GSRBI – The archive

Slide, catalog & monograph of GSRBI

As part of realizing the a monograph of Gerakan Seni Rupa Baru Indonesia (Indonesia New Art Movement, 1975-1989, details here), we build this archive. Let us begin with explaining how we build this archive.

First of all, what we consider as data includes:

  • Catalog, leaflet, booklet, artist-publications, book
  • News, articles, reviews, critic from local, national and international mass media
  • Papers, discussion pointers (published and unpublished)
  • Bachelor, master and PhD thesis and masters
  • Audio recordings of interviews, discussions, debates and seminar
  • Photographs from various sources (the artist, colleagues and media)
  • Artwork documentations

For this research, we started with looking for catalogs, exhibition leaflets, artwork photos, reviews in mass media, essays in various publications, etc, that are made for and during the movement’s existing period (1975-1989). (At least) Two activities are often connected to GSRBI—Desember Hitam/Black December 1974 and Seni Kepribadian Apa/PIPA (Seni Sono Gallery, Yogyakarta, 1978). The first is due to the fact that all of those who sent the griefing flower arrangement (five artists) later on became the first members of GSRBI. The latter is due to the fact that many of the GSRBI exponents are involved in making PIPA exhibition happened. So, both Black December and PIPA are well documented within this archive.

We began with collecting data from the Indonesian Visual Art Archive (IVAA) and Dewan Kesenian Jakarta/Jakarta Arts Council (DKJ). And then we look for more in HB Jassin, the artists collections of files, and mass media archives.

Translations (from ID to EN) of the archive is done along the way since 2012 through various sources, supporters and means, namely FX Harsono who commissioned Elly Kent and Mitha Budhyarto; Asia Art Archive that collaborated with IVAA; the National Gallery of Singapore through FX Harsono; and ourselves. The writers for the publication project may request some more texts to be translated to English. So we will slowly keep translating (and of course uploading them). We are open for any kind of support on translating these materials 🙂

Full data catalogue of what we have is accessible here. The archive that we have built can be accessed fully in Rumah IVAA (Yogyakarta), on site. We are slowly working on building an online version of it. By far, what is already uploaded at IVAA’s online archive are listed below. (When English version of the file is available, there will be an underline on English title that leads you to it.)

Slightly before the Indonesia New Art Movement: Desember Hitam/Black December
December 31, 1974 (during Pameran Besar Seni Lukis Indonesia 1974)

Protesting students (source: Letter of protest)
Bonyong Munni Ardhi, FX Harsono, KP Hardi Danuwijoyo, Nanik Mirna, Siti Adiyati Subangun

Five students from Yogyakarta protested against the selection of the five top artists selected as too decorative at the very first Pameran Besar Seni Lukis Indonesia (Great Indonesia Painting Exhibition, later Jakarta Biennale). The five students who have been exploring new forms of expression, including using geometrical objects in paintings, signed a mourning letter for the death of creativity in Indonesian painting and sent a wreath to the biennale. They were then expelled from their school, Akademi Seni Rupa Indonesia (Indonesia Visual Art Academy), now Institut Seni Indonesia (Indonesian Art Institute) – Yogyakarta. At the same time, several young artists from Bandung were also exploring geometric forms as a continuation of abstract. By contrast, the Bandung art school was more supportive of these new practices, relating them to the development of global art movements. Sanento Yuliman, a young lecturer and critic at the Bandung art school, connected the then yet student Jim Supangkat to these Black December artists which became the catalyst for the interaction of the two regions.


