Anyone who has seen his overwhelming film Opera Jawa knows that there is a spatial and visual artist hiding in the great Indonesian film maker Nugroho. Nor is his room in the Haunted House his first spatial installation. He recently presented an installation version of Opera Jawa in Munich's Haus der Kunst.
Nugroho’s idea for the rooms emerges from his knowledge of Javan and Islamic calligraphy and the portrayals of ghosts in those cultural forms. His approach is personal, not scientific. He grew up with such texts, and with drawings, songs and tales in which ghosts play a role. Music was (and is), for example, a powerful way of exorcising ghosts.
Nugroho’s presentation is divided over two rooms. One room is a cinema room. Especially for this project, Nugroho made three short films: The Ghost Seller, The Ghost Painter and Ghost Hunting. The gamelan music that can be heard was also specially recorded for this project. In an adjoining large space, mystical Javan and Islamic texts are projected on the floor.
Both rooms are hung with photos and drawings of all kinds of customs and habits involved with ghosts. These focus on the old Javanese house in Yogyakarta where the artist grew up and that is apparently filled with ghosts.
Nugroho’s most recent film, Under the Tree, about rituals and spirits on Bali, is also being screened in this programme. (GjZ)