Sedulur Gamelan/Gamelan Sisters

Sedulur Gamelan/Gamelan Sisters

Sedulur Gamelan (Gamelan Sisters) consists of two interlocking wooden structures that reconfigure elements of traditional Javanese architecture through the De Stijl philosophical principles of neoplasticism to create an abstraction of an 18th century double grand piano.

These two cases house 56 traditional Gamelan instruments from Yogyakarta that have been automated to function as a self-governing electro-mechanical orchestra, performing musical transcriptions of drawings by American artist Robert Smithson.

The work examines parallels and intersections between ancient Javanese mystical systems, the musical structures that traditionally articulated these, and the derivations and misconstruals of colonial European & post-colonial American visitors.

Visitors can select works to be performed by pressing the gilded triangles on the hexagonal console, which references Smithson’s 1968 sculpture Gyrostasis.

Slave Pianos, Sedulur Gamelan/Gamelan Sisters, Work (Bibliography)

National Gallery of Victoria. Melbourne Now [Exhibition Guide]. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2013. Published for the exhibition Melbourne Now, NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne, and The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Federation Square, 22 November 2013 – 23 March 2014.

National Gallery of Victoria. Melbourne Now [Exhibition Catalogue]. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2013. With essays by Max Delany, Fleur Watson, Isobel Crombie, Nikos Papastergiadis, Maggie Finch, Judith Ryan, Simon Maidment and Jane Devery.

Slave Pianos, Sedulur Gamelan/Gamelan Sisters, Work (Credits)

  1. Wayang studio photographs: Edwin ‘Dolly’ Roseno