Hafiz Rancajale: Social Organism

FIONA E. GANDY & LARASATI OETOMO on ART & CULTURE, 04/06/18

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We meet artist, curator, filmmaker, and critique Hafiz Rancajale who just held his first solo exhibition after a long time titled Social Organism in Galeri Nasional Indonesia, Jakarta. More than what he presented inside the hall, Hafiz has many things to talk about what is “social” and what is “organic”.


What is this exhibition essentially about?

The big idea (of this exhibition) is how organisms are growing. They grow to become something that oftentimes does not change. However, they also go through things that are constructive. Constructive things in society go through a phase of modernity. The growth of organisms and modernity drives where society is going. I also want to express that as change is undeniable, so is the consequence of it. I had an art performance which showed people breaking the installed mirrors in my exhibition—they all broke into different pieces we cannot expect, no? That’s what change is.

What inspired you to do it?

Over the last 20 years, I have been heavily involved in social projects with artist collectives. I personally believe that the changes our society face come from collective, not individuals. No individual has ever started a revolution on their own; it’s always a group of people. Therefore, this exhibition is inspired by groups of people or “organisms” who are eager to make changes to our society.

Yes, you’ve been around the art scenes for the last two decades, but not “purely” as an artist. What drives you back into creation and exhibition?

This is definitely not my first, but yes, it’s already a long time since I held one. There are two different reactions I got, in general. Older artists mocked on me, “Oh, you’re back as an artist now?” while, for younger counterparts, this must be the first time they can finally see my artworks. They’ve been curious about that, and since we’ve been working on it for few years now, why not.

Why did you call this exhibition Social Organism?

Well when we talk about the word “organism,” we instantly think of something that’s growing and doesn’t stop growing. But then there’s the word “social” that I’ve corresponded with “organisms” and this relates to the problems that our society faces. The art that I have been creating over these years is meant to be seen and heard by society. Just like organisms, who enter, do work and then grow, this exhibition represents organisms who want to influence people.

PHOTOS Febi Ramdhan