Monthly Archives: July 2019

Wayan Jana: new directions in Balinese woodcarving

In the background "Memory" 2016 - Wayan Jana. Image courtesy of TiTian Art Space   Memory, 2019 – Wayan Jana in Encounter at TiTian Art Space, Ubud

 

Balinese woodcarving has evolved during the past century with distinct stylistic developments marking its transition from the traditional genre to the modern and contemporary. Iconic figures Tjokot, Nyana, Tilem and Muja defined the landmark styles that have become the source of inspiration that many have followed.

Although minimalist adaptations to woodcarving began in Bali in the early 1930s with the influence of the Art Deco and Art Nouveau movements, the key pioneers being I Rodja and I Geremboeang from the famous woodcarving village of Mas, it was not until the mid 1950s that Ida Bagus Nyana (1912 – 1985) also from Mas, introduced minimalist carvings of the human body.

"Irama Hati (Heart Rhythm)" 2015 - Wayan Jana - Image courtesy of TiTian Art Space                     Irama Hati, 2016 (Heart Rhythm) – Wayan Jana

 

The major progressions that reveal the development of woodcarving are by I Tagelan (1902-1935) who produced an elongated composition of a woman in the mid 1920s from a long piece of wood given to him by Walter Spies who originally requested he produce two statues. I Tjokot (1886-1971) gained his reputation in the late 1920s for utilizing the timber’s natural expressive qualities and creating grotesque figures exploiting the dark side of Balinese mythology with his tough carving style.

Nyana experimented with mass, carving human characters shortening some parts of the body and lengthening others, creating plump forms with serene facial expressions. His son Ida Bagus Tilem (1936 -1993) furthered both Nyana’s and Tjokot’s innovations adopting abstract themes with philosophical or psychological content using distorted pieces of wood endowed with strong expressive powers. I Ketut Muja (1944 – 2014) made his initial statement with his interpretations of the Hindu god Hanuman, meticulously and delicately sculpting the monkey’s fur. He then went further by carving frightening figures that brought out the soul of the wood along with his own emotions and state of mind.

"Encounter" exhibition view at TiTian Art Space - Image Coutesy of TiTian Art Space                     Encounter – exhibition view at TiTian Art Space Ubud

 

The lack of attention from museums and galleries towards contemporary woodcarving recently has resulted in the genre being overshadowed by painters and others artists working in new sculptural media. Encounters, an exhibition of nine works by I Wayan Jana, open 11 May at TiTian Art Space in Ubud, reveals the wonderful potential of the medium when inspiration meets with remarkable creative ability. The emphasis of Jana’s works is upon relationships: relationships between people, relationships with mother earth and relationships with our creator.

In Encounter each of Jana’s compositions are characterized by a meeting of two people and take the form of fascinating and unusual abstractions of the pairing of two figurative forms. “Everything in this world begins with a meeting,” states Jana within the exhibition catalog. Born in Singapadu, Gianyar in 1969, Jana is the eldest son of I Ketut Muja and from a young age he apprenticed with his father and has been consistently carving ever since. In 1998, he started a new style of sculpture, devoid of the elaborate and extravagant details commonly found in the Balinese Baroque woodcarving tradition.

Balinese woodcarver Wayan Jana at work in his Gianyar Studio - Image courtesy Wayan Jana                         Wayan Jana at work at his studio in Gianyar

 

Spheres and series of protruding spikes, circular swollen shapes, jutting forms, and strange appendage-like things, hearts, heads and tails, Jana’s imagination brings to life creations that are always organic, yet at once other worldly. Nurtured and delightful outcomes of his inspirational themes that even include the Hindu gods.

Penyejuk Jiwa (Soul Oasis), 2019, 41 x 36 x 27 cm is arguably Jana’s most abstract work within Encounters, the artist’s fourth solo exhibition to date. A reclining form is propped upright by two limbs, and is highlighted by another that is pointing towards the sky. Collectively they appear as a grouping of wings or fans blades that instantly stimulate our imagination. Penyejuk Jiwa is seemingly propelled upward and may be seen ascending within the minds eye – according to Jana the composition is inspired by the peace and harmony of an adoring couple.

