Abenk Alter
December 14, 2018 - January 27, 2019

RUCI Art Space presents the very first solo of Abenk Alter, INTERPLAY. Curated by Mia Maria
Open for public starting 7 pm – 12 am

Challenging the limitation of common ideals and external validation, Abenk Alter explores the drives and the impulses between dualities. Exploring the in between interaction of public persona and self, style and character, external and internal, between the real and the apparent.
Well aware of social structures and expectations that are shaping his external identities, he responded by letting loose in automatism through his drawings. An artist and musician, in this solo presentation, Abenk will present his paintings, drawings, installation, sound, his process and findings.

The exhibition runs until 27 January 2019
Open daily Mon – Sun | 11 am – 7 pm

Ruci Art Space
Jalan Suryo #49

Abenk Alter’s Artist Statement – INTERPLAY

Validation is crucial, for its presence creates an external identity. In the context of art making, the external identity of an artist and his works are often identified as certain styles, shapes, or colors.

An artist must never be a prisoner. Prisoner? An artist should never be a prisoner of self, prisoner of style, prisoner of success, prisoner of success, etc. -Henri Matisse

The technical approach and process of the works in this exhibition came about from my awareness to explore my own characteristics  that comes from within, from a genuine self,  that may define my internal identity. It is also an attempt for self-liberation from a pattern of art-making thinking that only meets external expectations and validation where it is often unwittingly limit the space for my freedom of expressions.
In visual context, I found those characters in my daily process of drawings. Simple, enough with just the colors black and white; letting it flow without pre-determination of certain shapes, colors or styles. This is something that I always take for granted and has never been seriously explored before. Subconsciously I always assumed that drawing on paper and painting on canvas are two separate approaches with totally different processes. By returning to a simpler process of drawing, the exploration actually becomes unlimited.

Because simple may also means limitless.

This process led me to the discussion of of duality, a topic that were reflected and responded by the work – between validity and identity, duality that exists within oneself and outside oneself, duality associated with simple things such as choices in everyday life, or matters that are more complex such as the struggle of the ego and the real self. Realization that everything that exists has its own duality, which is contradictory but also complements one another, where without one of them there will be no balance. Like a coin that has two opposite sides.

On this occasion, it was also right to re-introduce myself ‘naked’ without accessories.  In black and white.

Press Release

RUCI Art Space presents INTERPLAY first solo exhibition by Abenk Alter, curated by Mia Maria. The opening of the exhibition will be held on Friday, December 14th 2018 from 7 pm – 12 am and the exhibition will run until January 27th 2019 open daily for public from 11 am – 7 pm.


Abenk Alter is an interesting new species in Indonesian Urban Pop scene.

Unattached to formalities of art schools, his approach was raw, spontaneous, somewhat naïve, accompanied with intellectual and extreme awareness.

Like some of his similar peers in Jakarta urban pop scene, he put his artworks first in public eyes before falling into the wheel of arts ecosystem.

A musician and a public persona, he is well aware of social structures and expectations that are shaping his external identities. Looking for a solid ground for character ingenuity, he craved to challenge the limitation of common ideals and external validation.

What seems to be a very personal and sentimental topic in his art making is actually a social assessment; cultural critique to the culture of ‘show, speed and compete’. His process is a deliberate introspection to social interdependence in this age of anxiety.

“We Searched for the fundamental art that would, we thought, save mankind from the furious folly of these times” – Jean Arp, Dadaland.

The absurdity of current metropolitan trend that glorifies image making and the urban influencers generation highlights the importance to review such social construction and its impact to mental balance.

His learning on Sufism and his own observation drove Abenk to see this from the perspective of dualities. Not from differentiation of mind over matter, but from the in between interaction of two sides of the coin; external and internal, between the real and the apparent, cause and effect, yin and yang. Abenk is looking into the interplay between dualities that brings everything to a state of oneness, ingenuity, a strong sense of inner strength.

He responded by letting loose in a method of automatism, deliberating choosing the color black and white for his drawings.

He begins drawing without planning on what he is about to show. He let his lines free, following it as it comes. His seems to be deconstructed figure doesn’t come from an act of deconstructing, but an act of continuing what is there. Fallen obliviously into a practice of automatism, the Surrealists’ practice where one draw and paint freely and automatically, emerging subconscious thoughts and images onto the paper.

Looking very much oneiric, dream-like, his drawings are full of his personal symbols; hearts, eyes, birds, sea creatures, robots, plants, fire, etc.; images of what he defined as multidimensional beings, beings that are both immanent and transcendent, coming from within and beyond our understanding of the universe.

In Sufism, this may refer to beings that have gone through the path of Seven Circle of Ascent and the Five Circles of Descent, the stages to reach the perfection of the soul by apprehension of unity of beings. This path is concluded when one have reach the understanding of oneness between the internal and external.[1]

By apprehension of interplays of dualities, one may arrive at non-dualism.




What I Think:What I feel,


Memahami Pola – Understanding Pattern

His intertwining lines of drawing are untangling perplexities and complexities of human relation, of human relations and matter and dialogue within the mind. Observing around his personal relationships as well as social and political relationships.

He is the kind to contemplate, get excited, doubted, questioned, concluded, and it goes around and around again. His act of questioning himself is what keeps him creating. His eagerness to find and to conclude is his motivation to make art. He keeps on exploring his medium, his drawing, collage, canvas, music, and materials around him such as fabric, metal, lights and sound.

Up to the point of this writing finished, Abenk’s process is continued on, and probably for the next years to come, for a lifetime, on to reaching the absolute of being, finding answers for contemporary follies.


[1] Yakubovych, Mykhaylo M. A Neglected Ottoman Sufi Treatise from 16th Century Mawâhib al-Rahman fi bayan Marâtib al Akwân by Ibrâhim al-Qirîmî.