Katie Lee’s residency


Our idea of an unstructured residency is a non-exhibition or non-production oriented form of residencies for artists, curators, researchers, and writers. It is an open platform for art practitioners coming into Yogyakarta with the idea of building a dialogue, a long term relationship, a shared learning process with the local scene. Grace proposed this idea at the Independent Curators International Symposium in Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, 2013.

Starting from June to September 2014, we will be hosting Katie Lee’s residency in Yogyakarta together with artist Handiwirman Saputra as a co-host. Katie will be staying and working at SaRang Building and also Balai Keseharian dan Pemajangan (BKdP, Handiwirman Saputra’s studio). This residency is supported by Asialink.

About Katie Lee
She graduated from RMIT with a MA Visual Arts in 2009 and has also studied postgraduate education and urban planning. Lee’s practice is interdisciplinary and is often an exploration of the physical and psychological consequences of the built environment. Her sculptural installations incorporate the performative, balancing the visual language of institutions with a sideways humour that challenges their function. Lee has exhibited widely in various Asian countries including Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia. She has been a board member of Melbourne artist run spaces including Conical Inc. and West Space.

About Handiwirman Saputra
Born in Bukittinggi, West Sumatra (1975), Saputra is a cofounder and member of Jendela Art Group (since 1997). His works turns around the impression of fetishism and are provocative of the logic of materialism with the sense of fragility, vulnerability or precariousness. Saputra often make works simply with the process of organizing, joining, reducing and adding again. He rarely thought about or imagined the direction of the object that had become his work, his concentration is directed towards the small things, details of the character of the material. Starting from found, mundane and at times abandoned objects, Saputra tends to look for irrational combinations, strange things and strongly pays attention to the contrast.

Conversation 01: Saturday, July 12
At SaRang Building’s gallery, we made a talk about artists’ working rhythm/mechanism/ritual and how does it work in the context of residency programs. The speakers are: Elia Nurvista, Katie Lee and Maryanto. Grace and Pitra was moderating, translating and recontextualizing. Questions posed were: How do you start a work? Do you sketch? Do you imagine and then make directly? How do you turn your idea into your work? How do you decide that a work is done? What is site? What is space? What is an exhibition? What is an experiment? Do you measure/note the development of your ideas/sketch to the execution? How do you decide to put work/project in an exhibition setting?

Early this year, Elia Nurvista did a whole month cooking experiment that is open for public. She is interested in some peculiar ingredients that people from Wonosari, Gunung Kidul, used within their daily cooking. Those ingredients are: Cundring, cabuk, bungkil, mlanding. She invited anyone who wants to test out their own recipe to cook with her at her open kitchen in Kedai Kebun Forum. Her requirements was that all cookings must involve the peculiar ingredients that she took from Wonosari. This experiments actually work in several ways. She explored the other use of all those ingredients and she explored people’s curiosity in taste through amateur cooking. In the end, she converted the kitchen into a fine dine restaurant where people have to book beforehand to eat and food were served with that fancy fine-dine manner. Every table set for a dining session always involved a host that is someone local from where she took all the ingredients. They were assigned to tell the diners what do they ussualy use the ingredients for and what do they think of the ingredient’s use within that particular dining session. Yes, each session had different kinds of food served and all the foods were selected from all the experiments done in the kitchen for the past month. This experiment was titled Adiboga Wonoasri. Then she went on a residency in Delfina Foundation. A non-product/non-exhibition type of program that has a particular theme. This year’s theme is ‘The Politics of Food’. So, yes, all the invited residents are either already working on anything related to food or is going to be working on that theme.