  • 19741218 Katalog Pameran Besar Seni Lukis Indonesia.pdf (Catalogue from The 1974 Grand Painting Exhibition of Indonesia)
  • 19741200 Seni Lukis Indonesia Masa Kini (Fadjar Sidik).pdf (Recent Indonesian Paintings) 19741213 Seni Lukis indonesia masa kini (Sudarmadji).pdf
  • (Indonesia’s Painting Today) 19741226 Penjelasan Surat Keputusan Dewan Juri PBSLI 1974_ID.pdf (Jury’s Note on The Winners of The 1974 Grand Painting Exhibition of Indonesia)
  • 19741226 Surat Keputusan Tentang Lukisan Yang Baik PBSLI Tahun 1974.pdf (Jury’s Decision Letter on Good Paintings of The 1974 Grand Painting Exhibition of Indonesia)
  • 19741231 Penyataan Desember Hitam_ID.pdf (Black December Official Statement)
  • 19750103 Surat Budaya DA PERANSI ID.pdf (DA Peransi’s Letter of Protest)
  • 19750118 Surat Panggilan Untuk Ris Purwono.pdf (Warning Letter for Ris Purwono)
  • 19750211 Surat Permohonan Penjelasan Status Skorsing Mahasiswa.pdf (Position letter for Students’ Suspension Status)
  • 19750220 Surat Jawaban Tentang Status Skorsing MAhasiswa.pdf (Position letter responding to Students’ Suspension Status)
  • 19750306 Surat Permohonan Penjelasan Status Skorsing Mahasiswa.pdf (Position letter for Students’ Suspension Status)
  • 19750318 Surat Keputusan Skorsing dari Ketua STSI ASRI.pdf (Suspension Note from ASRI’s Headmaster)
  • 19741213 Senilukis indonesia masa kini.pdf (Recent Indonesian Paintings)
  • 19741211 Pameran Besar Lukisan Ind.pdf (The 1974 Grand Painting Exhibition of Indonesia)
  • 19741217 Pameran Besar 83 Pelukis Tampilkan 240 Lukisan.pdf (Grand Exhibition joined by 83 Painters is showing 240 paintings)

There were 240 works from 83 Indonesian painters that were displayed in Pameran Besar Lukisan Indonesia/Paintings Biennale. The exhibition wanted to cover Indonesian active painters as many as possible. Although it could not reach Indonesia’s contemporary paintings from all over Indonesia, compared to previous exhibitions, this one seemed more representative. This exhibition was planned to be held once in two years. Three prominent paintings were also awarded with prizes by the board of jury consisting 7 persons, they were: Popo Iskandar, Sujoko, Afandi, Alex Papadimetru, and Umar Kayam.

  • 19741220 Pameran 240 Lukisan.pdf (An exhibition of 240 paintings)

According to Umar Khayam, the exhibition was the first Indonesian Biennale. The first Indonesia Paintings Biennale was limited to the contemporary only. While traditional paintings were tried to be displayed in the future. The exhibition was expected to be able to present the face of Indonesia’s contemporary art. Society was also expected to be able to see the variety of Indonesia’s contemporary painting. The property rights on the exhibited paintings in this exhibition were on the hands of the painters. During the exhibition, all paintings could be bought by the fancier/collector who wanted them.

