STENSIL TANGAN

Oleh Juhari Said


Apabila berbicara tentang seni cetak, kebiasaaannya kita akan menyentuh topik yang menjurus kepada teknik. Karyawan pula akan bercerita bertapa payahnya persediaan untuk membuat seni cetakan. Dahinya berkerut rumit tatkala memikirkan peralatan dan sentiasa berwaspada dengan bahan. Perbualan akan menjadi perlahan bila memikirkan harga sebuah ‘etching press’ serta studio lengkap. Bagi golongan formalis yang agak kering nalurinya mereka mahu karyawan mengikut konvensyen antarabangsa. Mesti ikut peraturan.Mereka sering berkata, Kalau karya yang begini, ia bukan seni cetak. Ini karya karya ‘escapism’. Ini kisah romantisma yang sudah sebati untuk segelintir. Susah untuk dipisahkan bila berdiskusi tentang seni cetak dikalangan karyawan, ahli akademi, kurator dan pengumpul seni. Sebenarnya untuk memahami situasi ini agak mudah jika kita serius dan mendalami. Ilmu itu kunci segalanya. Penghayatan perlu bersifat inklusif dan jangan pula sekali-kali dikawal oleh nafsu jual beli atau bersandar kepada sifat seni cetak yang boleh diulang-ulang dan sering dianggap tidak esklusif.


Seni cetak sejak dulu lahir dari sebuah kerja dan aktiviti lazim, baik di Eropah, Jepun, China dan daerah kita Nusantara. Ia bercirikan hidup perkongsian agar semua dapat merasa dan menikmatinya. Ia tidak bersifat esklusif. Berasal dari gua Paleolithic, dapur ibu kita hinggalah pada pakaian harian, tempat ibadat dan juga gedung ilmu. Ia dicipta bertujuan menyebarkan rasa, kesenian dan juga maklumat untuk keseragaman budaya. Bukankah berkongsi itu satu tuntutan dan milik kemanusian sejati? Teknik yang digembling pula bukanlah sesuatu yang asing atau canggih, cuma ia telah melalui proses ubahsuai dan dimajukan mengikut peredaran masa yang panjang.Tetapi ia tetap berasal dan bermula dari kerendahan hidup masyarakat yang komunal dan marhaen dimana mana saja.


Foto: Dr. Pindi Setiawan

Menurut kajian karya seni gua, penggunaan teknik stensil dan finger tracings atau ‘traces digitaux’ telah pun digunakan secara meluas dalam kehidupan manusia pra sejarah. Aktiviti yang melibatkan kaum wanita dan lelaki juga kanak kanak ini menggunakan pigmen warna hematite merah, putih dan hitam. Ini adalah kerana serbuk hematite yang dihancurkan mudah dicampur cecair serta pekat dan tahan lama. Kebiasaannya stensil tangan didinding gua adalah gambar tangan kiri kerana tangan kanan digunakan untuk memegang pigmen semasa aktiviti dilakukan.Tapak lokasi stensil tangan dan lukisan gua ini begitu jauh merentas sepanjang gua gua dari Franco-Cantabria, ke Afrika, Australia dan Asia Tenggara. Perlu juga diketahui bahawa stensil tangan didinding gua ini disertai dengan cap tapak tangan, ibu jari dan disulami dengan ‘finger fluting’. Satu kajian seawal 1995 telah dilakukan oleh pakar dari Indonesia iaitu Pindi Setiawan dari Institut Teknologi Bandung, Adhi Agus Octaviana dari Puslit Arkenas dan Maxime Aubert dari Universiti Graffith, Australia. Mereka menjumpai stensil tangan di Gua Leang Timpuseng, Maros-Pangkep, Sulawesi Selatan,beserta juga penemuan di Sangkulirang-Mangkalihat, Kalimantan Timur yang berusia sekitar 40,000 tahun. Ini penemuan terbaru stensil tangan yang telah disiarkan dalam jurnal Nature edisi November 2018. Penemuan terbaru ini terbukti sudah melewati stensil gua El Castillo di Sepanyol (c.37.300 BCE) dan Chauvet- Pont-d’ Arc Cave di Peranchis (c.30,000). Selama berabad abad lamanya kajian tentang karya seni gua dunia hanya tercatit dan bermula dari sumber gua di Sepanyol dan Peranchis, tetapi setelah penemuan stensil tangan di Indonesia ini, ia akan merubah serta merungkai dan akan mempengaruhi pandangan sejarah karya seni gua yang ada sekarang.


