Biasa ArtSpace is a contemporary art gallery located only steps away from the Biasa fashion flagship store in Seminyak. Inconspicuous amongst the row of fashion boutiques along Jalan Raya Seminyak, it houses quirky pieces by select, up and upcoming Indonesian artists who master various forms, from paintings, figurines, to enigmatic sculpture and awe-inspiring works.
The contemporary art gallery works closely with these artists and supports them by providing an international setting for wider appreciation through its high-profile exhibitions. Dedicated to the development and preservation of art, Biasa ArtSpace also features a dedicated art restoration and conservation studio on its upper level, set in collaboration with a renowned Italian art restorer.
Since opening in 2005, Biasa ArtSpace has played an important role in fostering some of the most significant new developments in contemporary Indonesian art. Its launch was a natural response of Biasa’s fashion designer and founder, Susanna Perini, to her early encounters with young Yogyakarta artists in the late 1990s. Soon it continued to act as a stage for these undiscovered art communities and as an international platform for select local artists.
As you enter the white tiled hallway, you’ll notice a peculiar installation that, at first glance, looks like an elaborate array of mechanical devices. Brass head busts, some that strikingly resemble the late president Soeharto, are placed over motorized mallets that hit gamelan pieces, creating an out-of-synch composition. Behind are more busts with eyes that erratically light up red. Yogyakarta visual artist Heri Dono created this surreal installation in 2009.
Further, into the gallery, designed by Italian architect Giovanni D’Ambrosio, are paintings and portraits by Arya Pandjalu and Sara Nuytemans. One, titled Bird Prayers, depicts four figures standing motionless in a rice field with their heads replaced by birdhouses. Near the staircase that leads up to the gallery’s library and restoration studio is Arya Pandjalu’s installation, which he created in 2011, comprising a papier-mâché male figure with a bird head carrying a wooden birdcage on his back, and surrounded by little bird figurines at its feet.
Other notable names io the contemporary art scene include Indieguerillas, Filippo Sciascia, Ugo Untoro, Yogie A. Ginanjar, Septian Hariyoga, Nurdian Ichsan, Wiyoga Muhardanto and Zulfa Hendra. An eye-catcher is an installation titled Kapanpun dimanapun or ‘Anytime anywhere’ by Ugo Untoro, which dates back to 2007, featuring two giant rice crackers, each set in round, clear resin 57cm in diameter.
Upstairs is a mini library where shelves filled with art books and magazines flank cosy sofas. At the other far end is the restoration studio, which started in collaboration with renowned Italian restorer, Michaela Anselmini. Anselmini is a veteran of galleries and art institutions such as Sotheby’s Milan, Galeria Pak in Milan, and Lion & O’s Art Gallery in NYC.
The inclusion of the restoration studio was due to the challenging climate here in the tropics, which poses a hazard to delicate art pieces. Through this endeavour, Biasa ArtSpace aims to provide durability to works of art while increasing their quality. Stacks of wooden frames in protective wrapping were visible on our last visit, which denote the many projects that the studio already had on its roster. Although newer exhibitions and events are not scheduled, a casual visit to this gallery from Monday to Friday adds to fascinating insights on the local contemporary art scene.
- Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 11:00 – 19:00, Sat 13:00 – 18:00
- Location: Jalan Raya Seminyak 34, Seminyak
- Tel: +62 (0)361 847 5766