Interview with FAJAR AMALI for ‘Among Our Existence’ | Exhibition October 7 – October 28, 2023

Thinkspace is excited to present Fajar Amali‘s U.S. debut solo exhibition Among Our Existence which fills the space in Gallery II. The Indonesian artist explores a post-apocalyptic setting, featuring pop figures in the still life painting approach. Seeing how still life painting can bring an impressive depth in various times, Amali views it as a method of recording the momentum of time. Using iconic figures in popular comics as toys in still life style works, Amali explores the worth of things that are often underestimated.

Our interview with Amali shares his rituals to tap into his creative flow, his creative influences, and who he would love to ultimately collaborate with.

What themes were you exploring in this body of work? Did you have a piece that was particularly challenging?

I am very interested to see the essence of Natura Morta or Still Life work, which are simple, deep, and calm. From A-Z I tried to meet it, I used the word “Absence” to tag one of my latest series in translating Nature Morte paintings that are always related to the Latin phrase “Vanitas vanitatum et omnia vanitas.” Thematic in this solo exhibition is very much related to that Latin phrase, finally I used the title ‘Among Our Existence’ as my way of dialogue with the audience. Because, I work in the circle of pop culture and always carry works in the Sci-fi genre such as Post Apocalipse, Robot, Cyberpunk and my habit of including or appropriating popular figures in comics, manga, anime, cartoons that live in the multiver that I built in my previous works. For me, it’s a challenge to translate as an element of natura morta/still life today.

What does a day in the studio look like for you? How do you structure your days?

Studio is my isolated habitat, I feel like time has stopped in it. It’s a little difficult to manage my daily life, sometimes I get to work for only 15 minutes/day or it can be two days without stopping.

Do you have any rituals that help you tap into a creative flow?

I like comics, and I collect a lot of Japanese comics, such as AstroBoy, Akira, Arale, Battle of angela. Even though it’s just looking at the visuals, the comic is my ritual before painting.

What is your most favorite and least favorite part of the creative process?

Buy paint and buy canvas.

Who are some of your creative influences? Why do they inspire you?

Before I knew Arsham, Rembrant van Rijn and Claude Monet are my creative influence to date. No need to question, we can see it. How the two maestros created the magic in his paintings. Arsham I like his perspective in his work.

If you could have any skill or topic downloaded into your brain, what would you want to be able to do / be an expert at?

Understand people.

What do you hope viewers take away or experience while viewing your

I want them to be honest with themselves. See from what they see themselves. and believe what they believe.

How do you like to enjoy your time outside of the studio? Do you celebrate the completion of a body of work?

Meet humans, listen to them tell stories.

If you could collaborate with any artists in any sort of medium (i.e. movies, music, painting) who would you collaborate with, and what would you be making?

Christoper Nolan. I don’t know.

Who would be on the guest list if you could throw a dinner party for five people, dead or alive? What would be on the menu? What would be the icebreaker question?

I don’t know, for me all the same, if I can invite a lot of people, why five? And my question to them is “Are you happy tonight?”

What was in your musical rotation during the development of this body of work?

Many, but what I often listen is FLOWER from L’arc en Ciel

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