the eating's on the wall

September 11, 2017

words by: Fajar Zakhri

Listen, people. Who doesn't fancy a plate of steaming, appetizing mie goreng? The Indonesian instant noodles have become something of a global phenomenon - particularly in Nigeria - inspiring new incarnationscafés, even songs.

Meanwhile, on its home turf, the dish has inspired fine arts. Hailing from Surabaya and currently based in Bali, artist Alam Taslim has concocted a series of surrealist paintings, illustrations and installations as homage to the dish. They all revolve around a character called Igor, a portmanteau for "mie goreng." 

Alam Taslim igor.jpg

Entitled "Igor: Nyaamm!!" ('nyam' being the onomatopoeia for 'yum' in Indonesian), the collection  has just launched at one of Jakarta's most interesting art spaces, Paviliun 28, in cooperation with Senimart.


"Senimart initially offered to sell my artworks on their website," Alam explained. "But I had the idea to turn it into a solo exhibition instead, and they were up for it." Cooked up in 2015, the Igor character has taken on a life of its own, having been transformed into T-shirts, bags and accessories. A small store in Ubud, Bali opened just to sell the items.


Igor has taken Alam places: he's now taken part in a host of solo and collective exhibitions, both locally and internationally: Jakarta got a taste of Igor late last year via the archIGORpelago exhibition at Galeri Indonesia Kaya.  

Aimed as a critique of the fast-paced, frenetic metropolitan life, Alam describes the exhibition as "irreverent, surreal but real" - adjectives that seem to inform the bulk of his works. "This exhibition talks about the excitement that the digital world brings and how that excitement can permeate into the 'real' world. In fact, I'd say the digital world has taken over the real world by creating new habits and cultures," he elaborates. But why instant noodles? "I used to eat Indomie a lot; so much so I became ill. That's where the Igor idea came from. It's my alter ego." 

The "Igor: Nyamm!!" exhibition is open now and will run until September 9. Check out a selection of images from the exhibition below and follow Igor's Instagram for more yummy servings.

All photos c/o Alam Taslim.