Mohamad ‘Ucup’ Yusuf “Catching Javanese Eyes” 8/ ART GALLERY/ Tomio Koyama Gallery June 22 – July 18, 2016

Drama of equality 2015 offset ink on mdf carvings 88.0 x 122.0 cm ©Mohamad ‘Ucup’ Yusuf

Mohamad ‘Ucup’ Yusuf “Catching Javanese Eyes”
8/ ART GALLERY/ Tomio Koyama Gallery, Shibuya Hikarie 8F
June 22 – July 18, 2016
Venue hours : 11am – 8pm
Open everyday during exhibitions
Free Admissions

Opening reception: Wednesday, June 22, 6pm – 8pm *The artist will be present

For more information, please visit the following link.


Mohamad Yusuf is an artist from the East Java province of Indonesia. He observes sociopolitical issues and natures with his unique perspective, and gets his inspiration for his art works. In recent years, much of his practice has taken its theme as the characteristics quality of his local land.
This exhibition will present sculptural works and new drawings depicting women enrobed in the traditional wedding clothes of the artist’s hometown of Java. The Java people have been adopting the foreign cultures throughout their long history, while continuously preserving the mentality of ‘Kejawen’- an ethic of native Javanist. The characteristic make up and the detail-oriented garments of Javanese weddings are filled with unique symbols of ‘Kejawen’, and the artist depicted this meticulously so that we may perceive the wisdom and philosophy behind.
Meanwhile, Yusuf has had misgivings about the nature of the traditional ceremonies and rituals inherited by Javanese people today: they have become simply over-formalized while the philosophy and the ethic of their toots have been forgotten. These brides at first glance appear happy, dressed up in vivid attire – but their eyes are painted a jet black, and we cannot interpret their emotions from their facial expressions. Within these mysterious eyes exists the mystery of all things that are impossible to explain within the bounds of reason; yet at the same time, they also bear a sense of the empty void which sometimes strikes us unexpectedly – a feeling of doubt shared by all those who live in our contemporary world. In this exhibition, Yusuf both expresses the respect he feels towards the notion of ‘Kejawen’, whilst inviting viewers to question their own affiliated cultures and deeply-held psychological beliefs.


Mohammad ‘Ucup’ Yusuf was born in 1975 in the East Java province, and now lives in the city of Yogyakarta in Indonesia. In 1988, he was a founding member of the Taring Padi artist-activist group, which emerged from student anti-establishment activities in the later years of the Suharto political administration. Yusuf’s work was exhibited in the 2013 exhibition ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ at the Yokohama Museum of Art (later traveling to the Contemporary Art Museum Kumamoto). His work is held in the collections of the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, the Singapore Art Museum and the Queensland Art Gallery (Brisbane, Australia) among others. This is his second solo exhibition at Tomio Koyama Gallery, following his show at Tomio Koyama Gallery Singapore in 2015.