"Harmony" 2019 - Wayan Jana Image courtesy of TiTian Art Space                                       Harmony, 2019 – Wayan Jana

 

While the gently curving shapes of Deringan Rindu (Longing), 2019 and Gairah Dara (Virgin Lust), 2019, take the form of elongated vehicles that we may envision traversing the oceans or zooming across the skies, Sehati (Soul Mate), 2019 and Sayang Menyayangi (Compassion), 2019 take on different proportions. Both appear immediately grounding, and aesthetically calming via the soul of timber’s spiraling and flowing grains, and the sculptures bulbous, full designs.

Irama Hati (Heart Rhythm), 2015, dimensions 36 x 9 x 38cm is the artist’s oldest work. At a glance it evokes an image of the seated form of the master Balinese dancer Ketut Marya, famously known as Mario, executing the Kebyar duduk, first created and performed in 1925. One delicate raised limb suggests Mario holding a fan, an essential visual element of the dance along with his body’s dynamic rotating rhythm. Jana further explains in the catalog that his works contain three elements: (1) two spheres that symbolize male (purusa) and female (predana), (2) hearts that symbolize love and (3) teeth and fangs that symbolize good and evil deeds.

"Penyejuk Jiwa (Soul Oasis)" 2019 - Wayan Jana. Image courtesy of TiTian Art Space             Penyejuk Jiwa, 2019 (Soul Oasis) – Wayan Jana

 

“In developing these forms I have certainly gone through many creative stages,” said Jana, who received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Indonesian Institute of Art (ISI), Denpasar.  “After a number of experiments I then found the concept of ‘the meeting’ that is the origin of life and of all living things on earth.”

“What motivates me is my search for my own distinct identity and style. This idea is present in the artists who already have their own work identity. Like Tjokot, Nyana, Tilem and Muja. Each style has its own unique characteristics,” he stated, and continued. “I want to be like my predecessors, with my sculptures having their own individual characteristic, namely the Jana style.”

Deringan Rindu (Longing) 2019                      Deringan Rindu (Longing), 2019 – Wayan Jana

 

“Jana is the first contemporary wood carver that TiTian has honoured with a solo exhibition,” said the Yayasan TiTian chair of the board of advisors Soemantri Widadgo. “He has introduced a new style and a marked departure from anything before him, including his own father. I believe he has the potential to be the next recognized master of Balinese woodcarving.”

Encounter continues through  until August

Open daily 9am – 5 pm (except Mondays)

at TiTian Art Space

Jalan Bisma 86, Ubud, Gianyar, Bali

http://www.titianartspace.com

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images courtesy: TiTian Art Space & Richard Horstman

 

 

 

“BALINESE MASTERS” exhibition presents significant insights into the development of Balinese painting

"Essence of Void' 2019 - Wayan Sika, image Richard Horstman                           Essence of Void, 2019 – Wayan Sika

 

Balinese Masters: Aesthetic DNA Trajectories of Balinese Visual Art, an ongoing presentation in Bali of installations, paintings, sculptures, drawings and objects by thirty-four Balinese artists and communities has opened to the delight, as well as the scrutiny of many in the Bali and Indonesian art worlds.

The highly anticipated exhibition, open 25 May at the AB•BC (Art Bali•Bali Collection) Building, Nusa Dua, is the first of a landmark three part annual exhibition series that endevours to define the historical developement of the Balinese visual arts. The AB•BC Building, a purpose built, international standard presentation space established by BEKRAF, the Indonesian Agency of Creative Economy, was opened in October 2018 after two years of planning.

"Mother's Earth's Love" 2018 - Ketut Budiana. Image Richard Horstman                             Mother Earth’s Love, 2018 – Ketut Budiana

 

Balinese art was one of the key Indonesian cultural icons promoted to the global market during the Suharto’s government 1970s development of mass tourism. It’s unique historical and artisitic distinctions have been, however, overshadowed by its commodification which began in the 1930s during the first wave of foreign tourists to visit the island. Balinese art has remained largely unappreciated, while being maligned as tourist, ‘folk art’.

