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SoChic Stories

Aloft at Hermès presents “Some Other Matter” by Irfan Hendrian

Paper is one of the simplest, conventional, versatile, efficient and most applicable material. Who knows what future lies ahead for it? I believe that it won’t simply be abandoned completely. Like its usage in history, paper has served us in many ways, some in ways that were beyond our imagination, and it will continue to do so
Irfan Hendrian

How did you develop this fascination for paper?

When I was studying visual communication design at LASALLE College of the Arts, I completed a semester without the aid of computers. I began using paper cut-outs for interactive poster designs, and since then I have kept learning and polishing the craft of bookbinding, packaging and printmaking.

I much prefer to experiment with physical materials than sit all day making graphics on my computer. When I came home to Bandung, I began practising industrial printing and my perception on paper changed. You can feel the weight, volume and how these heavy machines process the material.

The whole experience made me think about the essence of paper and until now, I am still fascinated with exploring and finding new information on how to process paper.

What did you like most about creating this exhibition with Aloft at Hermès?

For Some Other Matter, I enjoyed the process of gathering research and getting to know my neighbourhood and the city better.
Most of the paper mill today have a well-managed forest certificate and most of the paper in the market are made from recycled paper.
Designers and artists have a responsibility to maximize the efficiency of the material and production, giving intrinsic value so people do not throw away the product.

For the corrugated steel panels, I collected some publication that were kept by my family, friends and neighbours, I think they kept the publication for so long because there is value they want to share with others in the future.

As there is no commercial pressure from the gallery, I can experiment with other materials and new contexts of visual design as well.

What are your art influences?

I think that genre is a trap in contemporary art.
Today, we have the freedom to pick the best art representations from our history and apply it in current context.
I believe I have multiple influences in my practice; Bauhaus and Mono Ha, Jane Lee’s view of how she breaks down a painting by its material, and Diana Shpungin on object empathy.

Which piece in Some Other Matter was the most challenging to create?

Composing the brick book and the mass production method it entailed is a new process for my art practice.
In total there are 1,500 books and each book consists of 1,700 pages.
There were complications during the process that involved many parties, as well as technical and financial risks.
It turns out there is no machine that can bind in that thickness of the book.

I have always enjoyed the bookmaking process. However, I usually do it for other people so I did not feel the full pressure at first.
It is one of the longest ones to make because I need to look for weeds in abandoned sites, rush to take pictures in the same night in the studio and prepare the pre-press together with my printer.

Aloft at Hermès

One of the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès five art spaces around the world, Aloft is a platform for contemporary artists to explore new expressive forms and to bring their creative dream to life through original works created in situ. Each year, two artists are invited to interpret an annual exhibition theme that engages the public in an ongoing dialogue exploring key issues and new perspectives. Additionally, in keeping with the Fondation’s overarching commitment for its worldwide exhibition spaces, Aloft will continually showcase and support French artists internationally.

Inhabiting the upper floor of the Hermès flagship store, Aloft takes over the baton from Third Floor – Hermès. This new chapter reaffirms our vision of offering the community a unique space at the heart of Orchard Road to encounter and fall in love with art.

French Shopping, Dining & Lifestyle guide in Singapore