This year, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has opened its doors and reserves to Ari Bayuaji. In collaboration with the Conseil des arts de Montreal, the museum put out a call for their Impressions residency: a cross-disciplinary research-creation program. Bayuaji, an artist working in both Bali and Montreal, was chosen amongst the many applications.
Born in Indonesia, Bayuaji studied Fine Arts at Concordia University. I got the chance to ask him a few questions about his work, and what he has in store for the next few weeks.
Cassandra: In order to give our readers a taste of your artistic practice, how would you describe the focus of your work in one or two sentences?
Ari Bayuaji: I believe that nothing comes from nowhere. As human beings, we are inspired by everything around us whether the objects we see in our daily life, our memories from the past and even the people who have touched our heart. As with the artwork that I have been creating, I am personally inspired by that which is around me.
Cassandra: How has your practice evolved over the years?
Ari Bayuaji: Collecting found objects and taking photos of places where I live and work, or where I visit has been a great influence in my creative process. As a contemporary artist, it is my satisfaction to give my voice to respond some of the contemporary problems in our society. I think that the more mature I am as a person, the more effectively I can deliver the message trough my artworks.
“I will challenge myself artistically to create some works that fall between art and design, within the context of art history.”
Cassandra: In your biography, it says that you often work between Montreal and Bali. Is your work influenced by these two cities in different ways? How so?
Ari Bayuaji: Yes, definitely. Working between Bali in Montreal has given me the opportunity to appreciate more of the good qualities of each place and also to tolerate more of the weaknesses. That thought is a big source of my creative process. It not only helps me to understand the art material I can use for my work from both places, but it also gives me some good concepts behind the work I create, based on each place’s contemporary challenges.
Cassandra: How has the collaboration between yourself, the MMFA and the CAM developed over the first few weeks of your residency?
Ari Bayuaji: The museum has given me access to visit the exhibitions, the library, and the archive centre anytime during the working hours on weekdays. I have to do some research work during my 6-week residency at the museum. The research work is needed to feed me with knowledge and build on my creative process for my art project, that I’m going to complete at my studio later on.
Cassandra: Is there a certain piece or exhibit at the MMFA that you find particularly inspiring to your work or aesthetic?
Ari Bayuaji: I really am interested by the big ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ installation on the third floor of the new pavilion at the MMFA. It’s interesting because the idea of cabinets of curiosities has been forgotten these days, with Internet and travelling cultures. There are not many exotic or mysterious objects anymore these days. I want to work with that theme for my project.
Cassandra: What project is in the works for the Impressions residency?
Ari Bayuaji: I want to create an experiment with a contrasting style of design objects, all the while engaging dialogue about art, design, and architectural contexts. I will challenge myself artistically to create some works that fall between art and design, within the context of art history.
Bayuaji began his residency on January 9 and will work with the MMFA until February 17. You can check out more of Bayuaji’s work here.