Living Legacy

Deborah Iskandar, Tatler Indonesia, December 15, 2019

The Legacy of Art Collecting



An art collection is a reflection of one’s personality, and from his collection, one can tell that Deddy Kusuma is a gentleman of passion. 


Like the man he is, real estate tycoon Deddy Kusuma hosted an extravagant dinner soiree on the 31st of August of this year at his home in South Jakarta to celebrate Kusuma’s continuous support of Indonesian art. The event also served as a tribute to his extensive art collection, which Kusuma has passionately been treasuring for more than three decades.


The dinner was held as part of the VIP program of the newly structured Art Jakarta art fair that has successfully established itself as one of the hubs of contemporary art in Southeast Asia. As one of the chairmen of the Board of Patrons of Art Jakarta, Kusuma displayed more than 200 pieces of artwork from his private collection that he has steadily acquired since the early 1980's. Numerous key figures, collectors, and connoisseurs of local and international art scene were in attendance at the party. Besides the artwork, they were also entertained by traditional dance performances and musical numbers. The celebration has allowed art enthusiasts to celebrate a successful year in art with the 11th edition of Art Jakarta, as well as revelled in the legacy of Kusuma in the art world.


Deddy Kusuma's recollection of the night allowed him to express the high interest and engagement from the guests of the performances that took event during the celebration. Many gave exceptional compliments of Deddy's family performances honouring their remarkable contributions towards art and creative industries. Other performances include renowned traditional dances such as the Balinese 'Kecak' dance and more modern and contemporary dances.  "These events and performances provide a wider spectrum of spice and taste into the event, whereas just having an art exhibition at the house wouldn't complete the guests entertainment. It was a night where everyone celebrated culture and creativity, curated by our team of creative people", stated Deddy during a one to one exclusive interview where he described the celebratory evening.


On top of that, Deddy's estate was embellished with video mappings constructed by his creative team. From his garden walls to his mango trees that grow prosperously across the poolside, mapped video art were projected onto vast surfaces that decoratively enlivened the outdoor spaces. Deddy's inspiration to integrate video mapping came about through his experience of recent events and the coming of a new era of art that takes the advantage of new media. Images of Mr Deddy Kusuma and his family were projected onto his mango and banana trees and other parts of the exteriors during his welcoming speech. Part of the garden upon entering the house had its roof covered until the ground where it projected a waterfall, adding a more natural accent. Mr. Kusuma was inspired to reflect the structure and ambience of his house that is generously surrounded by trees and other flourishing plants. With the architectural structure of his domain reflected that of timeless and tranquil tropical resorts.


Known for his trademark hairstyle and oversized tinted glasses, Kusuma is a permanent fixture at various art fairs, both in Indonesia and abroad. His contribution towards the local art scene has been a fruitful one. But art collecting has become a hobby and life-long love affair for Kusuma. One can simply ascertain that the epitome of living with art is not an alternate, but it is the actual reality, upon entering his home.


Kusuma’s art collection comprises of the most prominent names in Indonesian art, including Umi Dachlan, Hendra Gunawan, Sudjojono, and Affandi among others. The contemporary art pieces that he owns also expresses himself as a man of many and great taste. From the works of Masriadi, which he first purchased in 1998, to the works of Handiwirman Saputra, Jumaldi Alfi, and Ronald Manulang, Kusuma does not only focuses on Indonesian artists. He also owns artwork by international artists, such as Chinese artist Wang Yidong, a respected member of the Beijing Academy of Painting and a trustee of the China Artist Association.


However, his collection does not stop there. Kusuma’s garden is home to a myriad of sculptures. An exquisite reclining lady by Fernando Botero lounges profoundly on the foreground by the swimming pool. She adds a whimsical feeling with the bow in her hair. The artwork is pleasantly complemented by a colossal stainless wall relief sculpture by Entang Wiharso titled Untitled Text, which is strikingly placed across the garden. The relief is inspired by traditional Javanese mysticism and ideology.


The two sculptures are accompanied by the freezing red boys by Chen Wenling. The shivering figures are placed inside the swimming pool, which adds life to them, just like animation. Walking through the garden, there are three Yani Mariani sculptural figures. They rise up like the palm trees next to them, creating an area of peace and tranquillity.


As Kusuma endures a lifelong love affair with art, he has also focused his time on promoting Indonesian art and artists to the world. His relaxed demeanour, dedication, and openness to the local art community has resulted in him being the respected man that he is today.

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