FX Harsono (Indonesia)
The Voices Are Controlled by the Powers, 1994
Wooden masks and cloth
30 x 350 x 350 cm.
Collection of the artist
FX Harsono is an art activist. Born in 1948 in Blitar, Java,
he studied at the Jakarta Institute of the Arts, where he had
his first solo exhibition, The Social Change. He believes that
a work of art should express social problems, and frequently
addresses in his installation works the urban and environmental
issues important in Indonesia today.

The Voices are Controlled by the Powers (1994) consists of
100 traditional masks from wayang topeng mask drama to reflect
on the present socio-political situation, including the revival of
traditional forms of drama for tourists. With severed mouths,
the artist also comments upon the tight control of free speech in
Indonesia, a theme again picked up in Voice Without a Voice/Sign
(1994) where nine screen prints of sign language spell out the word
D-E-M-O-K-R-A-S-I, with the "I" represented by a hand
which is tied.