Past Exhibition

Timoteus A. Kusno

Timoteus A. Kusno (b. 1989) is a conceptual artist who works with various mediums including installation, drawing and film. His works deal with ‘the invisible’ as well as the liminality of fantasy and history, memories and fictions. Through his works, he creates dialogues about the uncertainty and something considered ‘not existing’, which strongly resonate the power of colonialism. He had actively participated in art residencies and artistic researches internationally, including; ARCUS Project (Japan, 2015), Kerjasama (Australia-Indonesia, 2016), Fundação Oriente Museu (Portugal, 2017). In 2018, he was selected to develop an artistic research in Asia Culture Center (ACC), Gwangju, Korea. He then took part as a guest artist in residence at Rijksakademie, Amsterdam, Netherlands in 2019, with supports from Prince Claus Fund and Asia Europe Foundation. He had been commissioned and shown his work in several major art institutions including Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbay City Museum, India, Center for Fine Art Brussels, Belgium?for Europalia Arts Festival Indonesia. His works are collected by several major public and academic institutions including National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) Seoul, Korea, Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA) Taipei, Taiwan and Library of Sanata Dharma University, Indonesia.


My question is derived from the noises and silences that fall under postdictatorship experience, which subtly resonate with the unfinished symptoms and crumbs of the long-story of colonialism. I used an ethnographical method and institutional approach that incorporates a wide range of production techniques including drawing, graphic design, film, photography, writing-and- editing literature, performance, and installation. Along with my artistic practice, since 2013, I have also been developing the Centre for Tanah Runcuk Studies (CTRS), a (fictional) institution that conducts 'studies' on a (lost) territory in the Dutch East Indies called Tanah Runcuk, involving historians, anthropologist, fellow artists, and academics in the 'text' production. This institution is an alternative instrument to experience, as well as a laboratory to experiment; how text is produced, read, and reproduced; to read the fiction-like reality through fictional history and vice versa.

The idea underlying this new work emerged during my observation of the tradition of Rampog Macan or Tiger Raid. This 'lost ceremony' is believed to have begun in the mid-to-late 18th century, and was celebrated during the period of Feudalism in Java, a time at which the Europeans had ended their long history of witchcraft trials. The tradition of Rampog Macan represents the ambivalent relationship between feudal order and the colonial authority as its "master".

Rampog Macan was a violent, bloody collective ritual organized by the King and performed once a year on some religious occasions. For this ritual, people would gather under the hot tropical sun, in the palace square, to see Javanese tigers being pitted against buffaloes, bulls, or in a much older time a suspected criminal. They would fight to death on the "stage". The king would also invite high-level colonial officials to sit with him; this was done for the sake of demonstrating his power. Tight rings of spears were the only wall separating the masses from the fights. The tigers' death was inevitable, be it by the bull's horn or a human's spears. People believed that whenever the tigers made an escape from the pit alive, bad luck would follow for the entire community. In this ritual, a tiger was the "other", to be persecuted in the name of achieving 'Rust en orde' is a colonialstyle policy to control people in the Dutch East Indies, to create tranquility and order. This approach was continuosly reproduced druing the dictatorship era in the mid-20th century, controlling people in order to achieve harmony and stability, which consequently, came at the cost of many lives of "the other". But is this type of practice really obsolete today? Or is it just transforming into a subtler and ghostly form?

At the beginning of the 20th century, the colonial authority banned this ceremony, in order to save the Javanese tiger from extinction. On the other hand, cultuurstelsel, or enforced planting policy and large-scale land clearing under the colonial reign had massively deforested the area of Java in which the tigers used to live. Meanwhile, on another part of the earh, the global anarchist movement arose just after the Industrial Revolution, while the feudal hierarchy and hegemony had taken deep root in the Javanese socio-cultural landscape. In a sense, what could have been worse at the time than hudreds of thousands of people with spears, and the idea of freedom or the anti-colonial anger? Another question follows: how was this even possible, under Java's strict feudal structure and hegemony?

In this work, I transformed the idea of Rampog Macan into Rampog Siluman Macan. Through the Centre for Tanah Runcuk Studies, I manipulated and intervened in the archives by transforming the tiger as the subject of the death into a tiger-stealth or a man-tiger instead. This is a reflection on the history of the extermination of "witches" in Europe several centuries ago, whose cases 'strangely'---after the fall of the Suharto dictatorship around 1998--- escalated in the form of frequent occurrences in some parts of Java in which a suspected witch/ shaman (or even a local religious leader) would die 'mysteriously', which in some violent cases involved "the crowd."

