One of Indonesia’s most revered artists, Agus Suwage (b. 1959) is known for his self-representation in a variety of forms that probe questions about Indonesian society, culture, religion in critical yet humourous and ironic ways. The self-portraits he presents are an interplay between the reflection of the Self, and the contrivance about the Self, as he relies on the camera to record a variety of his poses and facial expressions, before transforming these visual records into paintings and drawings. Though he has continually returned to this genre over his illustrious career, these personal works also investigate and reveal the artist’s stance about the various socio-political issues surrounding him and the roles of artistic practice in society. As Agus himself once stated, “in order to be critical toward others, I opt to first be critical toward myself”.
Agus was born in Purworejo, Central Java, Indonesia and trained in graphic design at the Bandung Institute of Technology. One of the most important and internationally active contemporary artists in Indonesia, he has been featured in over 200 exhibitions worldwide over his three decade long career.
He has participated in numerous international biennials, including the Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (1996), Gwangju Bienniale (2000), Singapore Bienniale (2006), Jogja Biennale (2007, 2013), and Prospect New Orleans (2014-15), amongst others. Recent institutional exhibitions include: Sights and Sounds, Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio, USA (2018); SUNSHOWER: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia 1980s to Now, Mori Art Museum, National Art Center, Tokyo, Japan (2017); Manifesto V: Arus, National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta (2016); After Utopia: Revisiting the Ideal in Asian Contemporary Art, Singapore Art Museum (2015); Panorama: Recent Art from Contemporary Asia, Singapore Art Museum (2012); Beyond the East, Macro Museum, Rome, Italy (2011); Beyond the Self, National Portrait Gallery, Australia (2011). In 2009, Jogja National Museum, Indonesia presented Still Crazy After All These Years, a retrospective dedicated to the artist on the occasion of his 50th birthday.