While studying Law and Painting, the Indonesian artist and activist Iwan Wijono (1971, Solo, Java) joined the protest movement against the Suharto regime. As from the 90s he appeared on the streets as a performer and used his body as his chief medium in conveying political messages. So at a single stroke he distanced himself from the art market, which was primarily engaged in using expensive materials and working in private institutions, and exposed abuses through the artistic medium of performance. In his actions, rituals from the rich spiritual tradition of Indonesia play as important a part as experiments with the potential of the human body in the new political, economic and social climate.
Iwan Wijono is one of the founders and the chairman of Performance Klub. In addition to performances, this collective has since 2003 organised artistic programmes for local communities and focuses specifically on the social, political, economic and ecological issues that affect the groups concerned. As well as this, Performance Klub is the driving force behind the Perfurbance Performance Art Festival, an annual event that takes participatory art projects to remote, rural villages.
Iwan Wijono has taken part in numerous international performance festivals and exhibitions such as Archipel Secret at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris (2015), the LIVE Performance Art Biennale in Vancouver (2007), and the Mexico International Performance Festival in Mexico City (1999).
[performance] Nusantara Manuscript
The word nusantara is used mainly as a name for the ancient kingdom of Indonesia. But from an etymological and literary point of view, this concept extends much further. Literally translated, nusa means ‘island’ or ‘nation’ and antara ‘between’. So nusantara is ‘the space between the (Indonesian) islands’. In a broader sense, the word also means ‘the space between the nations of this world and between the planets, the galaxies and so on’. The Nusantara philosophy of life is one of unification. It is by definition universal and encompasses not only the material and spiritual worlds, but also every dimension in between, with their possible mutual relations. In S.M.A.K., Iwan Wijono will give a performance founded on the principle and structure of Nusantara.