Since the 1990s, Agus Suwage has been a keen observer of events and trends that surround him, translating these effortlessly from the realm of experience to that of the visual. Whether he is manipulating his own body and face in expressive poster-like designs or appropriating recognised figures of 20th Century, each work is imbued with an intimate quality through the portrayal of its subject. In spite of featuring the artist himself, Agus avoids any biographical reading by stressing the connection between the self and universal experience. In other words, his self portraits reveal a fragmented self that has no choice but to exist in the network of social relations. "In my opinion, identity is not so much an important influence...it is more or less indirect because I express things through symbolism and layering. Nothing is homogeneous and no ornament refers directly to such issues." - Agus Suwage, 2011
Born 1959 in Purworejo, Central Java, Suwage studied graphic design in the Faculty of Fine Arts and Design at Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) in West Java. Agus was artist in residence in 1996 at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia and the Museum of Modern Art in Saitama, Japan from 1999 to 2000. In 2003 he took part in the Brito International Artists Workshops in Dhaka, Bangladesh and was artist in residence at Singapore Tyler Print Institute in 2009. He now lives and works in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
Suwage's work has been exhibited widely in Europe, Southeast Asia and Australia, including solo exhibitions at Nadi Gallery, Jakarta (2012); Tyler Rollins Fine Art, New York (2011); Singapore Tyler Print Institute (2009); Jogja National Museum, Indonesia (2009) accompanied by the artist's monograph, Still Crazy After All These Years (2010); Avanthay Contemporary Gallery, Switzerland (2008) and Nadi Gallery, Indonesia (2007). In 2011 his works featured in group exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra (2011); National Unversity of Singapore Museum (2010), Shanghai Contemporary Art (2007 and 2008); the CP Open Biennale, Jakarta (2003 and 2005) and the Gwangju Biennial (2000). In 1996, his painting was among the ten best in the Philip Morris Indonesia Art Awards coinciding with the publication of This Room of Mine, an artist's book.
Work by the artist is held in major museums and private collections, including the Singapore Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo and the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum.