Boedi Widjaja / Indonesia/Singapore b.1975 / Installation view of Black—Hut, Black—Hut 2018–19 at the Queensland Art Gallery / Co-commissioned with Singapore Art Museum for APT9 and Singapore Biennale 2019 / © The artist / Photograph: Natasha Harth

Boedi Widjaja
Black—Hut, Black—Hut 2015

On Display: QAG, Gallery 5

Widjaja has a background in architecture and graphic design, and these fields influence the techniques, materials and tools of his artistic practice. His architectural installation Black—Hut, Black—Hut 2018–19 visually extends the overhang of the Gallery’s mezzanine floor with a black concrete platform. The turquoise-coloured posts that should prop up the platform stop just shy of the base footings, removing any sense of architectural support and emphasising the work’s conceptual underpinnings. These posts refer to the traditional wooden housing of Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Queensland, and their orientation to the north refers to the artist’s exploration of concepts of house, home and homeland. The underside of the installation incorporates a ‘sound column’ featuring recordings of traditional Javanese gamelan percussion instruments.

Boedi Widjaja explores the experiences of displacement, isolation and travel in his practice. Widjaja was born in Indonesia to Chinese parents; however, to avoid the racial tensions under President Suharto, he was sent to Singapore as a young boy, where he lived apart from his family. His works often refer to feelings of anxiety and estrangement that he experienced living in different houses and countries.

Contemporary context

How does Boedi Widjaja:

  • use materials, technologies or approaches to affect the audience experience?
  • employ imagery and/or display techniques to challenge aesthetic traditions?
  • provoke discussion about twenty-first-century issues and concerns?

Personal context

How does Boedi Widjaja:

  • communicate influences on his life and experiences?
  • generate ideas from his own experiences, imagination or memories?
  • create sensory experiences to generate emotional responses from the viewer?
  • connect with the viewers’ experiences and/or expectations to construct meaning?

Cultural context

How does Boedi Widjaja:

  • explore cultural traditions?
  • respond to cultural influences?
  • respond to influences of art traditions, styles and origins of time and place?

Formal context

How does Boedi Widjaja:

  • employ specific art elements and principles to communicate meaning?
  • communicate intentions using symbols, motifs or signs?
  • enhance the interpretation of the artwork through processes, materials and media?