In his works, Setyawan contemplates the idea of symmetry as one of the basic underlying principles that forms the structure and order of our own physical reality. Setyawan sees the principle of symmetry as naturally present in his ceramic practice, especially in the slip casting method he is most familiar with. A method in which the surface of an object is divided methodically into several symmetrical sections to produce the molds that would make it possible to multiply the object in any number of pieces. He sees this as a logical consequence of both technical and conceptual aspects of his practice. On a spiritual level, he sees repetition through the lenses of religious art practices, for example as reflected in the Hindu or Buddhist tradition of mandalas, in which the idea of “multiple emanation” forms the core of its visual structure. He sees this as a representation of the binary position of macro and micro cosmos. In relation to this idea, our human corporeal body is also a representation of macro/micro cosmos.
Setyawan further sees that in many cultures around the world, clay, in most cases low-fired terracotta clay, has been used to represent the experience of the human corporeal body. It has been used as a metaphor for a spiritual idea of the spirit made flesh, or being materialized and existing in the world. His works are set in a domain where visual arts, basic geometry and the notion of human spirituality are intermingled and is a form of contemplation on how these ideas make up the structure of our physical surrounding. Each individual work is made of one single form composed into one module, which are multiplied to create the overall configuration. Each form is a symbolic abstraction of an object found in nature or a natural element such as a flower, flame, wings, moth, and human eye, are all usually imbued with spiritual meaning.
About the Artist
Albert Yonathan Setyawan (b. 1983, Bandung, Indonesia) graduated with a PhD in Ceramic Art from Kyoto Seika University, Kyoto, Japan in 2020 and a MFA in Ceramics from Bandung Institute of Technology, Bandung, Indonesia in 2012. His ceramic works incorporate different mediums such as drawing, video, installation and performance art. His exhibitions include: Contemporary Worlds: Indonesia at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia (2019); SUNSHOWER: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia 1980s to Now, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan (2017) and the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Kaohsiung, Taiwan (2019); TERRENE, POLA Museum Annex, Tokyo, Japan (solo, 2017). He was one of five artists exhibited in the Indonesian Pavilion with the theme Sakti, a concept taken from Indonesia’s rich cultural heritage at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013. Setyawan has undertaken artist residencies at Canberra’s Strathnairn Arts Association, Australia (2016); and The Japan Foundation at Shigaraki Ceramics Cultural Park, Shigaraki, Japan (2009). Albert Yonathan Setyawan lives and works in Tokyo, Japan.
Albert Yonathan Setyawan will be presenting his works at Mizuma Gallery.