Indonesian Presidential Palace) to a formal state audience. The first part of the title of the exhibition, New Obsolescence, is in itself contradictory, in which the concept of something new is rendered automatically obsolete, while the second part of the title, ADITYAVOVALI, refers to Novali's own mistyped name in the video archive’s opening credit line.
The video, recorded on a Betamax cassette tape, traces Novali’s own aesthetical foundations as well as multiple layers of Indonesia’s complex geopolitical situation, imprints of colonial heritage and social complexities. The recording begins with an opening credit that introduces a list of performers who will take center stage in the recording itself, an Austrian all-boys choir and a dalang cilik (young shadow puppeteer) This scene presents from the outset two inherently fallacious pieces of information, the first of which is a misspelling of Aditya Noval’s name and the second being the uncredited angklung (traditional Indonesian bamboo wind chime instrument) orchestra performed right before Novali’s. Even in these initial moments, we come to realize how the human frail ability to render past memories in crystal precision, inaccurate versions of the past reappear from time to time with substantial points missing.
The artist begins the show by transforming the scenes of the film’s opening credits, footage, and glitches within the framework of his signature rotatable painting. A diptych of a reconfigured Indonesian map based on the provinces that made up Indonesia in 1989 demarcates the sense of time in the exhibition. This work directs the audience to Gallery Apple, which has been painted a stark blue color to mimic the blue screen glitches in the video, curiously similar to the Prussian blue kebaya worn by the female dignitary guests of the event. Four monitor screens play the original video itself in a loop, each starting at a different point of time, emanating what remains of the sound archive of the performances recorded on Betamax tape.
Gallery Orange then presents a diverse array of of abstracted paintings depicting various aspects of the performance in the palace, with details of the stages, the chandeliers, the carpets, the maps of the country, to the guests and their attires, marking perhaps the return of the distorted memory of performance itself to the gray walls of the gallery.
Through the diffraction Novali conducts in the show, the exhibition recollects one of a notable moment of the artist’s personal life and reconsiders this event from multiple vantage points.
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.View Artist
Copyright belongs to The Artist
Curated by Diana Campbell
Photography by ROH
Courtesy of The Artist and ROH