  • 19741220 Pameran Lukisan Besar di TIM.pdf (Grand Painting Exhibition at Taman Ismail Marzuki)
  • The execution of this exhibition showed that the door of Special Capital Region of Jakarta is always open for the artists settling in its region to present their achievements. This exhibition confirmed that Pusat Kesenian Jakarta (Jakarta Arts Center) TIM was not only owned by Jakarta artists, but also by artists from other regions in Indonesia. Special Capital Region of Jakarta government attempted to manage the increasing art and culture activities through DKJ.
  • 19741220 Pelukis2 muda Indonesia sedang berontak, benarkah?.pdf (Are young Indonesian painters showing their rebellion?)
  • There was a “rebellion” by young painters who wanted to be free from conventional characteristics and at the same time wanted to set themselves free from existing painting dogmata. The portrait of rebellious young painters was represented by B. Munni Ardhi, Nanik Mirna, and Harsono (all of them were the alumni of ASRI Yogyakarta). As the declaration of their standing position, they said that nowadays situation touched human’s intact self so in the creation, paintings could not only talk about the matter of taste, but also ratio. However, “the rebellion” of those young painters was questionable. It is because the rebellion towars conventional values could not only be done by showing unconventional forms. Before performing with their works, young painters had to be able to really observe their social environment well and intensively.
  • 19741221 Pameran Besar Senilukis.pdf (Grand Painting Exhibition)
  • Indonesia’s Paintings Biennale was an event that must be noted in cultural and developmental aspects. From the cultural aspect, the event had to be noted because it was able to collect works of 83 painters spread in four cities of Indonesian culture center (Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, and Yogya). It enabled society to look at the face of Indonesia’s contemporary painting. From the developmental aspect, this exhibition revealed the creativity of Indonesian artists. In the Era of Development, human’s creativity is one of required things. Other significant thing of this paintings biennale was the presence of will to demand to the government to provide a representative National Painting Museum. The museum later could accomodate the paintings of Indonesian artists in the past and the future; from the traditional motifs to the contemporary ones.
  • 19741227 5 Lukisan Terbaik Terpilih Dari Pameran Besar Seni Lukis Ind ’74.pdf (5 Best Paintings were selected from The 1974 Grand Painting Exhibition of Indonesia)
  • Instead of selecting 3 best paintings to get the first, second, and third rank, the board of jury in Indonesia Paintings Biennale selected 5 best paintings by giving prizes of the same amount. The board of jury enacted 5 best paintings by considering the heterogeneity of the works in the exhibition i.e. “Matahari Di Atas Taman” by Irsam, “Keluarga” by Widayat, “Lukisan Wajah” by Abas Alibasjah, “Tulisan Putih” by A.D. Pirous, and “Pohon” by Aming Prayitno.
  • 19741231 Pameran Besar Seni Lukis Ind Antara Minus & Plus.pdf (Positive and negative sides of The Grand Painting Exhibition of Indonesia)
  • There were noted several strengths and weaknesses of Indonesia Paintings Biennale. The presence of painters in the event’s book who were not there previously, especially young painters, was considered as an interesting thing. But on the other hand, displaying immature works of those young painters was considered too hasty. The paintings presented in Indonesia Paintings Biennale were also reckoned not showing any novelty. The scoring (and the determination of the best painting) on those paintings was/were also considered unimportant since the weighting of artworks was considered as something subjective.
  • 19741231 Seni Lukis Merindukan ‘Pengadilan’.pdf (The yearn for ‘Justice’ among painters)
  • The opinion that questioned the existence of Indonesian painting was still often be proposed by the critics or painting fanciers. In the middle of Indonesian painting development, which was signified by the presence of important works of several painters (Affandi, Rusli, Sulebar, etc.), Indonesian painters had their own anxiety. It was the absence of the court for Indonesian painting.
  • 19750111 Gado-gado, ya biar.pdf (Mixed Approach Promoted by Young Artists? So be it) Media: TEMPO Magazine Article Date: January 11, 1975 Indonesia Paintings Biennale 74 was considered not presenting the works with good installation. Displayed works were various, starting from the ones made by good techniques to the bad ones, from naturalistic to decorative, and so on. It is not a problem if the works shown were various (gado-gado—Indonesian traditional food consisting raw chopped vegetables with peanut sauce) as long as they were presented well. Unfortunately, the way of presenting the works in the exhibition was still far from good. 19750111 Ketidak-puasan itu.pdf (The dissatisfaction) Media: TEMPO Magazine Article by Bambang Bujono Date: January 11, 1975 There was no detailed explanation from the board of jury of Indonesia Paintings Biennale 1974 regarding the procedure of deciding the best paintings. Therefore, a lawsuit in the form of “Pernyataan Desember Hitam 1974” (The Statement of Black December 1974) was proposed and condolence flower bouquets were given by society to Jakarta Arts Council for “The Death of Indonesian Painting”. It occurred in the closing evening of Arts Party 1974. Another point criticized by the signing of “The Statement of Black December” (consisting of young painters) was the existence of discrimination towards the works which no longer follows the conventional limitation of painting. Furthermore, reading the explanation of the board of jury, deciding the best paintings in Indonesia Paintings Biennale seemed to be based on the view: this is painting, this one is not. Meanwhile, in the invitation sent to the painters to participate in the exhibition, there was no explanation about the criteria of something that was considered as painting. 19750115 Buntut Kericuhan di ASRI Yogya, Apakah Saudara Hendak Merobohkan Kebudayaan Nasional.pdf (Are you trying to dismantle national culture?) Media: KOMPAS Daily News by jup Date: January 15, 1975 Four students of ASRI Yogya were interrogated by the Head of ASRI (Abas Alibasyah) assisted by all heads of the programme in ASRI regarding their participation in signing the statement letter of “Black December 1974”. The statement sniped Indonesian painting which they considered obsolete. As the result of their action, those four students (Hardi, Harsono, Munni Ardhi, and Ris Purwono) were rejected when they wanted to register themselves to join lecture activities in ASRI completed with the prohibition to participate in the exhibition held in ASRI campus. 