Ketemu Project Space | Murni, Diary and Art Therapy
18528
portfolio_page-template-default,single,single-portfolio_page,postid-18528,qode-quick-links-1.0,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode_grid_1300,columns-4,qode-product-single-tabs-on-bottom,qode-theme-ver-11.0,qode-theme-bridge,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.1.1,vc_responsive

Murni, Diary and Art Therapy

by Savitri Sastrawan
Category
Bits & Pieces of Murni, Savitri Sastrawan

As the Merayakan Murni exhibition has opened, opinions generated towards the artworks of Murni. Surprisingly, two male Balinese artists think her paintings are just too scary. Yet one of them sees the need of art as her therapy—Murni might not be healed, but art healed her.

 

Looking back at Ketemu Project Space’s video archives of conversations with Murni’s close circle and Murni herself, this part of argument was found.

 

The steering committee of the Merayakan Murni project, Valentine Willie, shared in the beginning that he sees Murni as someone who used “art as therapy, art as a diary, art as a retelling of a person’s history.”[1] Not only that, she picked “very iconic symbols: the scissors, the high heels, the penis.”[2] As it is known, her art practice is known to happen in the last 10 years of her life – it shows that she found a way to express her life with it.[3]


Click on image to view title. For full list of images, click here.


In an interview about Seniwati Gallery by a Spanish TV Program, Murni was one of the two prominent artists being interviewed. Here, Murni for the first time revealed to the interviewer and Mary Northmore, founder of the gallery, as well, that her father raped her in the age of 7 years old. She was ready to reveal it as she just completed a soft sculpture that tells about it:

 

I was damaged here (pointing at her head), damaged here (pointing at her heart), damaged here (pointing at her private parts)… I had a very bad trauma then. So, maybe from that event I created paintings like these. I think it just come out these erotic images… This is the tragedy of my life.[4]

 

She continued that if she did not open about it, she won’t be healed and she wants to heal herself. She finds people stating her works “it is porno, it is taboo, it is naughtiness” as good suggestions and it does not affect her.[5] As, again, she exclaimed that she paints “what happened today, what happened yesterday” – everyday events – “made simple, nothing difficult,”[6] such as Hatiku berbunga-bunga tapi kadang-kadang kedinginan (meaning: My heart is sometimes feeling very happy, but sometimes feeling cold), 2000; Mual (meaning: Heartburn), 2001; Murni Saat Itu (meaning: Murni at that moment), 2000, and surprisingly as we are discussing now, Murni di TV (meaning: Murni on TV), 2003.



Oka Rusmini, one of Murni’s close friends, stated in a conversation with Ketemu Project Space how she sees Murni as “someone who got broken hearted by her own body.”[7] Rusmini continued that Murni was a person who’s big question is “what is the function of a woman’s body? For whom?” as she was continuously hurt, especially by her own family member, thus she put her own big effort so that she could be strong.[8] Her desires of wanting a child of her own, the many traumas that she went through form being raped, taken away from her origin as she has to transmigrate with her family in a young age, had a husband that wanted a second wife that she managed to divorce – would a person think that she enjoyed these sex acts that she painted?

 

Rusmini exclaimed,

 

It seems when she paints, she reached an orgasm rather than facing a real man’s body, I would think so. She is healed not by taking medication, instead by painting. This becomes her therapy as for a fact she is a happy woman. Every painting is different… like short film collages that are very much cinematic if we imagine it in our heads… like a medium that is telling a story, like an open book… It’s not about making beautiful paintings…. It’s about painting for herself.[9]



For that, Murni’s paintings become a compiled diary of her daily events and of her art therapy. As I wrote previously in Murni and Pengosekan Style Through Mokoh, Murni stated that her painting is complete – hence, nothing more, nothing less.[10] Rusmini’s stating her paintings are like collages of short films is a convincing argument.

 

Murni fused the traditional visual language, colours and themes of Pengosekan Style – prominently known to have flora and fauna as its theme – and of Mokoh’s radical manipulation of Pengosekan style – the daily life scenes including the of humoristic and sexual relationships.[11] In a conversation with Cok Sawitri, she shared how Murni sees flora and fauna as symbols of sexual relationships as well – like butterflies, dragonflies, a ready to be harvested paddy – can be seen as vagina or penis.[12] Both Rusmini and Sawitri explained how Murni still wants to be seen as a woman. She would still be fashionable and wearing high heels until she broke it.[13] Hence her art therapy would include flora and fauna as themes with her added icons of body parts or high heels.