Paling menarik disini adalah bagaimana teknik seni cetak stensil yang begitu mudah dibuat dapat mengukur semula pandangan sejarah yang tertulis serta membebaskan teori arkeologi selama ini yang menyebut bahawa gambar gambar di gua gua Nusantara dibuat oleh orang orang Astronesia sekitar 3,000 tahun dahulu. Penghuni gua Paleolitik ini juga seperti manusia moden yang mahukan pengikhtirafan bahawa mereka pernah hadir disebuah kawasan atau penempatan. Manusia moden menulis atau menconteng nama, melukis logo peribadi atau graffiti dan sebagainya didinding awam, rumah sewa, ditepi jalan atau dimana saja. Begitu juga manusia Paleolitik, Cuma bezanya mereka menjalankan aktiviti tersebut didalam gua yang dijadikan tempat perlindungan dan persinggahan. Menurut teori perdukunan atau kepercayaan anisma, stensil tangan ini merujuk kepada hubungan manusia dengan alam ghaib yang diharap akan membantu kelompok tersebut jika berlaku kesusahan. Kesenian gua langsung telah menerbitkan kefahaman bahawa seni cetak bukanlah berasal dari satu budaya yang jumud,beku dan lesu. Ia merupakan satu asas tanda manusia mentakrifkan kewujudan diri mereka dengan ‘gambar’ secara kolektif. Pada 1970, Joseph Beuys pernah berkata, “Saya akan menggunakan kenderaan fizikal yang berbentuk edisi, kerana saya mahu menyebarkan idea’’. Namun bukan itu saja, sejarah sejagat juga telah membuktikan peranan seni cetak dalam mendokumentasikan kewujudan karya-karya seni, tetapi fungsinya yang ‘reproduktif’ sering menjuruskannya kepada status yang sekunder. Mungkin tanpa disedari keegoan dan eksklusiviti manusia itu berkemungkinan berperanan menentukan situasi ini.


Adakalanya saya memikirkan karya teman saya Tisna Sanjaya, apakah stensil tubuh yang disertai dengan gerak isyarat ritual Nusantara itu merupakan sebuah jelmaan perlakuan primodial dari masa silam yang tanpa sengaja muncul ditengah-tengah gelojak rakus dan fitnah halus kemodenan? Atau mungkin juga karya karya beliau berbisik halus menyeru kita untuk pulang kepangkal jalan kehulu penempatan. Tepuklah dada tanyalah selera!


Juhari Said

Akaldiulu


Rujukan - Print/Out,20 years in print, Museum of Modern Art, New York. ; Nature Journal, November 2019


* Penulisan ini dipetik daripada Katalog pameran "Wabak: Go-Block, The Expanded Contemporary Printmaking, 10 – 28 November 2020 @ G13 Gallery, Kelana Jaya



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HAND STENCILS

By Juhari said



When discussing printmaking, we are inclined to dwell on the technicalities. Artists, on the other hand, will talk about the difficulty of making the preparations required for printmaking. Their forehead begin to crease – in deep thought over equipment and quite often being skeptical of materials. The conversation slows down to crawl, deliberating on matters such as the cost of an ‘etching press’ or equipping a studio. For the formalists who pay less credence to the instinctive, artists should adhere to international conventions. They must follow rules. The formalists often grouse that such-and-such work is not printmaking, that those who do not follow rules fall into the realm of escapism. This situation has played out all too often, a romantic tale already ingrained to the few of us who inhabit the printmaking realm. One can easily fall into such ruminations again when discussing printmaking with artists, academics, curators and art collectors. In truth, it is not a terribly difficult subject to comprehend provided of course that we are prepared to dive deep into the subject. Knowledge is key to all. Appraisal of art must be inclusive and not allow ourselves be overwhelmed by commercial gains or the common misperception that printmaking can be repeated, hence non-exclusive.