Early 2012, Gertrude Contemporary invited Grace to come to Melbourne. She was invited to see if we can develop a certain kind of relationship so that they can collaborate, work together. She was given a month to look around, to see what is happening and so on. There, she met Katie Lee; came to visit her studio, went out for a couple of drinks and had a pretty good conversation. Katie’s studio reminded Grace of an artist that his practice is pretty familiar to her back in Jogja; Handiwirman Saputra. The materiality in terms of how the materials are being treated. There is a certain beauty and curiosity and the same time in the rather ‘cold’ but very poetic way that both deal with the materials that they begin with. One tries to unfold what has been done to the material and to create something with similar treatment; the other one tries to see how a certain material can be dealt within a space, be it the space in ones mind or as idea or in a physical space. Mid 2013, Katie visited Solo last year out of her own interest towards Amerta Movement that has been developed by Suprapto Suryodarmo. She then came to Jogja to meet Grace and talk about possibilities in developing something. Both of them came out with the idea of a residency project without worrying so much on what has to be done etc. Maybe both of them have similar boringness towards the structure of a ‘typical’ residency. Katie wrote up a proposal to Asialink and Grace helped. So, here we are in Katie’s third week residing in SaRang building and working in BKdP.

Maryanto was just done with his Rawalelatu series before he left for the Rijks Academy two-years residency. The project started from an idea to collectively make a graphic novel. Him being the graphic artist, Pitra and Grace being the story teller. Basically, what the three did is meet up once every to weeks to develop the story. Discuss on our background of thoughts. Rawalelatu is a developing suburban area. And, yes, Jakarta was the urban area near by, but they decided that they didn’t need to explain that verbally. They chat, chat, and chat. Maryanto drew, sketch, and visualize. Time goes by. The project ended up into two solo shows. The first show, at Kedai Kebun Forum 2008, was more like a showcase of a work in progress where the preface of the story was laid out. After this show, all of Maryanto’s works slowly depict bits and parts of the Rawalelatu as a fictional setting. In the second show, at Jakarta Art District’s main hall, Maryanto exhibited everything he has got on Rawalelatu. From sketches, study-works (where the scratching technique initially started), to paintings, printmakings, installation and performance. The three of them then decided that Rawalelatu should be over. They ended up not making the graphic novel, yet all aspects that we wanted to talk about had been depicted throughout Maryanto’s works during 2008 – 2011. During his Rijks residency, he managed to accomplish two open studios and a solo show in the Heden Foundation.

Attendees and participants of the conversation: Jim Allen Abel, Wimo Bayang, Bambang ‘Toko’ Witjaksono, Rismiliana Wijayanti, Yustina Neni, Linda Sormin, Sudjud Dartanto, Endang Lestari, Theodora Agni, David, Natasha Gabriella Tontey, Ignatia Nilam Agusta, Adhari Donora, Agus Tri Budiarto, Cindy Lin, Dito Yuwono, Anang Saptoto, Jumaldi Alfi, Dodo Hartoko, Kokok P. Sancoko, Handiwirman Saputra, Ngakan Ardana, Yuli Prayitno

Listen to the talk:

Conversations 02: Monday, August 5
At BKdP, Handiwirman, Katie and Grace talked about methodical decision making in art making process and the relation between material-use and those decisions; with the assistance of Gisela Swaragita for translation purposes.

A conversation (1)
Between Handiwirman Saputra, Katie Lee and Grace Samboh with Gisela Swaragita’s translation

HS: During art making process, I usually insert myself into an issue. Usually I just sit around and have chit-chats with my friends. That is a part of conditioning (pengondisian). I don’t know whether that is the right term or not, but that is how I call it. So, in terms or art making, by means of the physical making process, it just happens, (almost) as if it is automatic…

HS: Experimenting on materials, technics and various approaches are part of my daily activities. I do not do it in the mindset of making works or anything in particular. So I do not separate them as a specific phase (of work). It is a part of my job as an artist, I guess…

HS: (Pointing at a spoon) This thing, for example. Say that this is my trigger. I start to think about my interest upon this thing. Then with all the things that I have experimented before, I try to enter the condition that I need, … then make decisions, then, when it comes to working, well… just make, right?

GS: So, is what you said about (daily) experiments actually about expanding skills (technically, methodically)?

HS: Yes

KL: Speaking of conditioning…

GS: Kualitas makna/the quality of means

(to be continued…)

Supporters and external links



  1. […] Hosted by Grace Samboh at Hyphen, I will be spending June-September in Jogjakarta on an Asialink residency. Hyphen: http://hyphen.web.id/katie-lee/ […]

  2. […] Hosted by Grace Samboh at Hyphen, I will be spending June-September in Jogjakarta on an Asialink residency. Hyphen: http://hyphen.web.id/katie-lee/ […]