Thinking in Critical Constellations: art criticism practice and its condition in Indonesia, Philippines, and Japan
Whilst the number of art spaces, exhibitions, spectacles, festivals, and events have risen, the practice of art criticism never seems to join the artistic glory. On the contrary, it is deemed to be an irrelevant matter at best, or to be a dying breed at worse. This concern about the efficacy or the relevance of art criticism practice, however, seems to resonate only the Western art world where the practice of art criticism is blessed with a time-honoured written tradition and art historiography. However, for many countries in Asia, art criticism and critical reflection seems to be vaguely located or not at all, imbalanced with art production. An understanding of the conditions of art criticism in each country-- cultural/political conditions, philosophical background, educational system, etc.--could help us blaze a trail through the thick fog of history, cultural baggage and milieu. These conditions could be considered either a resource or a handicap to grow a critical thinking about art. This research is neither particularly searching for a conventional or established platform of art criticism nor an art criticism in thrall to a culture of exclusivity glorifying arcane unintelligibility while disdaining impact and audience. But rather, it is aimed to observe broadly and learn openly (even idiosyncratically) in which condition would allow a critical thinking function with/through/in art, and in which practice that allows art to be a dynamic platform of critical dialogues/questions for the public.