Indonesian-born, US-based artist Entang Wiharso has a multi-disciplinary practice and speaks with urgency through any cogent channel that fits his immediate need, be it painting, sculpture, video, installation or performance. A 2019 Guggenheim Fellow, he is widely regarded for his unique depictions of contemporary life that employ a dramatic visual language, creating artworks that exist in relation to the mythologies of a centuries-old animist past and the high-speed, hyper-connected lifestyle of the 21st century. From universal issues of power, loss and love to broad interests in ideology, philosophy and geography, Wiharso’s work is layered with social, political and sexual critique, revealing a complex picture of the human condition. Wiharso deploys imagery in a coded system of references and symbols that snake across the often-sprawling surfaces of canvas or industrial-grade aluminum. Wiharso’s life and works straddle two cultures. He moved to the United States in 1997, maintaining a studio in Central Java where he produces his large-scale installations. Recent work focuses on the duality of cultures and experiences in his two homelands, building on ideas that connect spirituality and transcendence with national narratives about progress and destiny through a sustained exploration of landscape and geopolitical structures.
Wiharso’s professional career was established in 1996 when he became the youngest artist to receive a solo exhibition at the National Gallery of Indonesia. He has had more than 45 solo exhibitions including at Tang Contemporary Art, Bangkok; Marc Straus, New York, NY; Mizuma Gallery, Singapore; Can’s Gallery, Jakarta; ARNDT, Berlin/Singapore; STPI — Creative Workshop & Gallery, Singapore; Bernier/Eliades, Athens, Greece; Kalamazoo Institute of Art, Kalamazoo; and Galeri Nasional Indonesia, Jakarta. Wiharso has participated in biennial exhibitions including Kunming Biennale (2018-19); Prospect.3 (2014-15), 55th Venice Biennale (2013), Prague Biennale 6 (2013), 1st Nanjing Biennale (2010); Prague Biennale 4 (2009); Second Asian Art Biennale, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (2009); Jogja Biennale X (2009); 51st Venice Biennale (2005), Second Beijing Biennale (2005) and Jakarta Biennale XIII (2005) as well as in international group exhibitions at institutions including: National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Hudson Valley Museum of Contemporary Art, Peekskill; Jeonbuk Museum, Korea; Museum MACAN, Jakarta; Museum of Modern Art, Gunma; Hilger Brotkunsthalle, Vienna; Singapore Art Museum; Singapore; Galeri Nasional Indonesia, Jakarta; Musée d’art contemporain, Lyon; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Samstag Museum of Art, Adelaide; RISD Museum, Providence; MACRO, Rome; GAMeC, Bergamo; Hangaram Art Museum, Seoul; Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai; Mead Art Museum; Amherst, Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki; MSU Museum, East Lansing; and Herbert F. Johnson Museum, Ithaca.
Solo exhibition catalogues include Never Say No: Entang Wiharso (STPI Gallery/Singapore: 2015); Entang Wiharso: Perfect Mirror (Bernier/Eliades Gallery/Athens: 2015); Entang Wiharso: Trilogy (Black Goat Studios/Yogyakarta: 2014); Crush Me: Entang Wiharso (Pearl Lam Fine Art/Shanghai: 2013); Entang Wiharso: Untold Stories (ARNDT/Berlin: 2012); Second Skin: Peeling Back the Layers (Kalamazoo Institute of Arts/Kalamazoo: 2011); Love Me or Die (Galeri Canna/Jakarta: 2010); Intoxic (Rumah Seni Yaitu/Semarang: 2007); NusaAmuk (Antena Projects/Yogyakarta: 2001); and Entang Wiharso (Bentang Budaya/Yogyakarta: 1999). Reviews and features have appeared in journals including ArtAsiaPacific, New York Times, FlashArt, Jakarta Post, White Fungus, Straits Times Singapore, Hi-Fructose Magazine, Ocula, Hyperallergic, Artling, Time Out New York, and Brooklyn Rail.
Wiharso has participated in numerous residencies around the world including at International Studio and Curatorial Program, Brooklyn, NY funded through the Pollack-Krasner Foundation; Norma Redpath Studio, University of Melbourne, Australia; Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center, NY; STPI — Creative Workshop & Gallery, Singapore; Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne, Australia; a Copeland Fellowship at Amherst College; and Vasl International Artists’ Workshop, Karachi, Pakistan. Wiharso is a recipient of a Pollock–Krasner Foundation Grant and a Ford Foundation Travel Grant as well as awards including an Art Sector Culture Award from the Governor of Yogyakarta, Indonesia; two Indonesian Art Awards, Indonesian Fine Art Foundation; and the Juror’s Award, Yogyakarta Biennial, Indonesia.
Wiharso studied painting at the Indonesian Institute of Arts in Yogyakarta, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Maintaining studios in both Indonesia and the US, his life and immediate family are bicultural, biracial and the inheritors of diverse religious and spiritual legacies.