DA MAN Hot List 2012: Eko Nugroho

The tragedy of the art world is that many artists don’t become successful until after they leave this world. However, for 34-year-old Eko Nugroho, he’s in the prime of his creative career and still enjoying phenomenal success as one of the most globally celebrated and valued Indonesian artists—not only of his current generation, but of all-time.


Born in Yogyakarta and educated at the Indonesian Art Institute, Nugroho has been particularly hot this year—highlighted by a solo exhibition in New York City and as part of group exhibitions in Melbourne, Paris, Berlin and Rome.

And he doesn’t look to be cooling off any time soon with exhibitions in Adelaide and at the Louis Vuitton Island Maison in Singapore coming up in early 2012. Dabbling in everything from wall frescoes (such as those at Potato Head café) to sculptures, videos, installations and even shadow puppetry, Nugroho is a diverse artist with a plethora of talents and unique style that usually has themes of UFOs and the creatures within them. He told DA MAN that he first got into art during middle school and that he used to “tweak his toys” as a child to create new iterations of them.

He says the world and his environment are his muses: “The people I’ve met, modern society and other issues that are happening around us are my biggest inspirations.” In response to what has influenced Nugroho, he say, “I love comic books. I just love them! They have been one of my strongest influences in creating art. Life is black and white, ‘yes’ and ‘no’ is a matter of choice, ‘left’ and ‘right’ is our purpose.”


Photograph: Christina Phan