An Artist’s Hopeful Vision of the Ocean

Mulyana, “Satu” (2018), mixed media; dimensions variable

LOS ANGELES — The Fisher Museum of Art at the University of Southern California has been swallowed by the sea.

The Indonesian fiber artist Mulyana has taken over the museum with colorful, hand-knitted and crocheted aquatic life. Mulyana: Modular Utopia features two room-sized installations, three-dimensional fiber wall sculptures, colorful costumes, and soft, inviting pillows.

Mulyana crafts a tactile, mystical world in which fish, whales, and coral reefs coexist with sea monsters. A multi-hued green figure made from yarn, “Adikara” (2020), emerges from a bright bed of seaweed and coral. Mulyana, pulling from Indonesian tradition, often creates masks and costumes to explore other dimensions of his personality, usually a heroic, nonhuman creature. A ruffled, yellow costume, “Si Koneng” (2022), sprouts from patches of dull gray coral, contrasting the subdued sea life with its sunny energy.

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