19750118 ASRI Yogyakarta Ricuh.pdf (Commotion at ASRI Yogyakarta) Media: KOMPAS Daily Article by Sides Sudyarto DS Date: January 18, 1975 Several ASRI students who also signed the statement of “Black December 1974” as the protest towards the policy of the board of jury in Indonesia Paintings Biennale were reported dropped out (orally) from ASRI. It raised unrest among the students of ASRI Yogyakarta. Students of other institution who also signed the statement did not experience similar thing. The students of Lembaga Pendidikan Kesenian Jakarta (LPKJ—Jakarta Art Institute Association), for example, were not given any sanctions; they were only asked for explanation. While in ITB, the statement was responded with sympathetic treatment that it was displayed on announcement board. 19750119 Abas Alibasyah, Tidak Ada Sangkut Pautnya Dg. Des. Hitam.pdf (Abas Alibasyah, “This has nothing to do with Black December”) Media: PELOPOR YOGYA Daily Article by PLPY Date: January 19, 1975 The temporary suspension of 5 students of STSR “ASRI” Yogya (Hardi, Harsono, B. Munni Ardhi, Ris Purwana, and Siti Adiyati) was foreshadowed a result of their participation in the signing of “Black December 1974” statement. The statement was their protest towards the decision of the board of jury that won the works of Widayat, Abas Alibasyah, Aming Prayitno (from ASRI) as well as one painter each from Jakarta and Bandung. The decision the board of jury was considered preferring Indonesian paintings’ decorative motifs meanwhile Indonesian paintings had various motifs. However, Abas Alibasyah (head of ASRI Yogya) said that the suspension of five students did not have any relation to Black December. Those five students would be active again in lecture activities if based on the result of investigation they were proved not to disrupt state development stability. Abas also stated that all ASRI students activities had to get permission from him as the head of ASRI. 19750120 Pimp ASRI Panggil 5 Mahasiswanya yang Dipecat.pdf (ASRI Leader summons 5 students facing drop-out) Media: KEDAULATAN RAKYAT Daily Article by MK Date: January 20, 1975 Tuesday, January 21, 1974, at 10.00 five ASRI students who were dropped out related to the statement of Black December were called by ASRI leader to explain their clarification and to listen to ASRI leader’s explanation. In the meeting of “Insani” family attended by several ASRI lecturers, artists, and students of ITB, LPKJ, and ASRI, the discussion on strife happening in ASRI was also there. Sudarmadji (ASRI lecturer) who attended the meeting stated that there were 4 periods of Indonesian painting: Period of Pre-Persagi (Persatuan Ahli Gambar Indonesia—Indonesia Drawing Experts Association), Persagi, Opposition on Ideology, and the period after G30S (massacre). Emphasizing on the period of the massacre, Muryoto Hartouo, a painter who attended the meeting, said that there was a mechanism of “massacre” in the last Indonesia Paintings Biennale. For example, it only involved 4 cities (Jakarta, Bandung, Yogya, and Surabaya). It was also because painting became exclusive and only gave chance to established group, while experimental art was not considered as art. Furthermore, all winning paintings had decorative motifs. Therefore, according to Bonyong, the statement of Black December and the flower bouquets were more like the form of condolence towards the period of massacre in painting. 19750126 Dibalik Tembok ASRI.pdf (Behind the Walls of ASRI) Media: PELOPOR YOGYA Daily News by MK Date: January 26, 1975 It questioned whether Hardi, Harsono, Munni Ardhi, and Siti Adiyati received normal response in ASRI after taking participation in the statement of “Black December 74”. It was because basically, their action was initiated by a normal unrest. Therefore, what was needed was to reflect whether there was learning from such case for the artists, for ASRI circumstance, and for Indonesian painting. 19750126 Malam Perdamaian, Inikah sebuah penyembelihan kreativitas.pdf (An evening of peace – reflections from discouragement of creativity) Media: EKSPONEN Daily Date: January 26, 1975 The action of suspending five students of ASRI Yogya regarding the event of Black December 74 was considered as an unwise action by most of young artists. At the same time, a question raised whether such action was a form of slaughtering artists’ creativity. 19750215 Celana Dalam, Politik, DSB.pdf (Underwear, politics, etc.) Media: TEMPO Magazine Date: February 15, 1975 Abas Alibasyah expressed his clarification along with the more crowded hilghlights on himself regarding five dropped out students of ASRI Yogya who signed Black December statement. First, according to him, those five students were suspended not only due to the signing of Black December statement, but also due to many inappropriate actions they had done in ASRI circumstance. For example, they had once exhibited underpants that had been worn before in an exhibition. Moreover, by the presence of Black December, Abas had been called by Ali Sadikin and received many insistences from many parties. Second, those five students were not able to explain what was meant by Black December statement. The statement of Black December was oriented to economics, politics, and social that should not stated by visual art students—and therefore it was considered dangerous. Third, those five students should better focus on attempting to graduate rather than doing strange things. 19750215 Skors di ASRI.pdf (Students suspension by ASRI) Media: TEMPO Magazine Date: February 15, 1975 Abas said what happened was suspension on five students of ASRI due to the consideration that they were potential to disturb national stability. Even in ASRI, there was a dissent among the lecturers. Some thought that those students deserved to be suspended; some others thought they did not deserve to get such treatment. Four of five students then were called to be investigated in front of 13 ASRI lecturers. They were investigated in pair (Hardi and Harsono, Munni Ardhi and Ris Surwono) with the questions around their family background, Black December, cultural strategy, humanity values, whether they intended to destroy national culture, to whether they were controlled by certain elements. 19750216 Dinamika Kreatif Atau….pdf (The dynamics of creativity or…) Media: TRIBUN Weekly Date: February 16, 1975 It was about the dynamics in STSRI ASRI campus before the event of Black December. Students and lecturers seemed to have high tension in between before the event. It was seen through, for example, the moment the students held an exhibition, they wrote “Our game has just begun. Hello, Mr. Lecturer! Bye Byeee” as well as displayed an underpants that had been worn. It made the director of ASRI gave a command to get the underpants off. 19750301 Lima Mahasiswa Asri Masih Diproses.pdf (Formal status of students from ASRI are currently “in process”) Media: Kompas daily Date: March 1, 1975 Abas Alibasyah’s statement that five ASRI students that isinvolved in Black December are still not allowed to follow any academic activities in 1975. Final decision on their status waits for further research. In relation to the case, Education and Cultural Minister Sjarief Thayed specially visited ASRI to warn that though the government gives freedom to artists, there are still some limitations.

