Monthly Archives: May 2017

Sutjipto Adi

'Lotuses 5', mixed media on canvas, 2009.                                         Lotus #5, 2009 – Sutjipto Adi

In 1987, thirty-year old East Javanese artist Sutjipto Adi, exhibited paintings at TIM Jakarta Cultural Center, in his second solo show. Sophisticated and highly articulate, Adi’s visionary compositions revealed an extraordinary talent that was to capture the attention of the Indonesian contemporary art world.

Combining meticulous drawing with realism painting techniques, Adi’s symbols, figures, and forms, rendered upon a framework of geometrical designs, come alive in compositions that are mysterious, and futuristic. Within his works the visual information often resonates out from one central point – distinct lines emanating from the canvas’ core – while other lines, both vertical and horizontal, create grids of triangular, fragmented portions. What appear like kaleidoscope visions are in fact perfectly balanced compositions achieved through the execution of a clever and systematic, visual formula.

Sutjipto Adi and unknown character 1987 solo exhibition TIM Jakarta                         Sutjipto Adi 1987, TIM Jakarta

Otherworldly scenarios reveal abstract forms, spherical, planet like objects, and enigmatic symbols floating within interstellar backdrops. The artist often depicts himself in various stages of life: from the embryonic, to the baby, and then the adult. Adi’s paintings are insights into the enigmatic nature of life and its place within the order of the cosmos.

“My work reflects my quest for meaning in the perfection of human life. They simply mirror life itself, while underlining the fact that there is much more going on than meets the eye,” Adi says.

Gifted with unique ability, and a powerfully inquisitive mind, Adi, who was born in 1957, was raised in a multi-religious family in Jember. His mother a follower of the Catholic faith, his father a Buddhist, while his brother a Muslim. Religion is one of the significant forces that shape the Indonesian cultural discourse, yet spirituality is the key dynamic within Adi’s life journey, and how he constructs his worldview.

Work in Progress 2017 - Sutjipto Adi                            Work in Progressive 2017 – Sutjipto Adi

“From an early age I practiced my own techniques of exercise and meditation, yet it was not a traditional style of yoga, rather a personal act that achieved strong feelings. Later I chose to bring the Buddhism doctrines into my life. Not because I believed it to be a superior religion,” to the contrary, the artist said, “I was allowed to feel a personal sense of harmony.”

After studying art at the Indonesian Fine Art School, Adi then continued on at the Indonesian Fine Art Academy (ASRI), in Yogyakarta, Central Java from 1977–1981. “In 1986 I relocated to the Island of the Gods, sensing the ‘spirit of Bali’ as a safe and fertile realm for my continued creative development, and stimulus.”

Living in Bali proved to be a perfect environment for the artists’ deep and reflective nature. His stoic work ethic balanced, while immersed within the Balinese culture, and the creative energy that island is internationally renown. In 1991 Adi’s third solo exhibition was held in Ubud. He continued to exhibit consistently in national and international group exhibitions, and with leading galleries in Jakarta.

'Lotuses 3', 2009, mixed media on canvas.                              Lotus #3, 2008 – Sutjipto Adi

Along with other artists during the 1990’s Adi was one of the forerunners of a new realism movement that was evolving within Indonesian contemporary art. Photography became a crucial part of his technique. A special part of his process, however, is to travel, experience, be still, and observe.

“Meditation not only gives us the light of insight, but also the power for expansive change,” Adi says. “By having faith in our spiritual journey we both may learn and will be provided the tools to steer us through the physical and non-physical labyrinths that encompass us all.”

A strong sense of innovation has driven Adi’s artistic development, he incorporated digital art collage, and the use of pencil in his works well prior to his fellow contemporaries. His depiction of iconic characters such as John Lennon, the Dalai Lama, and Buddhist monks as central subjects in the compositions occurred well before it became a national trend.

'Reincarnation', circa 1985, mixed media on canvas,                               Reincarnation, 1985 – Sutjipto Adi

His process of self-discovery is reflected in the changing colors Adi has utilized during his career. His work is witness to his transformation of spirit; his darker colors during his younger days reflect an unsettled conscience in the process of self-analysis. Lighter, and brighter colors mirrors the easing of internal tensions during his personal growth.

