Abednego Trianto's "Sugar Lord Java"

Images courtesy the artist. Tropenmuseum, KITLV The Netherlands, and National Art Gallery, Australia.
Images courtesy the artist. Tropenmuseum, KITLV The Netherlands, and National Art Gallery, Australia.

Abednego Trianto is an Indonesian photographer who spends his time between Singapore and Jakarta. His previous series, “Miniatures” and “Is Never What I Wish To See” were precious still-life that teeter the boundaries of beauty and anxiety.

In his recent work, “Sugar Lord Java” Trianto traces the history of Indonesia’s colonial history. Combining collages of contemporary and historical photographs, Trianto examines Semarang, a region in Central Java that is known for its contribution to the colonial sugar industry. Trianto emulates anthropological images in “Sugar Lord Java”  in an attempt to provide a sense of neutrality.

The images are composed in such an unremarkable way that it masks the unearthed tension of the past and the present. At the same time, the jarring difference between black and white figures in opposition of the coloured environments maintain a sense of conflict that will persist in Indonesia’s narrative as a nation.

Images courtesy the artist. Tropenmuseum, KITLV The Netherlands, and National Art Gallery, Australia.
Images courtesy the artist. Tropenmuseum, KITLV The Netherlands, and National Art Gallery, Australia.
Images courtesy the artist. Tropenmuseum, KITLV The Netherlands, and National Art Gallery, Australia.
Images courtesy the artist. Tropenmuseum, KITLV The Netherlands, and National Art Gallery, Australia.
Images courtesy the artist. Tropenmuseum, KITLV The Netherlands, and National Art Gallery, Australia.
Images courtesy the artist. Tropenmuseum, KITLV The Netherlands, and National Art Gallery, Australia.
Images courtesy the artist. Tropenmuseum, KITLV The Netherlands, and National Art Gallery, Australia.
Images courtesy the artist. Tropenmuseum, KITLV The Netherlands, and National Art Gallery, Australia.
Images courtesy the artist. Tropenmuseum, KITLV The Netherlands, and National Art Gallery, Australia.
Images courtesy the artist. Tropenmuseum, KITLV The Netherlands, and National Art Gallery, Australia.
Images courtesy the artist. Tropenmuseum, KITLV The Netherlands, and National Art Gallery, Australia.
Images courtesy the artist. Tropenmuseum, KITLV The Netherlands, and National Art Gallery, Australia.
Images courtesy the artist. Tropenmuseum, KITLV The Netherlands, and National Art Gallery, Australia.
Images courtesy the artist. Tropenmuseum, KITLV The Netherlands, and National Art Gallery, Australia.

Abednego is a photographer and visual artist, currently based in Singapore and Jakarta. Material objects, space, still life, golden age Netherland paintings and contemporary art are his main research interest. Photography to him is not a mere record but a reconstruction of reality, where shape and space is the main apparatus. In his series, he is dealing with the process of the medium using mechanic to capture, light in color, shape around negative spaces as a part of formal study. Using large format camera, his world is flexible as if it was created from a painter’s mind.

Born in Indonesia, art has become family activities ever since, where sketching and architecture drawing is the main family medium. In 2006, he pursued his education in photography and showed his works in various exhibitions.

Apart from still life, he finds that landscape and drawing are his main visual exploration. He is also concerned with experimental photography in installation art and fine art inkjet print making.

To see more of his work, visit his website.

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