This ritual manifests the complex idea of the crowd's (people's) power and ideology, extermination organized by the order of the ruler, and how feudalism and colonialism cultivated a love-hate relationship-and further, served as complementary forces to establish dan disestablish each other. This ritual had probably banned and lost, but somehow its logic and power relation still resonate and keep haunting our contemporary society with its unique colonized experience. The pit has transformed. In another day, we could have been the people with the spears, or the tiger.

Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
Social and Political Science
Gadjah Mada University
Master of Humanities in Cultural Studies
Post-Graduate Program
Religious and Cultural Studies
Sanata Dharma University
2015ARCUS PROJECT, Moriya, Ibaraki, Japan
2016KERJASAMA, Artback NT, Alice Springs, Australia
2016KERJASAMA, Cemeti Art House, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
2018-2019ACC-Rijksakademie Dialogue Exchange Program, Gwangju, South Korea and Amsterdam, Netherlands
2019S.E.A Focus, The columns gallery, Gillman Barrack, Singapore
2018Forgetful happy land, The columns gallery, Seoul, Korea
2014Ethnography Exhibition by Centre for Tanah Runcuk Studies: Memoar Tanah Runcuk Kedai Kebun Forum, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
2009What's Good Today?, Via-via, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
2017Tony Albert & Timoteus Anggawan Kusno, Sullivan+Strumpf, Gillman Barrack, Singapore
2018KIAF 2018 Art Seoul, Coex hall, Seoul, Korea
Asia Project: How Little You Know About Me, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) Seoul, South Korea
201831/2 Tahun Bekerja: Seni dan Propaganda Pendudukan Jepang, 1942-1945 Teater Kecil, Taman Ismail Marzuki, Jakarta
2018A Tale of Two Cities: Narrative Archive of Memories, Project 7 1/2, Gimhae Arts & Sports Centre, South Korea
2018Pressing Matters, a project in collaboration with Kevin van Braak, Framer Framed, Amsterdam, Netherlands
2018Historylab, Mes56, Yogyakarta
2017Equator Jogja Biennale 2017, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
2017Power and Other Things: Indonesia & Art (1835-now), Europalia, Palais des Beaux-Arts Bruxelles / Bozar, Brussel, Belgium
2017Biennale Jatim, Surabaya, Indonesia
2017A Tale of Two Cities: The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory, Arko Art Centre, Seoul, South Korea
2017Art for Peace, Artraker Biennale Prize, St. James Cavalier, Malta
2016Inside/Outside Skin: Beyond Masculinity, Ark Galerie, Yogyakarta Indonesia
2016FBB: If All the Moons Aligned, Savvy Contemporary, Berlin, Germany
2016Kerjasama: Reciprocal, Cemeti Art House, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
2016125 in 110 zone, Watchthisspace, Alice Springs, Australia
2015Arcus Project, Ibaraki, Japan
Liminal, Cemeti Art House, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
2014Arte 2014: Indonesia Arts Festival, Jakarta, Indonesia
2014Ark Galerie, Yogyakarta & Erasmus Huis, Jakarta, Indonesia
2013Pertemuan Kedua, PSBK, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
2012Les Tonnerres de Brest 2012, Brest, France
2012Basta Man, thematic concept for Festival Film Dokumenter 2012, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
2011Mengintip Laut, Center Culturel Français de Yogyakarta, Indonesia
2010Prahara Rumah Tangga, performance workshop, Proyek Kodok Ijo, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
2009Tribute to Sapto Raharjo, YGF, Taman Budaya, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
2009Frau: A Girl on The Run, Center Culturel Français de Yogyakarta, Indonesia
2009Sumbu Roda, House for Sale, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
2009The End of Conversation, Public on The Move Program, Biennale X Jogja, Indonesia
2008Jogja Deathmatch, with Trilogy Monster Logos, Roomate Gallery, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
2008Ini Baru Ini, Viviyip Artroom, Jakarta, Indonesia 2008 Trilogi Monster Logos, Indonesia
Visual Art Archive, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
2007Hijau-Hitam, Fort Vredeburg, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
2007Shout Out!, Yogyakarta Art Festival XIX, Culture Window of Yogyakarta, Indonesia
2007Biennale Jogja IX Neo Nation, Jogja National Art Museum, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
2016ASIALINK, Australia