S.E.A. Focus returns for its 5th edition from
Friday 6 Jan - Sunday 15 Jan 2023

Last thing in the morning

Ruth Marbun

Medium: Acrylic on canvas, charcoal, foam
Size of work: 114.5 x 114.5 x 6 cm

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In her search for a community, Ruth Marbun’s works explore mankind’s ability to connect with each other, whether emotionally, spiritually or intellectually. Her practice attempts to capture these connections, observing and highlighting the unspoken, undervalued and mostly forgotten elements from the mundanity of life. She traces a connection between life’s phenomena, no matter how small, and looks at it as a ‘butterfly effect’ – an unending chain reaction where one event impacts the next, and so on.

Marbun’s works tell the story of the human condition: our perseverance and adaptability, our strengths and vulnerabilities, and our collective tribulations and moments of joy. As she emphasizes the individual human experience, she looks at imperfections as strength, marks of honesty and an acceptance of one’s flaws. This manifests as abstract figurative paintings that are irregularly shaped and produced, and compositions that do not fully cover initial sketch marks or mistakes. Her paintings thus reflect the layers of memories, decisions and risks involved in each work’s creation, finding comfort in disproportion.

About the Artist

(b.1985, Indonesia) Ruth Marbun is a visual artist based in Jakarta. She studied and worked in the Singapore fashion industry before starting her art practice unexpectedly, as she decided to go back to Indonesia in 2012. The search for a community back home eventually led her to the contemporary art scene in Jakarta. Her work captures emotions and reflects them in the form of questions and/or a sense of discomfort. Most of all, she values individual experiences as a significant infrastructure at the core of society. She features imperfections as strength through her works and emphasises humanity’s perseverance and adaptability. As she has lived most of her life in big cities, people and imaginary creatures have always been a part of her memory's landscape. She visualises and deconstructs figures through her use of paint, layers of fabric, unapologetic sewing and sometimes printmaking.

She has exhibited her work through several exhibitions in Jakarta, Jogjakarta, Melbourne and Sydney, including solo exhibitions such as *Terms & conditions apply, with Clear Gallery Tokyo at Art Jakarta 2018, Prologue: Image Not Found, at Jogja Contemporary, Yogyakarta, 2017,and Waktu Tak Pandai Berbohong at Suar Artspace, Jakarta, 2015.