“I’m always asking questions — not to find “answers,” but to see where the questions lead. Dead ends sometimes? That’s fine. New directions? Interesting. Great insights? Over-ambitious. A glimpse here and there? Perfect.
So you’ll find none of the comfort of received opinion here. No claim to truth, let alone Truth (that capital T always makes me nervous). None of that astounding confidence (aka hubris) that cloaks ignorance and prejudice. The aim is to question, to explore, to keep my mind — and yours — open, raise some sparks, and see what happens.”
I was born into an intensely religious household in Indonesia and was destined to be raised on the Christian text. During my youth I practiced faithfully as a religious minority and understood our world from a Christian perspective. One biblical story tells of unified people with one language reaching too close to the heavens: they erected the great Tower of Babel. Enraged God destroyed the tower and halted their people’s tongue. In other words, God’s punishment was to destroy form and introduce language. In the 21st Century is language once again becoming more uniform? Are we again building another tower? I don’t know. I have only questions.
In this exhibition I take the ritual of text making, turning text to image and subject to object. My texts are satirical subversions and I question the conformity of the strict rules of written text in ideology. I do similarly with familiar images and iconography ubiquitously represented in our belief structures. They are perhaps – I say with doubt and questions lingering in my mind – some of my social criticisms and observations of the modern world.
After all, perhaps images are now our new language: so what does it mean for me to intersect image with language? In the story of the Tower of Babel linguistics was fractured to divide people whom dared to see the true image of God. Epochs later the Gutenberg press distributed a unified text of God to the unlearnered whom venerated religious imagery and iconography. I have doubts about the biblical and historical significance of these stories and events and I express my sentiment through works questioning the production of meaning, representation and ideology. I think meaning also comes from the process of doubting and questioning image and language.
In this exhibition I want to say to the audience that doubt is good, because I fear blind faith will kill. Please ask yourself: Is religion a political weapon and politics now a weapon for religion too? I have visceral fears to the disappearance of thought and critical spectatorship when I look at the present and recall my past. When you see my works please join me and ask yourself what are your doubts and questions? What is your attitude?
Please don’t believe anything blindly: If God is Good maybe Doubt can be Good too?
Or as Barbara Kruger puts it: BELIEF + DOUBT = SANITY.
Antonio S. Sinaga