In the Spanish TV interview, one of the distressing events she shared about was the 11th September 2011 twin towers collapse in New York, USA. She just finished an exhibition in Spain and was going to fly to Milan, Italy, when it happened. She was very nervous and as she brought a lot of canvas, she started painting in the plane and the airport (See Kejadian 11 September, 2001). Here it can be seen how she needs to record it in order to neutralise herself from the distressing moment she is facing. Yet she did not only record distressing moments, some bendera [meaning: flag] of countries she reinterpreted it herself. In places she has been to, she had her own imaginings of how she sees herself there. What’s interesting about flags, she also painted the flag of her own country, Indonesia, showing a nationalistic awareness from herself (See Bendera Kemenanganku, 2003, and Aku Apel Bendera, 2001) and her own flag of victory after successfully getting her divorce (See Benderaku Terbang, 1995).[14] Therefore, she recorded what seemed to be almost every single happenings in her life.



Image List

    • “My Sepatu”
    • Artist: I GAK Murniasih
    • Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
    • Dimensions: 101×36 cm
    • Year: 1996

    • “Pasku Lucu”
    • Artist: I GAK Murniasih
    • Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
    • Dimensions: 25×25 cm
    • Year: 2001

    • “Bendera kemenangan”
    • Artist: I GAK Murniasih
    • Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
    • Dimensions: 71×71 cm
    • Year: 2003

    • “Hatiku berbunga bunga tapi kadang kadang kedinginan”
    • Artist: I GAK Murniasih
    • Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
    • Dimensions: 15×25 cm
    • Year: 2000

    • “Mual”
    • Artist: I GAK Murniasih
    • Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
    • Dimensions: 25×25 cm
    • Year: 2001

    • “Murni saat itu”
    • Artist: I GAK Murniasih
    • Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
    • Dimensions: 50.5×35 cm
    • Year: 2000

    • “Murni now”
    • Artist: I GAK Murniasih
    • Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
    • Dimensions: 100×100 cm
    • Year: 2003

    • “Murni di TV”
    • Artist: I GAK Murniasih
    • Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
    • Dimensions: 80×60 cm
    • Year: 2003

    • “Murni karaoke II”
    • Artist: I GAK Murniasih
    • Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
    • Dimensions: 135×91 cm
    • Year: 2002

    • “Murni hamil”
    • Artist: I GAK Murniasih
    • Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
    • Dimensions: 70×30 cm
    • Year: 1999

    • “Setelah menahan lama”
    • Artist: I GAK Murniasih
    • Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
    • Dimensions: 85×60 cm
    • Year: 1996

    • “Tolak matahari”
    • Artist: I GAK Murniasih
    • Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
    • Dimensions: 85×60 cm
    • Year: 2000

    • “Aku berjalan di tol Bali asih Sulawesi”
    • Artist: I GAK Murniasih
    • Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
    • Dimensions: 70×30 cm
    • Year: 1998

    • “Sedang action”
    • Artist: I GAK Murniasih
    • Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
    • Dimensions: 100×100 cm
    • Year: 2003

    • “Tiba tiba mengeluarkan sepotong betis”
    • Artist: I GAK Murniasih
    • Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
    • Dimensions: 20×15 cm
    • Year: 2000

    • “Tragedi 11 maret”
    • Artist: I GAK Murniasih
    • Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
    • Dimensions: 200×50 cm
    • Year: 2002

    • “Vagina besar”
    • Artist: I GAK Murniasih
    • Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
    • Dimensions: 100×60 cm
    • Year: 2003

    • “Kejadian 11september”
    • Artist: I GAK Murniasih
    • Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
    • Dimensions: 60×40 cm
    • Year: 2001

    • “Benderaku terbang”
    • Artist: I GAK Murniasih
    • Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
    • Dimensions: 50×25 cm
    • Year: 1995

    • “Murni in bangkok”
    • Artist: I GAK Murniasih
    • Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
    • Dimensions: 150×100 cm
    • Year: 2003

    • “Korea bendera”
    • Artist: I GAK Murniasih
    • Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
    • Dimensions: 45×38 cm
    • Year: 2000

    • “Aku apel bendera”
    • Artist: I GAK Murniasih
    • Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
    • Dimensions: 15×20 cm
    • Year: 2001



Bibliography

[1] Conversation with Valentine Willie, 19th November 2013, Ketemu Project Space.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Interview with Spanish TV Program, Retrieved from Edmondo Zanolini, 2013.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Conversation with Oka Rusmini, 21st September 2015, Ketemu Project Space.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Savitri Sastrawan, “Murni and Pengosekan Style Through Mokoh,” February 2016. Can be seen at: http://ketemuprojectspace.com/murni-and-pengosekan-style-through-mokoh/.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Conversation with Cok Sawitri, 17th September 2015, Ketemu Project Space

[13] Ibid.

[14] Explained in one of Murni’s archives, written on a paper placed inside an Inspirasi (inspiration) folder.