The art of collage: Gatot Pujiarto’s ’Stitching Stories’ at Pearl Lam, HK

The art of collage: Gatot Pujiarto’s ’Stitching Stories’ at Pearl Lam, HK

When Pearl Lam opened her second Hong Kong gallery on the edge of Sheung Wan and Sai Ying Pun last year, she promised to deliver a new platform for emerging artists and designers from around the region. Since then we’ve seen an eclectic collection of local Hong Kong street artists, sculptural works by beekeeper Ren Ri, and a host of other innovative community art projects.

The latest showcase pays tribute to the art of collage with ten extraordinary works by the Indonesian artist Gatot Pujiarto (b. 1970), who embellishes his painted canvases with scraps salvaged from discarded clothing and paper torn from old magazines to create highly intricate tapestry-like forms.

‘It is about telling or "stitching" stories about the world around me,’ explains the Malang-based artist, who originally trained as a painter but who says collage adds a more emotional dimension to his personal commentary on society.

Here, Playboy shows a man who enjoys flirting despite the negative impact it has on others, while Pretender represents a well-known public figure under extreme pressure to display a perfect image without any sign of flaws or weaknesses.

The standout piece, however, is the hauntingly ethereal Meditation, a 200 x 150 cm canvas with a ghostly image that the artist admits is his own reflection inspired by a vision he experienced while meditating. The large-scale simple white stitches create the impression of a figure dissolving into the dark background as a symbolic harmonisation of self with the world.

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