Unlike other Asian cultures, Indonesian art does not have a tradition of drawing. Lead, charcoal, pastel and colored pencils, for the past two decades, have become Adi’s exclusive mediums of choice. The technique he chooses is not only the application of line to give structure and form, rather a method influenced from photographic images, to build form via the subtle, and painstaking use of line to suggest elements of skin tone, facial and body features.

WALK TO FREEDOM 2010                        Long Walk to Freedom, 2010 – Sutjipto Adi

“Within the mind of the photographer, second-by- second, essential elements come together,” Adi says. “Composition, lighting, character, and sensitivity for the object, all fuse within an instance, to capture a special moment. ”

Photography has had an unparalleled impact on modern and contemporary realism art, as well as Sutjipto Adi’s. His drawing technique bursts into life with the inclusion of bright colors and hues from colored pencils and pastels. While the majority of Indonesian contemporary art draws it techniques and themes from outside and the West, Adi is unique within the canons of Indonesian art. If you travel abroad to see the finest museum collections of modern and contemporary art, such a technique cannot be found.

Profile - Sutjipto Adi                                             Sutjipto Adi 2010, Ubud, Bali

In his depictions of the human form Adi deliberately presents both the old and the young side-by-side; a tiny baby contrasted with an elderly monk, or his young son positioned along with himself. While its important to include the iconic figures, he too includes the other ‘heroes’ – the normal, everyday people, and the poor, who endure, and soldier on through life.

“My intention is to present these figures as archetypes of faith,” Adi says. The metaphors he conveys are an essential message about life itself.   “The youth of today’s world require good role models, fine examples of behavior, moral courage, and strength to successfully ‘navigate’ the journey of life.”

As he has matured Sutjipto Adi’s paintings have become less esoteric, and easier to read, yet always ‘speak’ of the human spirit. They are profound, and important messages of hope.

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Exotic, 93 x 64 cm, 2008                                      Exotic, 2008 – Sutjipto Adi

 

Words & Images: Richard Horstman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bali Artists’ Camp 2016 Exhibition

Made Budhiana "Badak Taman Ujung Karangasem"                Badak Taman Ujung Karangasem – Made Budhiana

Impressions of some of Bali’s most important archeological sites, the 11th century Gunung Kawi temple in Tampaksiring, and the stone reliefs at Yeh Pulu in Bedulu, along with dramatic landscapes depictions from remote East Bali, went on display at the Bali Artists’ Camp 2016 Exhibition.

Open from 8 April – May 22 at the Made Budhiana Gallery, Ubud, and featuring more than 30 paintings, sketches, and installations by local and foreign artists, the exhibition marks the fifth year of engagement between the Northern Territory of Australia and Bali, and Eastern Indonesia.

Gede Gunada "Yeh Pulu"                                       Yeh Pulu – Gede Gunada

An art and cultural engagement that began in 2012, the Bali Artists’ Camp’s vision evolves around engagement with the landscape, nature, and the rich Balinese culture. The event brings together artists from Bali and Indonesia, with their counter parts from Australia, and other foreign countries, to visit inspiring sites throughout Bali, to work on location in a visual art and cross-cultural exchange exercise.

The fruits of the 2016 Bali Artists’ Camp, themed engagement with monumental Bali, produced on separate occasions in May, June, July and September 2016 (collectively a period of seven weeks), will be displayed until 22 May. The vibrant collection includes works by renown Balinese artists Made Budhiana, along with Made Sudibia and Gede Gunada from Bali, and paintings by Freddy Sitorus, born in South Sulawesi, and East Javanese painter Nanik Suryani.

Nanik Suryani "Gunung Kawi"                                       Gunung Kawi – Nanik Suryani

The foreign artist’s contributions reflect different artistic approaches and backgrounds, Japanese artist Rie Mandala’s offerings are delicate works in ink on paper. Well-known Australian artist Michael Downs’ compositions have both surreal and abstract sensibilities, fellow countryman Ivor Cole prefers to works in oil, in his realism paintings, while Australian Mary Lou Pavlovic’s presentations are forged from an array of media, including timber and plastic, with the addition of paint and other decorative media.

Ivor Cole said of his experience, “the cultural divide between the artists is quickly wiped away. There is no separation, we are here to absorb and translate the best we can through the visual image, the emotional, spiritual state of this place and this time.”