Pameran Seni Rupa Baru Indonesia 1975 (Indonesia New Art Exhibition)
2-7 August, 1975

Ruang Pameran (Exhibition Space) Taman Ismail Marzuki
Supported by Dewan Kesenian Jakarta (Jakarta Arts Council)

11 members (source: Asikin Hasan’s thesis)
Anyool Subroto (Bdg), Bachtiar Zainul (Bdg), Bonyong Munni Ardhi (Jog), FX Harsono (Jog), Jim Supangkat (Bdg), KP Hardi Danuwijoyo (Jog), Muryoto Hartoyo (Jkt), Nanik Mirna (Jog), Pandu Sudewo (Bdg), Ris Purwana (Jog), Siti Adiyati Subangun (Jog)

With the support of Jakarta Art Council, Jim Supangkat organized for him and his friends to do a show in one of the galleries there. Prior to this show, Jim acknowledged many of the Black December protesters geometric painting practice that he found form wise similar to his Bandung friends, hence the combination of the 11 members are almost balance between Bandung (with Jakarta) and Jogja. Not quite as planned, in the exhibition, there were not so many geometrical painting works. The artists, especially the ones from Jogja, felt freed from their academic rules and given a stage in which they can explore, experiment and exhibit at the same time. The exhibition mainly consist of performative and installative works (be it using sculpture, painting, prints or objects) with a touch of site specificity. Their first exhibition became a boom because there were reviews on them almost every day of the show in both national and local media. It was as if the world is on the side of the youngsters.


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