Dogmatic Desire

Thursday, May 03, 2018 - Monday, June 04, 2018
Langgeng Art Foundation, Yogyakarta
Mujahidin Nurrahman's Solo Exhibition

Exhibition Curatorial - Mujahidin Nurrahman




The latest work from Mujahidin Nurrahman show a continuation of the artistic processes from previous work. The most series of works still uses Arabesque ornaments as a camouflage motif derived from AK 47 rifles and bullets. The motifs become signifiers of war, representing the discourse of the politics of violence in religious strife, throughout human history. He chose several mediums to express his work, for instance the use of hand cut paper for ornamental work which involved high craftmanship, paintings, objects, video, photography, and later on, a tendency towards installations which still use the hand cut paper as its main medium.


In his recent exhibition, he chose a more fundamental subject, the basic instincts within every man, which he thinks always contains the desire to destroy and murder other men. Since Adam and Even appeared on Earth, and when Cain murdered Abel in envy and spite. Man began murdering each other for various personal, group or class reasons, whether it be to protect, to provide prosperity, or any other reason. Ironically, the various religions brought by God to Earth to organise a more civil society, seemingly made killing something normal. Even upon the arrival of the modern era, the amount of the murdered rose many times over due to war and ever-advancing weaponry. Not only that, the quality of the environment increasingly deteriorated during these modern times.


Mujahidin took attention to the natural desires of man, or the base instincts of man to destroy. This instinct is a behaviour pattern and reaction towards certain stimuli which is not learnt, but present since birth and is handed down phylogenetically. According to Roland Barthes, Natural Desire is a value that is culturally reconstructed continuously, even diverted towards the lives of a society, in human civilizations and cultures anywhere. Barthes thinks that nothing is truly natural, but all is shaped culturally, constructed by the power values of individuals, groups, and classes, whether on purpose or not. This is done through doctrine and canonized within certain teachings of an ideology or religion. For example, how the Nazi regime oppressed minorities in the desire to make their race more superior through systematically obliterating other races or classes, or how Soeharto and his New Order regime wiped out the Communists, and other examples.


Mujahidin’s recent work also markedly shows continuous work energy of the artist in delving into the subject matter. The use of handcut paper in exploring the subject of religious violence, war, and weapens, brings him to a deeper understanding of the Arabesque ornamental camouflage patterns. The paper material and its symbolism finally reached its nature, which is the issue of the base insticst or natural desires within each person.


(Rifky Effendy, Exhibition Curator)