Printmaking draws its origins from oft-done and everyday activities—whether from Europe, Japan, China and even in our own region of Nusantara. Its function reflects communal life, so that all within the milieu feel and experience its ethos. It does not have an exclusive characteristic. It has its origins in Paleolithic caves, the kitchens of our mothers, the clothes we wear, our places of worship and knowledge centres. Printmaking creations aim to spread feelings, art and information for uniformity of culture. Afterall, is not the concept of sharing a genuine trait and value of humanity? The deployed techniques, in fact, is not to be perceived as foreign or sophisticated, only that it has gone through a process of refinement and development based on the passage of time. Yet, its origins and beginnings remain rooted in the humility of life in a communal society of ordinary folk found anywhere.


Based on studies of cave art, the use of stencil and finger tracing or ‘traces digitaux’ was widely prevalent in the life of pre-historic man. This activity not only involved women and men but also children using haematite pigments of red, white and black. This is because the powder from crushed haematite could be mixed into a dilute or thick solution that was long lasting. Hand stencils on the walls of caves were usually pictures of the left hand as the right hand functioned to hold the pigment. Hand stencil and cave painting can be found in the caves of Franco Cantabria to Africa, Australia and Southeast Asia. It should also be known that the hand stencils on the walls of caves were often accompanied by palm and thumb prints embroidered with ‘finger fluting’. In 1995, a study was carried out by a team of Indonesian experts comprising of Pindi Setiawan from the Technology Institute of Bandung and Adhi Agus Octaviana of Puslit Arkenas in cooperation with Maxime Aubert of the Griffith University in Australia. They discovered hand stencils in Gua Leang Timpuseng, Maros-Pangkep in South Sulawesi as well as in Sangkulirang-Mangkalihat in East Kalimantan which dates back circa 40,000 years ago. This latest discovery of hand stencils was published in the November 2018 edition of the journal ‘Nature’. These paintings predate stencils found in the EL Castillo Cave in Spain(c37.300BCE) and the Chauvet-Pont-d Arc Cave in France(C30,000). For several centuries now, studies related to cave art in the world were dated beginning from the cave paintings of Spain and France. However, the discovery of ancient hand stencil cave paintings in Indonesia is likely to change or lead to the rewriting of the current historic viewpoints of cave art.


What is very interesting here is how the technique of hand stencils, which is easily made, is being used to re-evaluate written history and debunk the prevailing archeological theory that the paintings in the caves of Nusantara were done by Austronesia man around 3,000 years ago. Paleolithic cave settlers are equally like the modern man in wanting recognition that they have been to a particular place or a settlement. The modern man writes or scribbles his name, designs personal logos or graffiti on public walls, rented premises, sidewalks and just about anywhere. This is similar to that of the Paleolithic man, with the difference being that their art was in caves which was both home and sanctuary that accorded protection. According to theories on shamanism and animism, hand stencils are a reflection of ancient man’s relationship with the unseen world through which he hopes will render him help in the event of a calamity. But cave art has directly led to the understanding that printmaking did not originate from a culture that was archaic, frozen or sluggish. It was one of the first signs of man wanting to define his existence through images in a collective manner. In 1970, Joseph Beuys a German born artist, had declared: “ I am interested in the distribution of physical vehicles in the form of editions because I am interested in spreading ideas.” Besides, universal history has proven the role of printmaking in documenting the existence of art works, but given its ‘reproductive’ function, print art works have acquired a relegated status. Possibly, without realizing it, the egoism and exclusivity of mankind may have had a role in creating this discord.


Quite often, I think about the work of my colleague, Tisna Sanjaya, and wonder if his body stencils, accompanied by the ritualistic gestures of Nusantara, are an incarnation of a primodial past which accidently emerges within the greed and subtle pretenses of modernity. Or is it that his works are gently whispering and urging us to return to our roots, to that ancient settlement of our origins. Make of it what you will!



Juhari Said

Akaldiulu

November 2020


Translated by:

Dhojee & Sumangala Pillai


* Essay taken from exhibition catalog- "Wabak: Go-Block, The Expanded Contemporary Printmaking, 10 – 28 November 2020 @ G13 Gallery, Kelana Jaya

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