Installation view of the Great Wallpaper series. Photo courtesy of Cemeti Art House/Sari Handayani.

When I returned, she was still drawing. On the wall. Why, I asked her. Because it is a wall, she said. But why, I asked again. Because a wall is a construct that stands between this space, where we are, and the next, where they are. I didn’t get it. So I told her, I don’t get it. She smiled. Skipping away from the wall, she was careful enough not to spill the light blue liquid in the cocktail glass that she was holding in her left hand all along. She looked at the wall carefully, as though to make sense of it. To make sense of her drawing, I suppose.

It was a big tall wall. And on it, a big tall drawing. Bluish. Vague. In her right hand was not a straw; it was a brush, its bristles wet. A mosquito flew by my ear and, reflexively, I slapped my own face. I woke up. I didn’t sleep well last night.

So why, I asked again, are you drawing on the wall. She skipped back in, with her cocktail glass, brush and all. Why do people scribble on toilet doors, she asked me back. Why graffiti, she asked me again. Why do dogs pee on lampposts. Why was Kilroy here, there and everywhere. Why do you sign letters. Why do you label things. Why do we define. And why do you want to know why. The mosquito landed on her cheek, her nose only an inch away from my face now, and I, reflexively, slapped her.

I woke up. I didn’t sleep well last night. On my palm the remaining of the mosquito, and a speck of blood: mine or hers? So why do you have to know why, she asked again. Because, I said, I don’t get it. I just don’t get it. Still not, she asked. Still not, I said, but I still really want to know why. Well, she said. It really doesn’t matter. Just enjoy it. And from that moment on, as though rescued by the baptism, I do.

At the end of the exhibition, she punched a window onto that very wall, right at the middle of her bluish drawing on that very wall, a drawing of the world according to the mapmakers. She then cut that rectangular hole that was the window into small pieces, and sold them away. I framed mine as a reminder of nothings.