The importance of presenting an international standard exhibition to a global and local audience in Bali, explaining the distinct development and essence of Balinese art can not be overstated. The enormous task bestowed upon respected curator Rifky Effendy from Bandung, West Java, is to capture this as a type of chronological reading so it may be easily comprehended.

"Wajah Wajah Mengambang" 2019 - Made Djirna Photo Richard Horstman                    Wajah Wajan Mengambang, 2019 – Made Djirna

 

Effendy’s curatorial text states: “Through this exhibition we can highlight various aesthetic and artistic achievements of Balinese artists, both [those] who are still residing on the island and those who live outside it. It is an attempt to examine and narrate the practice of creating fine arts in Bali without subscribing to those conventional methods based on categorization, paradigm, art history, or any other ‘constraining’ means.”

An essential communative facet of this exhibition is the accompanying wall texts written by local and international academics, collectors, curators and experts presented along side some of the works explaining certain stylistic developments, along with the impact of influenual art collectives, individuals and events. The significance of studying the paintings along with reading these texts must be emphasized as a guide to help in the understanding of such an enormous and distinctive art history.

"Cili Uang Kepeng" 1995 - I Nyoman Tusan, image R. Horstman                         Cili Uang Kepeng, 1995 – Nyoman Tusan

 

One of the great challenges faced by Effendy, who has been assisted by renowned scholars, experts and artists Agung Rai, Jean Couteau, Hardiman Adiwinata, Edmondo Zanolini, I Made Aswino Aji , Satya Cipta, I Wayan Sujana Sukl and Soemantri Widagdo, was to access master artworks from the definitive 1930 – 1945 era of the influential Pitamaha artist’s collective, and earlier Classical works, from institutions and private art collections. The enormous time and energy required to do this therefore deemed it impossible to begin this three part series at the chronological start of its development. Balinese Masters: Aesthetic DNA Trajectories of Balinese Visual Art, begins its visual description from 1950.

Excellent examples of how Balinese art has evolved aesthetically post 1950s may be seen in Mother Earth’s Love, 2018 by Ketut Budiana who took Balinese painting on his own innovative path by transforming the philosphies behind the Balinese religious and folk tale narratives into a unique visual language. All forms depicted within this gold and Chinese ink on canvas composition are in a continual the process of change – transfroming from the ether into the tiniest of vapors which eventually changes into denser physical matter (Budiana’s figures) and then completes the eternal cycle and returns back into the invisible.

"Cosmic Energy" 2019 - Wayan Karja Image Richard Horstman                          Cosmic Energy, 2019 – Wayan Karja

 

The second signature style of the most critically acclaimed genre of Balinese painting – the Batuan School – is featured in the works by Made Budi and Wayan Bendi. The original style which developed in the 1930s relatively free of outside influences. It involved religious and folk tale themes and others close to the heart and mind of the people’s daily life. Often dark and frigntening, including magic, power and ritual, they were expressed in black ink tones on paper. The Miniaturist School of the 1970s was created by the artists Jata, Rajin and Murtika, Budi’s modern themes, under the influence of American photographer Leonard lueras, introduced beach scenes and surfing.

Bendi went further and introduced politics and his enormous Untitled, 2013 stretches nearly ten meters wide, a composition encompassing a universal perspective, reflecting a modern, bustling Bali with the multi ethnic and religious peoples, of tourists, and the transfromational technologies, side-by-side with scenes of traditional Bali.

"Gugusan Energi Alam Batin 6.14.4.019" 2019 - Putu Wirantawan - photo Richard Horstman       Gugusan Energi Alam Batin 6.14.4.019, 2019 – Putu Wirantawan

 

The poineer of Balinese painting within the modern western framework was I Nyoman Tusan (1933-2002) who was the first to study modern art (1945-1962) at Institute of Technology in Bandung (ITB), West Java and later in Belguim. Cili Uang Kepeng,1995 by the intellectual, lecturer and official typifies his modern approach to Balinese ritual objects. I Nyoman Gunarsa (1949 – 2017) also made important contributions to the modern expressions of Balinese icongraphy taking the static and rigid wayang figurations of the Classical paintings and transforming them into dynamic forms with his modern action style of painting. Unfortunately, his displayed works are not his strongest.

