Artist Interview: Agung Prabowo (Bandung, Indonesia)

You refer to fear, nature, shamanistic cultures, anthropology and psychoanalysis in your works. How do you think your practice benefits from such interdisciplinary references?

Fear was my drive at the beginning. While some embrace their upbringing, I began to fear that what came before me affected my behaviour towards people at the time. A strict culture and spiritual sense were gently forced onto me, unconsciously defining who I was. I’m not saying that all of it was bad, but I needed to move around those ideas to absorb which of them were mine and which weren’t. That is why imaginary characters appear in my works. Although I’m not formally educated in these interdisciplinary fields, they remind me of explorative inspiration, of where I’m from, and what I want to become in the future.

Could you expand on your preference for linocut over other printmaking techniques?

I was intrigued with relief print. It is simple, ancient and it was the first-ever printmaking technique; an example being a handprint on a cave wall. It is also in line with shamanistic preferences in my work. In the early days, I used woodcut techniques, but the only one available here in Indonesia was MDF (Multi Dense Fiber). At that time, my wife was pregnant with our first child and the dust from cutting MDF was unhealthy for us. Then I moved to linocut. The main reason for me to use linocut was to achieve a clean and sharp line in my works. Lino is easy to cut, clean, and store, especially in a high humidity area. Lino is not very common in Indonesia. The only material called Lino on the market was black, but I didn’t really like it. I compared it with Lino from Singapore and Australia, and I started to search everywhere. Then I found this brown Lino I like. It is not called Lino in the market (people here use it for making shoe soles) but it suits my needs.

How and why did you decide to create works on such a large scale?

With the limits of working with printmaking facilities in a small space, my work started out in small sizes. But I wanted to try to break the cycle by creating a modular work consisting of small-sized works, which became a bigger and much more complex work when put together. And then I found the possibility to convey my many inspirations in a bigger format when I worked on murals. It built my awareness of big spaces and surroundings. Thus began my large and complex works.

How do you think your works interpret and challenge the traditional boundaries of printmaking?

As a printmaking-based visual artist, I always challenge myself and the nature of printmaking itself. Although my work is still shown as a conventional printmaking work,  I always want to be more playful with the boundaries throughout my process. I start with one layer and then another to create complexity in my visuals, and I constantly find pleasure in these limitations.

Harvesting The Plasma Of Fear is an incredibly immersive, colourful, and thought-provoking work. What do you hope your viewers take away from it?

I hope the viewer will feel immensely full of ideas about what they can do or what other humans can with their lives. My work consists of sixty individual panels. Each panel tells a microcosmic narrative, inviting multiple interpretations of the larger work so people can be drawn to it and aspire towards hope amidst fear.