A new exhibition at Pearl Lam Galleries in Singapore features the work of the budding Indonesian artist Syaiful Aulia Garibaldi. Tepu, as he is known to his followers produces art which visualises the tiny and often overlooked workings of nature on a large scale. It reminds us of the importance of minute life-forms that decompose waste and regenerate new life. In his first solo exhibition outside of Indonesia, Tepu puts on view a varied selection of artworks across diverse mediums, including stylised paintings of microorganisms, spore prints, and installation art pieces involving mushrooms, moss and orchids. His unique reading of life and nature is evident through the quirky use of organic materials in his art practice.
In the midst of the bustling art market, with local and international audiences clamouring for the loud and obvious, Tepu stands out quiet but confident, original and yet aware of the great Indonesian masters before him.
Starting off as a student of agriculture in university, Tepu switched to experimental fine arts and applies his scientific background to create a conceptual foundation for his art. As he peers into his microscope, he records images of cellular growth and uses them as alphabets to create a new language he named “Terhah”, meaning ‘idea’, a project so thorough it came complete with a dictionary. He then progressively expanded and populated his constructed, imaginative world with small organisms which feature in his prints, sketches, paintings and, finally, installation art.
Essays contributed by Enin Supriyanto, one of Indonesia’s leading independent curators and Tan Siuli, Assistant Director (Programmes) and Curator at the Singapore Art Museum, illuminates the discursive nature of Tepu’s creations. Supriyanto writes, “Tepu enforces the notion that as material, fungi—or more importantly: new media artistic expressions—are directly related to the need for new languages”. Tan supports this point, as she writes: “Like the thread-like body of the fungus which appears to have no beginning and no end, only an ever-expanding network of nodes and connections—the possibilities for a constantly evolving and enquiring art-making process, nourished by its interdisciplinary conjunctions and modalities—are infinite indeed.”
Syaiful Aulia Garibaldi was born in 1985 in Jakarta, Indonesia. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts from Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB) and currently works in Bandung, Indonesia.
Syaiful, started off as a student of agriculture in university before pursuing experimental fine arts where he applies his scientific background to create a conceptual foundation for his art. Tepu’s works 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.
Tepu has participated in several exhibitions in Indonesia and abroad. His recent exhibitions include Regnum Fungi (2012), Padi Artground, Bandung, Indonesia; Pressing (2013), Videoinsight® Center, Turin, Italy; Trick or Truth (2012), Fang Gallery, Jakarta, Indonesia; Design Art: Renegotiating Boundaries (2012), Lawangwangi, Bandung, Indonesia; and Hybrid Project: The Butterfly Effect (2011), Barli Museum, Bandung, Indonesia. In 2013, he was awarded Best Artworks at Bandung Contemporary Art Awards #3.
22 March–31 May, 2014 Tuesday–Saturday, 11am–7pm; Sunday, 12–6pm (Closed on Mondays and Public Holidays) Pearl Lam Galleries, 9 Lock Road, #03-22, Gillman Barracks, Singapore 108937