Tisna Sanjaya

b. 1958, Bandung, Indonesia
Lives and works in Bandung, Indonesia

Tisna Sanjaya studied etching and lithography at the Bandung Technology Institute, from which he graduated in 1986, at a time of political and social unrest. For Tisna, art gains its greatest legitimacy through a direct connection with the life of the people and a fearless exposure of injustice, and he has become identified with an important group of activist artists using installation and performance in their work, including Dadang Christanto, Moelyono, and others. Since that time he has become known for his powerful paintings, etchings and activist performance art, often bearing witness to the challenges facing Indonesia’s villages, their natural environment and their way of life.

In the mid 1990s Tisna studied at the Braunschweig University of Art in Germany. During this time his sense of isolation increased his sensitivity to questions of cultural identity, while at the same time he became familiar with and inspired by the work of early activist artists such as Kathe Kollwitz. In recent years Tisna has worked across media, including theatre, video and television, and implemented interactive projects with villagers from different provinces of Indonesia, focussing on the process of interaction as an integral element of the art.

In his new multimedia and performance work, ‘Neo Mooi Indie’, Tisna makes ironic reference to the ‘Mooi Indie’ (beautiful Indies) landscape tradition of Dutch colonial painting, to create a powerful, unsettling work incorporating an imitation of a painting in the colonial style into a nightmarish scene of mutant figures seeming to emerge out of a poisoned landscape. In the performance element of the work, Tisna references his love of football and its connection with the now disappearing wide open spaces of his childhood, inviting the audience to wear football uniforms representing village teams that Tisna himself supports, but which have been dipped in the polluted waters of the river that flows through this area. As Tisna puts it: ‘It is ironic that now the river has been poisoned and the football field where the ‘Batu Rengat Football Team’ used to play has been reduced to a wasteland. This is Neo Mooi Indie…’

He has been with Sin Sin Fine Art since 2008.

Country: Indonesia
Additional Information: CV