Eddy Susanto – Albrecht Dürer and the Old Testament of Java (Singapore)



Press release

Michael Janssen Singapore is pleased to present Indonesian artist Eddy Susanto’s first solo exhibition in Singapore entitled Albrecht Dürer and the Old Testament of Java.

For the series of paintings on view Susanto appropriated woodcuts and engravings from German Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer (1471 - 1528) with biblical motifs and which were produced between the years 1497 and 1523. Susanto uncovers and brings new meaning to Dürer's graphic images.

Dürer's images, originally a graphic manifestation of Old Testament texts that were written in Hebrew, are recreated in Susanto's paintings with their outlines in Javanese script. This script, which the artist painstakingly wrote by hand with black ink pen, consists of the entire Old Testament, translated into the Javanese language.

Within the Javanese culture, the script Carakan and its alphabet manifest themselves as a rule of life or natural law and are essentially of sacred nature. Text can therefore become valuable, sublime and sacred because written using sacred language and letters. The addition of the sacred Javanese script to Dürer's images not only allows the images to gain a deeper visual meaning but also opens up an opportunity to explore the concept of sacredness within the Javanese culture.

Historically speaking, Susanto's works also demonstrate an interesting temporal correlation in which the emergence of the Carakan script in 15th century Java parallels the period in which Dürer created the religious works in Europe. The series therefore also expresses a historical juxtaposition of the changes that two cultures were experiencing due to the growing influence of two new religions- Christianity and Islam, respectively.

Eddy Susanto: b. 1975 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Llives and works in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
solo exhibitions: 2014: Michael Janssen Singapore. 2013: Rumah Topeng dan Wayang, Setia Darma, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia. 2012: Lawangwangi, Bandung, Indonesia; Kota Kasablanka Mall, Jakarta, Indonesia. 2011: Kitabuku Art Space, Sanur-Bali, Indonesia. 2010: Gedung Kesenian Jakarta, Indonesia; Newseum Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia. Selected group exhibitions: 2014: Southeast Asia Platform, Art Stage Singapore with Michael Janssen Singapore, Singapore. 2013: Indonesia Art Award 2013, Galeri Nasional, Jakarta, Indonesia; ArtJog, Maritime, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. 2012 Dharmawangsa Award, Nyoman Gunarsa Museum, Bali, Indonesia.