The Oriental Passion
An Exhibition by Sylvia Nugroho

6 October – 23 November 2012 – The Four Seasons Hotel Jakarta

Sylvia Nugroho lives life the way she wants. She’s one of the few that really does take life by the horns, runs with it and somehow she gets away with it. She’s also an accomplished artist working in many mediums, painting, pasting clippings, photos, objects on canvases and welding them together with acrylic, the sweat of hard work and creative process.

Sylvia has an exhibition at Four Seasons Jakarta from October 6 to November 23. And we thought we’d find out a little bit more about this extravagant bon-vivant of the Jakarta art scene and the first thing that struck me about the invitation I read the other day was this.

There is an image of three women with smug looks on their faces with eyes closed and standing behind three luxury handbags on the invitation. The name of the painting is My Hermes is Better than Yours.

What are you trying to say here?
Sylvia: I just try to capture some of the Jakarta life style, with these ladies and their bags on my canvas. I wonder why they want to have all the same look and the same bags, particularly that Birkin model, even if it is not the original. Why do we have to blend in if we can stand out with our own style?

Is there an underlying theme to the paintings in the exhibition?
Sylvia: There is not any underlying theme, but most of the works require a second or third look, to deepen into the level of details, and get some of the messages, twists and sometimes funny notes. Overall it reflects the Oriental passion, and its multiple aspects, with influences from my years traveling and living in the Orient, like Vietnam, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand.

Is there an underling theme to your life?
Sylvia: Interesting question! But it has nothing to do with my personal life, it is just the expression of my creativity, which is the main driver of my life.

How long have you been practicing art? How did it start?
Sylvia: As long as I remember, since my childhood. My background of studying interior design at Trisakti University, has certainly helped me put more structure and details into my work.

What influences have you had over the years? Do they continue the same or are they always changing?
Sylvia: Yes, as an artist my painting style is changing because life is a journey and it has influenced my works. To mark this journey, I have also added some of my earlier works in this exhibition. There is no reason to be boxed into a particular style, free spirit and artistic expression will always lead to new ways.

Your paintings are full of humour. Where does this humour come from? From within or without?
Sylvia: If people see some humour in my paintings, it is usually created from their own reflection, or sensibility to see things under a different angle.
There is no particular intention from my side, it is just some idea that crossed my mind, based on my observation, and what I feel and experience in my daily life. My friends will tell you that I am really fun …

How do you find the Jakarta art scene, a happening thing?
Sylvia: Much more should be done to create creative platforms, where exhibitions and creation mix and grow together. There are so many promising and talented artists in Indonesia, who deserve more support.

You love new experiences, right? Travelling the world, hanging out with new exciting people. Is this reflected in your work?
Sylvia: Of Course. I am always on the lookout for the unexpected beauty, and get inspired by it.

What kind of opening can we look forward to at Four Seasons?
Sylvia: Just casual, not too much protocol and formality, just relax and enjoy the art and spend a lovely evening together, exciting for all your senses.

Interview by The Beat Magazine  |
Posted on September 28th, 2012