This work was done when my soul and my mind was tired. When I wanted to flee from everything that has burdened my life. When all of myself being trapped inside my body. When all desires and wishes felt buried in a corner somewhere inside my body and as if there are so many graves growing inside me. The spirit in my life felt so faint, even though I do not wish to search it. I am inside myself, like I was at that time, sitting alone, being still. I felt that I was silent. Even I felt that I had lost all emotions: not happy but not bitter, not angry but not sad, not warm but not lonely, not cheerful but not hurt. I am inside myself, she was empty. I used one model that used to be a work, which at that time I used to talk about bodies trying to destroy the walls that are bigger and stronger than the body itself, by pounding its own head over and over.

At that time, it has been so late at night, the sound of cricket resonance with radio sound in the corner of my dusty studio. I stared for a long time at a body that seems tough without its arms and its legs pressed together, slightly curved body, a small body with muscle abstraction all over, a position ready to fly or jump somewhere. It is not clear whether it is male of female. It is only a body, a grown up body in a mature age, not clear how old but certainly not too old.

In the corner of my elbow, on the table, my mobile phone continuously receiving and sending text messages. At that time I was introduced to an “Islamic spiritual teacher” from a village in Cirebon or the remote area of Indramayu, I did not know exactly. The teacher introduced to me by one of my family member via text message. Until now I never really meet him physically – but I did not wish to find him, only through voices and short messages that he come to me. Answering question and discussing my statement. Often we debate on things related with this life. From debating technical things in performing believes till trying to dismantle faith. Our believes and faith, or more about my belief and my faith about religious function in my life. Until he could not answer anymore and he will quote a verse from the Al-Quran or the Hadith. Either to gave advice or only letting me know. If it’s already like that I tend to tease him, and he will tease me back, our text messaging become insipid. But I was not annoyed inside myself. Inside myself I feel casual, not being move with anything. Inside myself I was not bother at all. Inside myself I stay quiet undisturbed. At that time I really feel very tired, my head full, my heart heavy, my muscle tense. And like usual I found it really hard to sleep. And I did not have the wish to sleep. Not sleepy. It is like my body do not need to rest because it did not ask me either. So what was actually tiring? My body and myself did not tell me clearly. So I didn’t know, and maybe at that time I also didn’t want to know.

At that time I preferred to be in my ceramic studio. The area is around 6 x 4 meter, tiles roof, stone floors already covered clay here and there, even though it had been mopped and cleaned every day, still it felt full of dust. The wall filled with shelves, either consisting of model, mold, tools, stack of books on ceramic or rows of jars containing chemical materials for glazing purpose – basic color ceramic coating materials, or also pieces of color glaze experiment before. All of them seem dusty.

Titarubi | “I Wish I Had a River” | Ceramic | 27 cm high (each) | 2005

There is a kiln in the corner and two big gas cylinders for firing purposes. Stack of isolation bricks or wide mat piece for inside the kiln. Also big buckets containing soaked soils or mud fluid to mold the work using “fill-pour” method. Stack of clay sack that has not been process and plaster sack for molding materials. The rest were fail works or successful ones that are dusty, models, or used and new molds.

There are 3 tables: plastering table to grind or drain the soil, table to make mold full of models that are going to or not being used but still being thought for. The last table, where I always sit, positioned in the middle, is a 90 x 240 centimeters table with 80 centimeters height, which usually I always try to empty the middle part. So if I want to start something, other things would not distract my eyes.

That night after the rain, the wind blew slowly because the wall in my studio was only half closed. Half of it covered by bamboo blinds to hold the rain so it would not splashed into the studio. In the darkness of midnight creeping to the early hours, there it was, I caught the words from the radio, unclear about what song, who sang it and what was the title “… I wish I had a river …” Those word ringing in my head although the sound of the song from my radio has already changed. Yes, suddenly as if the moment agreed with the ringing sound. I wanted a river, a wide river with clear water, among the grass land and several trees, a clean open nature, only for myself, only my own, there is no one accept myself, at a bright night and sense of security. I imagined I could be naked there and swim as I please. When I jump and touch the cold water, I feel what is on my skin, my mind, my head, my heart, all over my body, my whole being. I wish I had a river… maybe all my burden can be pour through it. The river would let my burden flow away along the water that dissolved and washed away it far from myself, be gone and would never come back to me…

Titarubi | “I Wish I Had a River” | Ceramic | 27 cm high (each) | 2005


Morning approach, in one of the model I made a pair of stretching arms, longer than it should be. I wanted to stretch the burden until it got out from my body and drank everything that is free, everything that can be released, letting go the content of my rigid body, letting myself to absorb everything calmly, as calm as the light of the stars in a bright shiny night…


The other model I left it without arms, I am inside that work, wanting my body to be a lot, multiplied, uncountable, in tens or hundreds or even thousands, I did’t mind. I, my body wanting to become them, those many ones. Inside that river, them, my many bodies, wade through the river like fishes. I wanted immensity also unlimited discretion. I only wanted a river, a river of my own, that river before.