Rhythm and Blues: ‘Irama’ by Mulyana

Artist Window at Hermès Liat Towers
By A&M

‘Irama’ by Mulyana for Hermès Liat Towers. Image by Edward Hendricks.

‘Irama’ by Mulyana for Hermès Liat Towers. Image by Edward Hendricks.

Mulyana has interpreted Hermès’ 2019 theme, ‘In Pursuit of Dreams’ for the artist window at Hermès at Liat Towers. According to the artist, dreams require momentum to realise, and this is embodied in ‘Irama’, or ‘Rhythm’, a composition using yarn for musical notes.

Born in Bandung and based in Yogyakarta, Mulyana is known for his labour-intensive hand-crocheted installations of seascapes, all homes for his alter-ego, an octopus called Mogus, which represents the artist’s wish to lend a helping “hand” to people in his community, and generally to accomplish as much as he possibly can in his lifetime.

Recent projects include ‘Sea Remembers’, an immersive installation of a vibrantly coloured panoramic underwater world at ArtJog11 in Yogyakarta in 2018 and ‘Satu’ and ‘Kosong’, sculptural installations featuring Mogus and corals in white, beige, grey and black for a solo exhibition titled ‘Multiple Hands’, in celebration of the 10th anniversary of Mogus, at Selasar Sunaryo Art Space.

The artist window is a project that has been in place since Hermès Liat Towers reopened in 2016. It is a platform for artists from around the world to create fresh work to reach out to a new audience, and for the public to discover contemporary art. Past artists from Southeast Asia who have participated are Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan with ‘Passage’ in 2017 and indieguerillas with ‘The Joybringer’ in 2018.

‘Irama’ by Mulyana for Hermès Liat Towers. Image by Edward Hendricks.

‘Irama’ by Mulyana for Hermès Liat Towers. Image by Edward Hendricks.

Hermès first became aware of Mulyana’s work at the art fair, Art Central Hong Kong within Singapore-based gallery Art Porters’ booth, and subsequently commissioned the artist to translate his work into an artist window. Mulyana started work on it in September last year, and took about two months to complete the project, together with his team of assistants. “The most pleasurable is to have a wider audience as before my works has only displayed at galleries or art fairs,” says Mulyana. “I am excited to hear feedback from the general public on my works. The significant challenge, however, was to consider the integration of Hermès products into my installation.”

‘Irama’ by Mulyana for Hermès Liat Towers. Image by Edward Hendricks.

‘Irama’ by Mulyana for Hermès Liat Towers. Image by Edward Hendricks.

In one of the window displays that make up ‘Irama’, yellow fishes are suspended against a backdrop of coral formations knitted from yarn in a riot of bright pinks, oranges, blues and greens in branches, clusters and tendrils. On closer look, the eyes pick out Hermès products, which, like hidden treasure, are nestled among Mulyana’s textured creations, forming a harmonious vignette of artisanal excellence.

‘Irama (Rhythm)’ was unveiled at Hermès Liat Towers on 25 February, and will be on display until 21 May 2019.