“KEPO” is an abbreviation for Knowing Every Particular Object, so this exhibition is loosely translated as: I (am trying to) know every particular object (about) You. “KEPO” has been widely used as a slang by Indonesian youngsters, when one is “too curious” of a particular thing, especially concerning someone else’s (private) life.
In this digital technology era, it is relatively easy to know about someone else’s life, you can even know their private details that they probably would not feel the comfort to tell you directly because you are not really their ‘friend’. But do not worry, even companies now look up on the internet about their future employees. After all, what you put online is practically for the ‘public’ to see.
I am actually one of those people who often look up on other people’s lives through the social media. Not only because it is fun (sometimes I found it like reading a plot of a drama series), but also because it helps me to be less awkward when I meet them in real life. For example, it would be so awkward to ask a ‘friend’ about how their boyfriend/girlfriend’s doing when it turned out that they had already broken up. Or even worse, to ask about their parent who actually had just passed away recently.
For most people, this activity is considered as ‘stalking’, but for me, it is a mere research. After all, I can see a trend on people’s behaviour and their views (on politics, religion, etc) and it can be an interesting discussion topic. I remember that I once wrote on my facebook wall this following sentence: People say I’m a Facebook stalker, I say I’m a people observer.
So when I read about this exhibition online, I was intrigued – the title was so.. me 😀
Even my friend Rara thought that the exhibition’s title was so Oxalis. haha.
As I read the catalogue, the exhibition is generally viewed as a celebration of curiosity. How an artist explores their environment and expresses their perspectives on their piece of artwork. Curiosity is an initial and crucial step for artists to start their artistic process. It is also a way to keep their existence as artists. From curiosity they will start a research, and from the research they respond through their arts.
This exhibition was done by two artists – Vyo Rizqy Ramadhan and Imam T. Santoso – both students of Indonesian Institute of the Arts in Yogyakarta.
Unfortunately, the theme is so vaguely interpreted to the artworks. I needed to read the whole catalogue through to understand how they conveyed ‘KEPO’ness to their artworks. Imam’s works were about his inner curiosity, how he represented his childhood curiosity phase, wanting to know what happened to himself, his changing physique, and how to cope with the world around him.
Vyo on the other hand, responded the act of curiosity from what he had seen – represented in the paintings of women. According to the catalogue, people nowadays are not only curious about someone else’s business, but also ‘asked’ others to be curious about them. In his paintings you could see how the internet broke down private walls, and women could be seen in their private spaces like bathrooms and bedrooms.
When I visited the I AM Gallery (which looked pretty small from the outside but turned out to be very spacious once you walked in), I met the young artists and had a very nice afternoon chat. We swapped catalogues and quench our curiosities.