Ivor Cole                                        Puri Prima – Ivor Cole

“The Northern Territory – Indonesia relationship has a long history of trade and cultural exchange,” said Michael Gunner, the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, who is one of the co sponsors of the event.

“For hundreds of years trade and cultural exchange flourished between the Macassans (people from present day Sulawesi and related islands) and aboriginals of the Northern Territory. Since the birth of the Republic of Indonesia, and the attainment of Self- Government for the Northern Territory in 1978, there has been an increased focus on acknowledging and strengthening our economic, cultural and social ties within the region,” Gunner adds.

Made Sudibia - "Perwujdudan Dewi Kesuburan"                                 Perwududan Dewi – Made Sudibia

“I had the honor of traveling through the lush tropical landscape with the local artists visiting spectacular temples and monuments,” Mary Lou Pavlovic said. “And I was struck by how close to nature the Balinese and Indonesian artists were, everywhere we went they knew all the fruit and medicinal herbs. I realized although I long to feel this affinity with nature, I am not from a culture that exists in the same way with nature.”

The Bali Artists’ Camp compliments the Artists’ Camp art engagement project run in alternative years by the Northern Center For Contemporary Art (NCCA) in Darwin.      “The Artists’ Camp involves Balinese and Indonesian artists traveling to the Top End of the Northern Territory and interpreting its rugged and diverse landscape, together with an artistic and cultural interaction with Aboriginal artists,” said the founder of the Made Budhiana Gallery, Australian Colin MacDonald.

Michael Downs "Gambelan Landscape"                           Gambelan Landscape – Michael Downs

“The camp started as a concept with the original Director of Museums and Art Galleries in the Northern Territory (MAGNT), Dr Colin Jack Hinton back in 1978.” MacDonald, the former Director and Chairman of the Board of MAGNT, developed the concept further when he took Balinese artist Made Budhiana to the NT to participate in the first international Artists’ Camp, along with Australian and Malaysian artists in 1990.

The vision of the ten-year program of the Artists’ Camp is that the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, the Australian Prime Minister and the Indonesian President will open a touring exhibition at the Australian National Gallery that will include the first retrospective of the Australian-Indonesian artists’ engagement.

Study for a Monument of Flowers             Study for a Monument of Flowers – May Lou Pavlovic

 

The Bali Governor, Made Pastika, who is also a supporter of the event, will visit the exhibition in early May to meet the artists, and to be presented works by the artists.

This project has had the on-going and enthusiastic support from the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Department, the Australia Indonesia Institute and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs, especially successive Australian Consul Generals.

20170414_085327                                    Batur – Gede Gunada

Made Budhiana Gallery

Villa Pandan Harum

Jl. Anak Agung Gede Rai

Banjar Abian Semal

Gang Pandan Harum

Lotonduh, Ubud

Tel: 0361 981624

Words & Images: Richard Horstman

 

Keliki Kawan Miniature Painting Exhibition: Werdi Jan Kerti Artist’s Assoc.

I Putu Adi - "Sejarah Perdaban Cina in Bali"                              Sejarah Perdaban Cina di Bali – I Putu Adi

More 60 images of the reknown Balinese modern traditional style of the Keliki School of Miniature Painting went on display, 18 April at Ubud’s Museum Puri Lukisan. The Keliki Kawan Exhibition 2017, by the Werdi Jana Kerti Artist’s Association, continues until 3 June at Ubud’s centrally located, historical museum.

Last in line in the chronology of genres of modern traditional painting, coming after the mid 1960’s Young Artist’s Style, the Keliki paintings depict on paper the plethora of Balinese imagery in the tiniest of frameworks. The art of creating miniature images, however, has a long history, having been passed down over generations and dating back as far as the 9th century.

I Made Jongko - "Panen" 2016                                              Panen –  Made Jongko

Derived from the decorated manuscripts, processed on dried leaves and known as the lontars, the information is contained on pages measuring 30cm wide by 5cm high. Still in use today, the books reveal knowledge as diverse as holy scriptures, prominent rituals, family lineages, laws, medicine, arts, architecture, calendars, literature, and even the rules for cock-fighting. A sharp writing instrument is used to score the small text and drawings.