Contemporary art sensibilities mixed with Balinese philosophies, symbols and incongraphy when landmark works were made in the 1970s by the pioneers of the Sanggar Dewata Indonesia (SDI) collective – Made Wianta, Nyoman Erawan and Made Djirna, works from this era were not included, but more recent works are. A complete alternative in the exhibitions aesthetics is Djirna’s commanding installaion of more than two thousand pumice stone carved faces Wajah Wajha Mengambang, 2019 which takes observers into different experiential dimensions. Others recent artists that should be mentioned for their achievements within the development of aesthetics are Gede Mahendra Yasa and Putu Wirantawan. Gugusan Energi Alam Batin 6.14.4.019, 2019, is a fascinating and eye-catching installation of pencil and pen sketches by Wirantawan.

"Aktifas Kehidupan" 1984 Made Budi                         Aktifas Kehidupan, 1984 – Made Budi

 

Balinese painting from the Classical and the new more westernized styles that appeared in the 1930s (the Batuan, Ubud and Sanur Schools being the foremost) is characterized by its story-telling function with the aesthetic features of a graphic-drawing based style of art with the space of the canvas fully occupied with the layering of patternations. The big shift away from this that occurred has been to a modern, non-narrative, non-patterned color based abstract style of painting where abstraction represents Hindu symbolism.

The powerful and beautiful mixed media works by Wayan Sika, one an installation of nine paintings The Essence of the Void, 2019 measuring 600 x 360 cms, and the smaller No Ego, 2019, along with two magnificent pulsating compositions by Wayan Karja, both titled Cosmic Energy, 2019, are very important inclusions and highlight the important shift that has not been clearly underlined in the exhibition. The title of the exhibition may be somewhat of a misnomer, and one may wonder what is the criteria that determines how the participants have been selected, especially some of the younger artists and the art communities. Due to the vast scope of content the presentation would benefit from, upon entry, instructions on how to read the exhibition.

"School of (pre) Raphael, 2018 - Gede Mahendra Yasa Image R. Horstman                     School of (Pre) Raphael, 2018 – Gede Mahendra Yasa

 

Balinese Masters: Aesthetic DNA Trajectories of Balinese Visual Art is a beauitful presentation celebrating this fascinating art form that opens the door to the next eaggerley awaited 2020 exhibition. Continuing through until 14 July 2019, it is essential viewing for those who wish to know more.

Balinese Classical paintings by, from left Mungku Muriati, Mangku Mura, Mangku Kondra & Mangku Nyoman Kondra. Image Richard Horstman‘New’ Balinese Classical paintings by, from left Mungku Muriati, Mangku Mura & Mangku Nyoman Kondra.

 

 

Balinese Masters : Aesthetic DNA Trajectories of Balinese Visual Art

Open daily 11 AM  –  9 PM

AB•BC (Art Bali • Bali Collection) Building

Nusa Dua, Bali

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images: Richard Horstman & courtesy of HPM, Bali

 

 

 

 

 

Previewing Larasati Jakarta Auction: Pictures of Indonesia 12 May 2019

Lot 627 "Boats at Kusamba" - Affandi Image Courtesy of Larasati                                         Boats at Kusamba – Affandi

 

Sixty-two items of fine art go under the hammer from 2:30 pm Sunday 12 May in the upcoming Pictures of Indonesia auction conducted by Larasati auctioneers at the CSIS Center, Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta.

The sale offers good buying opportunities for beginner and mid level collectors, as well as the seasoned connoisseurs, with lots available in a vast array of media including works in ink on paper, an etching, a charcoal sketch on paper, pastels on paper, watercolours on paper, oil pastel on canvas, oil and acrylic paint paintings on canvas, and sculptures. Genres of art to be auctioned comprise of Indonesian and Balinese modern paintings, contemporary paintings and sculptures, and Balinese modern traditional paintings, including works from the renowned Batuan School of painting – some are pre-war works.

