Year: August - September 2021

Sukma Smita, Rudi Hermawan, 
UltraSuperNew Gallery, Ashley Erianah

Words by Tulika Ahuja

Services: Curation, Writing

Krack! are a collective of like-minded individuals, fluctuating between 7 to 10 artists since their establishment in 2013. When I ask Sukma, Krack’s studio manager for a group picture, she hesitates and sends one across WhatsApp, telling me no picture they’ve taken is complete with all group members.

L - R (top): Rudi (Lampung) Hermawan, Prihatmoko Moki, Fachriza Ansyari, unknown, Malcom Smith, Rjo Rahardjo
L - R (bottom): Sukma Smita, unknown
Taken at Krack! gallery, Yogyakarta, date unknown

Based in Jogja, Indonesia, Krack! creates approachable work that is a product of the combined knowledge of their members. Their projects involve a process of research, illustration and printmaking, with alternative ways of looking. Their ideas are brought to life via screen printing as the primary medium, while occasionally employing video.

Krack’s works and workshops have been spotted in China, Italy, Singapore, Sydney and more commonly, in Indonesia. 

I first met Krack! through Rudi in 2019 on a trip to Bali. We were both participants in an art and accessibility residency program (thanks Ketemu Project!), where we interacted with local artists of different abilities. Rudi shared how he works independently and collaboratively since starting Krack!, which was his and Malcolm's brainchild eight years ago. 

I went to visit Krack! Studio in Jogja later that year. Through their body of work, I got introduced to their love for the country and its people, while noticing their unique ability to poke fun at themselves.

The COVID-19 climate of isolation, digitisation and debilitating mental health was reason enough to invite the Kracks to respond to our absurd times. I wanted to include their views as part of a group exhibition of Southeast Asian artists, to also illustrate our connection across borders despite having varied personal experiences -- both in the context of the pandemic and attitudes to life, in general.

Krack! devised a theme of Adakalanya Intelligence (A.I.), which precisely captures their understanding of the ‘Third World’ intelligence they encounter in their daily life in Indonesia. The series is presented as a life hack manual in 6 frames each, telling a story of coping with the everyday using occasional logic. It was born out of a self-awareness of their reality, plus a disbelief in top-down cookie cutter modernization agendas, such as the push towards automation and artificial intelligence.

The resulting series of eight, 2-coloured silkscreen prints offer insights into the psyche and DIY logic of a modern-day Indonesian. These prints are an archive of solution-driven attitudes so specific to Indonesia, that they transport those familiar with the country to light-hearted encounters on the streets. Krack’s take on surviving the modern day is grounded, thoughtful and delivered with humor.

Adakalanya Intelligence (A.I.) draws power back to the common man, which has become a fleeting feeling not just in contemporary Indonesia, but in many other nations claiming modernisation as a key to development.

Get to know their process via the video interview above.

Purchase a limited edition print here.