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The Fire Eaters

Embroidered emblems, fiberglass legs and faces, iron construction (inside the cloak), bamboo


Concept for the exhibition at Espace Louis Vuitton Asian mythologies are, in my opinion, all based on power struggles and balance. Stories like the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, as well as local Indonesian mythologies, teach us lessons about the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ and how those extremes keep each other in balance. The Javanese philosophy shows us, for example, through the characters in the shadow plays and traditional dance performances, the conviction that there is a ‘good’ element in the ‘bad’ character and visa versa.

Related to history, through the centuries up to recent times, I look at the world as a compilation of fragile societies that, like wrestlers, struggle to maintain a balance in order not to go into war. My work, The Fire-Eaters, is about physical strength and the irrevocable human behavior for fighting, as well as for balance. The emblems are embroideries that I copied from packages of several kinds of local herbal medicines for male potency. The fiberglass legs and bamboo sticks create both the tension and the balance.
Collection: National Gallery, Jakarta