About Dion Wicaksono
Hi. I'm Dion. Your trusted agent. I like music, drinking beers, reading books and writing stuffs.
Susanna Perini is the person behind Biasa Clothing Line and the infamous Biasa Art Space. “Biasa” means “normal” or “ordinary” in Bahasa. The brand she established in 1994, however, is anything but.
Many other clothing lines in Bali have “borrowed” Biasa’s cutting edge, tropical-style fashion. That explains how popular the brand is.
Susanna Perini prefers to refer herself not as a designer or artist, but rather an alchemist who always experimenting: with fashion, art and everything in between and beyond. One of such experiment was when she decided to construct a building in Seminyak, back in 2002. The Biasa HQ is only a few meters away from the new building, so the idea of using it as a shop would be an overkill. She was absolutely clueless about what to do with the new building. At about the same time, her interest to contemporary arts has only just begun. And that’s how Biasa Art Space was born; out of cluelessness.
Many Indonesian contemporary artists have held their exhibition there: one of Perini’s favorite artists, the infamous Ugo Untoro (Poem Of Blood), Angki Purbandono from Mes 56 (and the rest of Mes 56′s boys), Arya Pandjalu, Agus Suwage, Made Wianta etc. It’s safe to say that to young and emerging Indonesian contemporary artists she is a Fairy Godmother-like figure when it comes to promoting contemporary arts.The names I just mentioned are not exactly, well, young, (with all due respect, gentlemen), but you get my idea, right? “Her passion for contemporary arts is enormous. She probably is the only one who can comprehend and accept any “crazy ideas” to be exhibited in her gallery,” said Indonesian curator, Enin Supriyanto. The relationship is a mutual one, though. Biasa Art Space has also received so many good-rep for exhibiting their “crazy” exhibitions.
Speaking of which, I always enjoy the opening of exhibition at Biasa Art Space: the free-flowing wine, the interesting new people, the artworks and uh… ehm… the cleavages? (evil grin). Susi Johnston seems to agree with me in the latter.
Yeah, well, back to the topic. Perini is born and bred in Rome, Italy. As the daughter of Mariella Ami, one Italian designer who introduced ready-to-wear fashion concept in the 50s, it’s only a matter of time before she followed her mom’s footsteps. Yet she said in an interview that to be a designer wasn’t her dream. She always wanted to study art, an idea that her mom opposed. Spending much time in her mom’s workshop in Rome has its effect, however. It gave her a sharp sense to the beauty of fashion, the details of design, and the quality of fabrics, all of which are well-represented in a la Biasa fashion.
As a person, Susanna Perini is as much a socialite in Bali social life as she is in fashion and art scene. She can be found among honorary guests at various Bali traditional ceremonies. A gesture that shows the depth of her relation with Bali and its culture. Whatever she has taken from Bali, she has paid it all in full.
When all the glamor, the limelight and the mundane living that often accompany a person with great business acumen are set aside, what’s left? In her case it’s a humble Buddhist individual; a single parent with her two daughters, Nova and Sayang. The Star tattoo she made on her wrist when she was 16, allegedly just to piss-off her mom, is but a reminder for me that you can always reach for the star while deeply rooted to the ground.