NFTs (non fungible tokens) are on the rise in the Indonesian art world

NFTs (non-fungible tokens), these tamper-proof digital certificates that attest to the authenticity and uniqueness of a digital object, are on the rise in the art world. More and more artists, gallery owners, collectors are creating, selling and buying them. These virtual works even reach record prices. But concretely, how do artists create virtual works of art? How are they presented on the internet and in the physical world?

With this question in mind we traveled Art Jakarta 2022, Indonesia’s main contemporary art fair, which this year gave a special place to NFT. There was a room where you could see artists in the process of creation. In front of their screens they worked, as we can see graphic designers working on specialized software. Several galleries also offered digital artwork or images with an NFT. The “physical” exposure medium of these digital images varies a bit. Here we find a screen with static images scrolling by, there a screen with a moving work.

The artist I Nyoman Masriadi

From left to right: Hero vs. Hero, 2013; Red Ax 2018, Old Master (Anger of Samuro), 2016 © I Nyoman Masriadi – Photo Agung Sukindra. Courtesy of I Nyoman Masriadi

EquatorNFT and I Nyoman Masriadi, internationally recognized Indonesian painter, offered a collection of NFTs called “Samuro’s Judgment”. They offered variations limited to 50 copies. They are now exhausted. Concretely, the artist took one of the characters from his paintings, “Samuro” and digitized it with the help of a team specialized in animation. The result is a 10 second animation in which the samurai interacts with its new owner through gaze, body movement, a speech bubble. After a few months, the buyer also obtains a background of their choice, so customization is possible, hence the idea of ​​“co-creation” between the artist, his technical team and the collector/spectator.

samoro masriadi
Launch of Samuro’s Judgement, I Nyoman Masriadi’s first NFT project, at Art Jakarta 2022 © I Nyoman Masriadi/ EquatorNFT

The characteristics of the NFT make each of its creations recognized as unique, authentic and traceable because they are associated with a unique and non-interchangeable code or digital certificate of authenticity. Still, the artist has made about fifty copies, each unique with its own blockchain code or chain of blocks. It works like photographs or serigraphs, basically like reproducible works: limited copies bearing the signature to establish the artistic and market value of the work. The NFT makes it unique and traceable. Its digital certificate indicates that it is indeed the original work of the artist. It also indicates who sold it, who bought it, for how much and when.

In addition, for those who remain skeptical or prefer a physical work, in a second step, they can buy a signed and dated print, to hang and display it. But nothing prevents the collector from contemplating or interacting with his work in the OpenSea digital space, materialized on his laptop, computer or smart TV screen. One can even imagine projecting one’s new acquisitions, as one does with works of video art.

Franco-Vietnamese artist Kongo

kongo graffiti artist
Kongo Mania, mixed media on french linen, 200 x 300 cm, 2019 © Cyril Kongo, Courtesy of D Gallerie, Jakarta

Cyril Kongo, Franco-Vietnamese artist of international renown, is a major figure in graffiti. From Paris to New York, from Hong Kong to Bali, Kongo is a cosmopolitan artist. The Paris metro, the Hermès square, the canvas or virtual art, Kongo does not hesitate to change media. His imagination, nourished by hip hop and street-art, is reflected in an aesthetic research around calligraphy and color. His paintings on canvas in bright colors exude a singular energy and sum up well the mantra he has adopted: “style and flow”. The letters intertwine and overlap, forming abstract and joyful sets.

Kongo artist NFT
“S” and “R”, NFT from Alphabets Safari series © Cyril Kongo, Courtesy of D Gallerie, Jakarta

Kongo, also curious and ready to step out of his comfort zone, has embarked on the world of NFTs. Not being a tech professional, he collaborated with a whole team to create the Safari Alphabets. In this series of 26 virtual works, each work represents a letter, a small character with the skin of a cute and colorful animal. The lucky collector then receives “vitamins”, a code that brings the letters to life. The collector thus sees his letter come to life, the hairs move.

Here is the example, certainly anecdotal, but nevertheless concrete, of two artists with two universes and completely different graphic languages, who embrace NFT with results completely consistent with their styles in form and content. Interestingly, these two artists, ready to dive into the developing world of NFTs, are already close to pop culture. Whether it’s comics and video games for I Nyoman Masriadi or graffiti for Kongo, they are ready to test the limits of art.

NFTs related to cryptocurrencies

Another aspect of NFT artworks is their equating to cryptocurrencies. An NFT, artistic or not, remains a financial asset, which can be exchanged or pledged at any time. Dematerialized, volatile and without specific territory, this market raises many questions. Indeed, legislation on NFTs is still lagging behind and conflicts over intellectual property, copyright and reproduction rights are already opposing creators, collectors and hackers. But that is changing! In Singapore in particular, an NFT has been recognized as property worth protecting and frozen in litigation. A first in this field which could create emulation in other countries, thus making this investment safer.

For further :

Cyril Kongo – Instagram: @OFFICIAL_CYRIL_KONGO @dgalleriejakarta

I Nyoman Masriadi Instagram:@nyomanmasriadi

A video to discover the artist I Nyoman Masriadi

Art Jakarta – instagram @artjakarta



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NFTs (non fungible tokens) are on the rise in the Indonesian art world


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