Krack! and the Spirit of Collectivism

The sun hasyet set. In Minggiran Square, Yogyakarta, a crowd of people can be seen spending their evening exercising. Some have chosen to savor a cup of coffee or tea at the food stalls the square's edge. Others are simply sitting around, deep in discussion over trivial matters or political issues. Light streams through wide-open windows into a room on the second floor across the square. The room is filled with stacks of paper, paint bottles, and squeegees lined up on a shelf. In that very room, Rudi Hermawan is in the process of drying a nylon screen that he has just coated with printing ink. He is preparing his personal artwork for an art event in the capital city.

Flash back to 10 years ago. In 2013, Rudi, along with Malcolm Smith and Prihatmoko Moki, initiated a studio that focused on the screen printing technique. Assisted by Sukma Smita in managerial matters, Krack! was born as a collective, studio, and screen printing gallery. They rented a two-story building at the back of a house. The ground floor, initially a garage, was transformed into a mini gallery, while the second floor was used as a screen printing studio. Krack!'s initial steps in the art world began with their First Exhibition in 2013. In that exhibition, they invited artists of various ages and created screen-printed works for each artist. A year later, they held Tanah / Impian, Krack!'s first exhibition featuring twenty of their collective works.

"Our studio started with what we had. For instance, in the studio, we used familiar methods for exposure, like using glass and light from underneath. It all started with these simple means. It begins with neither a proper studio nor the facilities of a well-established studio," Rudi elaborated the situation during the early days of Krack!. Rudi explained that Krack! operated through methods and approaches that were familiar and comfortable for him, Malcolm, and Moki. In addition to simplicity, Rudi also acknowledged that Krack! Was born out of optimism, coupled with determination, considering the lack of studios specializing in screen printing techniques in Indonesia at the time.

zoom

In terms of their artistic output, Krack! has a distinctive character despite having been created by several artists with different visual styles. Krack!'s works are predominantly characterized by pastel colors. In their artistic approach, Krack! often incorporates research and plays with graphic archives, especially advertisements from Indonesia's past, through social, political, and gender lenses. The creative process typically begins with research and archival exploration. Selected materials are then scanned and refined to meet the printing requirements. Afterward, the archive is transformed into screen-printed artworks.

In Rudi's view, working as a collective can result in artwork that is not only visually appealing but also rooted in in-depth research and makes room for ideas to flow among members. Research is considered an essential part of their creative process, ensuring accountability in their work. As a group, Krack! has grown organically. People come and go without any strict commitments. For the first four years, Krack! was run by Malcolm, Moki, Rudi, and Sukma alone. It wasn't until 2017 that some new faces joined Krack!. According to Rudi, the addition of these new members was based on their comfort and their ability to work together. With a dynamic membership system, Krack! is currently run by 15 people.

This year, Krack! received a grant from Dana Indonesiana. This encouraged the need for Krack! to establish a membership structure. The fluidity of Krack!'s membership adapted and transformed into a more structured format. This allowed them to run programs efficiently and distribute workloads effectively. This grant program is one of Krack!'s strategies, and many other collectives, to sustain and develop their creative practices. In addition to exhibitions and workshops, Krack! now initiates and expands other programs with presentations that are not solely print-based. For example, they provide training through artist residency programs for Krack!'s internal needs. One of the programs intended for the public is the initiation of print art data collection, which will be continued through other programs such as public presentations, discussions, and exhibitions.

The day grows dark. Minggiran Square sits empty and the street food vendors have closed their stalls. Rudi sets off on his bike, heading towards an art discussion event at another gallery not far from Krack!. Some Krack! members are still busy in front of their laptop screens, while others have left for other purposes. Amidst their creative work and play, amidst the practices of collective work and friendship, amidst brilliant ideas and friction, Krack! will continue to grow. As a group united not only by personal comfort but also by the spirit of fostering the dynamics of young art and collectivism, Krack! marches forward.

slide-2
slide-4
slide-3
slide-1
About the Author

Daud Sihombing

Daud Sihombing has been writing professionally for the past 9 years. This fervent alternative publishing enthusiast prefers his quaint little town over the hustle and bustle of the city and doesn't let sleep stop him from watching every single AS Roma match.