Wulan Dirgantoro received her PhD in Indonesian Studies from the University of Tasmania, Australia where she worked on feminism and the writing of art history in Indonesia. Her PhD dissertation will be published by Amsterdam University Press under the title Feminism and Indonesian Contemporary Art: Defining Experiences in the fall of 2016. She has contributed essays on Indonesian modern and contemporary art to various art publications in Asia, Australia, and the UK. She was a research fellow at ‘Ambitious Alignment:

New Histories of Southeast Asian Art’, a research programme funded by the Getty Foundation’s ‘Connecting Art Histories’ programme. Prior to moving to Berlin in 2016, Wulan taught art history and theory at the Asian Art Histories Master’s Programme at LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore. In 2018 she joined Melbourne University as a McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellow.

Memory and the Avant Garde:
Exploring Trauma in Indonesian Conceptual Art Practices, 1970s-1980s.

As the biggest democracy in Southeast Asia and the world’s most populous Muslim country, Indonesia has a vibrant art scene that draws its roots from traditional cultures, colonialism, religion, and nationalist movements. Over the last decade, Indonesian contemporary art has risen to be one of the key players in Southeast Asia’s regional art scene and, more recently, the global scene. Scholars of Indonesian art, however, have questioned whether the current positive atmosphere for Indonesian modern and contemporary art really indicates a smooth transition between the global and the local in Indonesia and whether the interest in the here and now conveniently puts aside historical and political traumas that have shaped Indonesian art history.

The research project intends to address these questions through an exploration of the works of conceptual groups such as Gerakan Seni Rupa Baru Indonesia (Indonesian New Art Movement) and PIPA active in the mid-1970s to mid-1980s. How has the historical trauma of the anti-communist killings of 1965/66 affected the artists and their art-making? In what ways have Indonesian artists engaged with the historical trauma during the height of the authoritarian regime?