Random BlackROH Projects, Jakarta, Indonesia31 May - 21 June 2016
ROH Random Black

As we have witnessed in his previous shows over the last seven years, Bagus Pandega's explorations have been aimed toward creating 'spectacles,' or 'total works of art'. He uses different media such as found objects, kinetic, light, sound, and then transforms them. He explores mechanical resources that increase the possibilities of a total theatre by alerting the audience and creating a space for involvement and 'experiencing.' 

For his work at ROH Projects, Bagus Pandega makes a reference to the word Onomatopoeia, or transliteration of sound, a word that imitates the natural sound of an object or creature. We would find many examples in the Indonesian language like Tokek, Burung Tekukur, menggonggong, etc; the sound of the described thing. Bagus Pandega is obsessed with these complex relations: sound - words - objects - light - movement and time. 

Especially for this exhibition, Bagus Pandega has devised and executed experiments on the unexpected and with random interfaces of each particular element in his installations. His ongoing research and exploration is reflected in the creation of 'occurrences.' 

ROH Random Black

The beauty of random happenings lies in the fact that they are bound to have an effect on the spectators' senses whether they are understood or not. In his installations, we are confronted with different elements that will blur into one another. We will hear objects, see sounds and feel movement. We will even listen to color and smell time. The use of visuals (light, color, objects), sound and movement help to emphasize the notion of the physical space around us: the here and now. Standing in front of his immersive installations, we become spectator and participant at the same time. A certain awareness of occurrences comes into presence, thus extending and stimulating the viewer's perception of space. 

ROH Random Black

Bagus Pandega explains: "I don't want to become an illustrator through my work. I am not interested in creating narrations and I’d rather not explain anything to the audience. I just start from the medium; an object, its kinetic aspects, and sounds."

In Random Black, he took the cymbal as a starting point. He painted the cymbals black, in which they then appear as LPs. Bagus Pandega: "The form as well as material with sound led me to develop a new object, a sort of non-static form, a form that was shaped with the idea of expansion, like a tree." The visuals and sounds overlap with each other in the sensory department; an experience in real time, but depending on personal associations, differ between each person. This is a reference to elementary natural energies in which the unexpected and uncertainty play an important role, especially with relation to the apparent orderliness in the world. 

“Looking at the visual aspects of Bagus Pandega's work, the use of black in his painted cymbals and his use of LPs, I interpret this to establish a certain balance to 'coincidence.' Black is like the stable factor, the absolute. Black cannot be random, and one may not go further than black. It is the final point. Like in Kazimir Malevich's painting Black Square, 1913, there are no more representations of reality. It marks an end and a beginning. After reaching black one may only return to grey, the light, and colors, like what Kazimir Malevich did when he made a return to figurative paintings. 

Bagus Pandega's approach expresses a certain affinity with the '50s and '60s artist groups Zero and Fluxus, who experimented with the most innovative materials and media of their time. 'Chance,' or elements of the 'accidental' were also important in their works. The factor of chance made its appearance in the arts in the 20th century. At the time when art became more and more influenced by concepts initiated through technology, rational processes and structures. Many artists wanted to escape this and went looking for other ways. Improvisations created the path to 'serendipity,' more clearly defined as 'the art of finding' even if you are not searching.”

In comparison with the Zero Movement, Bagus Pandega has a very different approach, than searching for a certain zone of silence and pure possibilities for a new beginning, as Otto Piene called it. Re- defining the meaning of art as it was fifty years ago is no longer an obsession in search of new forms, like happenings, interdisciplinary, etc. 

ROH Random Black

Bagus Pandega; "I am more interested in imagining where something is growing, instead of looking at what is already conceived. We are pre-conditioned and I don’t want to bring symbolic meaning or dramatic effects through my work. What is concrete is the past, but I am interested in what is in front of us, imagining accumulative experiences in a predicted duration. Nobody knows what is ahead of us.”

We can only imagine or actually experience, the sound of black cymbals in a certain time conducted by Bagus Pandega. 

Born 1985, Jakarta, Indonesia
Lives and works in Bandung, Indonesia

Working primarily through the medium of installation, Bagus Pandega often challenges pre-conditioned relationships between objects and its viewer. In his works, Pandega assembles various electronic systems as ‘modules’ and explores objects such as voice recorders, cassette and record players, lamps and electronic circuit boards— among others— to construct his works. Many of his artworks become activated through the interaction of movement, sound and light. 

Pandega graduated from Bandung Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) in 2008, majoring in sculpture. Pandega’s selected solo exhibitions include A Pervasive Rhythm at Yamamoto Gendai, Tokyo, Japan (2018); Random Black, ROH Projects, Jakarta, Indonesia (2016); and A Monument That Tells Anything, Cemeti Art House, Yogyakarta, Indonesia (2015). Selected group exhibitions include Frieze Seoul with ROH, Seoul, South Korea (2022); WAGIWAGI at documenta fifteen, Hübner areal, Kassel, Germany (2022); Declaring Distance: Bandung — Leiden, Selasar Sunaryo Art Space, Bandung, Indonesia (2022); ArtJog MMXIX: Common Space, Jogja National Museum, Yogyakarta, Indonesia (2019); Paris Internationale with ROH, Paris, France (2018); all of which feature his collaborative practice with Kei Imazu; Art Basel Hong Kong with ROH, Hong Kong (2023); The 10th Asia Pacific Triennial at QAGOMA, Brisbane, Australia (2021-2022); Tiger Orchid presented at Art Basel OVR: Miami Beach (2020); Condo London at Project Native Informant, London, UK (2020); Ripples: Continuity in Indonesian Contemporary Art at Taipei Dangdai, Taipei, Taiwan (2019); Distorted Alteration at Project Fulfill, Taipei, Taiwan (2018); Amsterdam Light Festival, Amsterdam, the Netherlands (2017); and Clandestine Transgression at Art Basel Hong Kong: Discoveries with ROH Projects, Hong Kong (2015). After winning third place at Bandung Contemporary Art Awards #2, Pandega completed his first residency at Le Centre Intermondes, La Rochelle, France in 2012. A nominee of the 2016 Sovereign Art Prize, Pandega had also collaborated with Adi Purnomo and Irwan Ahmett in presenting Freedome, Indonesia Pavilion at the London Design Biennale: Utopia by Design in 2016.

View Artist

Copyright belongs to The Artist

Curated by Mella Jaarsma

Photography by ROH

Courtesy of The Artist and ROH