Agung Kurniawan

b. 1968, Java, Indonesia
Lives and works in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Agung Kurniawan is one of Indonesia’s most important contemporary artists. He is an artist who works with a variety of media. Agung Kurniawan has developed his artistic work within the field of concrete socio-cultural activism; he believes an artist has more and larger social responsibilities than simply producing artistic work. His traditional medium is drawing, but lately he works actively with performance art and videography. Although he works with performance art, he refuses to be called a performer, and prefers to call himself the director of the crowds instead. Both as a studio artist and an art activist, he takes up clear positions and his approach often leads him either down to street level or to intervening in bureaucratic structures.

Agung Kurniawan’s work is reputed to be fairly coarse due to themes of violence, controversial politics and taboo subjects. The artist started out with book illustrations, drawings and comics, which offered a harsh, often satirical critique of Indonesian society at that time; His drawing ‘Happy Victim’ (1996), depicting people hanging upside down while laughing cheerfully, won a 1996 Philip Morris Art Award and gained international recognition.

His famous trellis series started in 2006. The series was inspired by an old family photo album from 1974, consisting of a photo diary of the artist’s mother during the last days of her dying father. Agung tried to recreate the personal as well as collective memories by working the panels as a kind of comic book where the trellises are the contours of the figures and the shadows cast the blurred memory.

Agung Kurniawan co-founded ‘Indonesian Visual Art Archive’ (IVAA) and is the co-owner of Kedai Kebun Forum (KKF) in Yogyakarta. His works are to be found worldwide mostly in museums such as Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam, The Netherlands), Van Abbe Museum (Eindhoven, The Netherlands), Singapore Art Museum (Singapore), as well as in private collections. Other works include his performance in The Netherlands ‘Remember Day Parade and After’, during the so-called transHISTORY (Arnhem June 2016) and his video art during the Europalia Festival 2017 (Paleis voor Schone Kunsten / BOZAR / Centre for Fine Art Brussels, Belgium).

Biography information from, June 2022

Country: Indonesia
Social Media: @agungleak
Additional Information: CV