The Keliki School of Miniature Painting began in the early 1970’s in the Keliki Kawan village, 20 minutes north of Ubud. The village nowadays is home to more than 300 artists, in a tradition where the master pupil relationship, often father and son/s, plays an essential role. Two artists, I Ketut Sana (b.1952) and I Made Astawa (b.1953) are responsible for the development of this style that over time evolved to encompass a community of artists, and helping to supplement the incomes of poor farmers through the sale of works.

Gusti Putu Sudana "Pulau Bali" 2016                                   Pulau Bali – Gusti Putu Sudana

Both Sana and Astawa were students of the grandson of Bali’s most important modern artist and architect, Gusti Nyoman Lempad (c1865-1978), while also learning from masters of another respected genre, the Batuan School. Inspired by Lempad’s line techniques and the crowded Batuan ‘signature’ style, they reduced their compositions down in size, and the Keliki miniature style was born.

In 2011 the Werdi Jana Kerti Artists Association of the Keliki Kawan village was formed in an effort to maintain and preserve the genre. Since 2013 they have exhibited annually at Museum Puri Lukisan, the exhibition being a highlight on the Ubud art calendar. The collective currently has 75 members, of which 58 participate in the current show, aged from 14-70 years, including 11 women, while 23 of the artists are under 30 years.

Gusti Putu Lasyantika "Panen" 2016 12x12cm                                    Panen – Gusti Putu Lasyantika

Panen, 2016, by Gusti Putu Lasyantika is a fine example of the miniature style. His painting fuses two compositions into one. The outer image, set on a black background, is of colorful native birds peering in on the inner scenario, while contrasting with, and framing it. The inner focal landscape, constructed in receding layers to emphasize depth of field, shows farmers harvesting rice fields. In the distance Bali’s iconic volcanic landscape is visible with the sun’s soft golden rays illuminating the afternoon sky. What’s remarkable about Lasyantika’s painting, which involved hours of painstaking attention to detail, is that all of this imagery is captured within the reduced dimensions of only 12 x 12 centimeters!

During the past decade the onslaught of modernization that has become incompatible with traditional norms, has become a popular theme among traditional painters. Deforestation and relentless urban development are depicted in Illegal Logging, 2016 by Putu Kusuma. In the foreground heavy machinery and men with chain saws destroy the landscape. In the background the city’s high-rise skyline encroaches. The focal point is the sacred Balinese tree as the foundation of the natural eco system – the tree of life.

I Gusti Putu Sudarma "Bandara Harapan" 2017 38x27cm                            Bandara Harapan – Gusti Putu Sudarma

Gusti Putu Sudarma’s Bandara Harapan, 2016, 38 x 27 cm, acrylic on paper, is also aligned with the fore mentioned theme, yet his imagery is mostly unconventional. In a scene reminiscent of Dutchman Hieronymus Bosch (c.1450 -1516), in his style that was the forerunner to the 1920’s surrealism movement, the artist depicts a composition of two opposing worlds.

The foreground is filled with colorful circus characters, both real and imagined, with an array of unusual objects, some small, while others are monumental. Various other abstract structures and forms, along with figures appearing as observers, make up the relevant visual information. A few, seemingly insignificant, traditional parasols are the only recognizable Balinese icons.

I Putu Adi -Dewi Drupadi Dilecechi Oleh Kurawa" 2015                           Dewi Drupadi Dilecechi Oleh Kurawa – Putu Adi

Rendered faintly in the distance is the Bali of yesteryear, in a lush mountainous landscape dotted with Hindu temples. In top the right side a sits a small figure raised upon a pillar in meditation, while in the top left corner two brown figures appear, one holds a flag in an apparent gesture of surrender, the other in apparent raptures of grief.

This is a fascinating and clever composition worthy of focused attention. Do Sudarma’s metaphoric symbols represent his idea of a dystopian Bali?

I Putu Kusuma - "Illegal Logging" 2016                              Illegal Logging – Putu Kusuma

 

Keliki Kawan Exhibition 2017

Open daily 9am – 5pm

Museum Puri Lukisan, Ubud

Jalan Raya, Ubud, Bali

www.museumpurilukisan.com

Words & Images: Richard Horstman