Sejarah yang Ditemu-Ciptakan
A solo exhibition by Iskandar Fauzy
Wednesday, September 14, 2022, at about ten in the evening—not long after I visited Iskandar Fauzy’s home-cum-studio in Yogyakarta—I read the Indonesian version of a book by E.H. Carr (1892–1982) titled What Is History? (2014).
On pages 11–12, I found the following statement:
“History has been called an enormous jig-saw with a lot of missing parts. But the main trouble does not consist in the lacunae (...) Our picture has been preselected and predetermined for us, not so much by accident as by people who were consciously or unconsciously imbued with a particular view and think that the facts which supported that view are worth preserving.”
In light of that, I want to talk about the black and white paintings by Iskandar Fauzy displayed in his solo exhibition titled Sejarah yang Ditemu-Ciptakan (Invented History). This is not incidental, especially when we look at the paintings made in the year 2021-2022. These paintings constitute the visualization of history, specifically, the history of real and fictional people widely known in politics, film industry, music industry, and visual arts.
“I like history or anything unique—something with historical connotations,” said Iskandar Fauzy in an interview with Anni Oates from Art World Forum published online on June 9, 2016.
Such a concept can be seen in, for instance, Should I Bring a War in Front of Your Door? (180 x 300 centimeters). Therein, Soekarno (1901–1970, the first president of the Republic of Indonesia), John F. Kennedy (1917–1963, the 35th president of the United States), Joseph Stalin (1878–1953, the prime minister of Soviet Union), and Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882–1945, the 32nd president of the United States) are pictured wearing their uniforms, together in a room with some unknown paintings and a fireplace decorated with a vessel miniature on top of it.
The world leaders looked surprised to see the “Scarface” Tony Montana—with his left hand in a sling and his right hand holding a black gun ready to fire—in front of them; as if they were amazed by the sudden appearance of a lowly thug among those who were noble and famous.