Lot 662 "Mengintip" - I GAK Murniashi Image Courtesy of Larasati                                      Mengintip – I Gak Murniashi

 

Some of the well-known artists whose work appear in the sale are the Indonesian modern master Affandi (1907-1990), Ida Bagus Made Togog (1913-1989) from the Balinese village of Batuan, the famed Dutch colourist of Bali Arie Smit (1919-2016), talented Dutchman Willem Gerard Hofker (1902-1981), Balinese modern master Nyoman Gunarsa (1944-2017), Nashar (1928-1994), the overlooked painter of abstract and abstraction compositions, and the Balinese painter of the unconventional Dewa Putu Mokoh (1935-2010).

For those new to collecting fine art committed research, along with getting advice is essential, while internet databases are a good source of information, especially on prices of recently auctioned works. Auctions are transparent, providing benchmark prices that serve as a guide to how much collectors should be paying. Themed sections of work define the sale, beginning with Indo European featuring lots by noted Dutch artists, and an Indonesian artist, who painted pre-1960’s in the archipelago. While four compositions depict Indonesian coastal, village and city living, Lot 61 Geiderse Kade Amsterdam by Willem Gerard Hofker is a small etching of a canal scenario in Amsterdam that has an estimated price of between Rp. 4 – 6 million.

Lot 649 "A God and many animals in a Forest" - I Griem Image Courtesy of Larasati                              A God and many animals in a Forest – I Griem

 

For new buyers wishing to build their collection, the following works, if purchased within their estimated prices, offer very good buying. Lot 607 Balinese Woman, 1995, is an oil canvas painting by the overlooked American artist and long-term Bali expatriate Symon that has an estimated price of between Rp. 5 – 7 million. Lot 650 Village Life in Bali, is a colourful acrylic on paper scenario of village activity by noted Batuan painter Ida Bagus Putu Padma that has wan estimated value of between Rp. 6 – 8 million.

Two works are from the Pre War Balinese Art & Batuan Style section in the original Batuan ‘Black & White’ style achieved with ink on paper and reflecting some of the philosophies of the critically acclaimed genre. It must be noted that the years 1930 – 1945 are considered the golden years of Balinese painting. Lot 647 A Fight in a Village by Dewa Made Koendel, is a sketch in grey and black ink on paper, 34 x 31cm with an estimated price of Rp. 13 – 18 million, and Lot 649 A God and many animals in a Forest, circa 1936, by I Griem comes with good provenance and has an estimated value of between Rp. 13 – 18 million.

Lot 620 "Pemantasan Barong" - Wayan Meja Image Courtesy of Larasati                                Pementasan Barong – Nyoman Meja

 

The following lots offer good buying as potential investments if prepared to buy and hold the works for at least 10 – 15 years. Lot 630 Setan Mbesan, 2000-2001 by an icon of Indonesian art Nasirun, is a dramatic and colourful 92 x 147cm work with an estimated price of between Rp. 30 – 40 million. Lot 637 Dilarang Melintas #1, 2010 is an oil paint and pastel depiction of a child from the economically marginalised Balinese village of Songan by Bali’s most important painter Gusti Agung Mangu Putra. The work, which comes with an estimated price of between Rp 70 – 100 million, was exhibited in his landmark 2010 exhibition “Teater Rakyat” (People Theatre), at Galeri Nasional Indonesia, Jakarta.

Lot 656 Baruna Hotel Garden and New Queen Bali Restaurant, 2009 is by Dutch painter Paul Husner and comes with an estimated value of between Rp 70 – 90 million, Lot 662 Mengintip, 2002 with an estimated price of between Rp. 20 – 30 million is by Indonesia’s most significant female artist I Gusti Kadek Murniashi (1966-2006), from Bali, whose work was highly unconventional, erotic and violent, while emphasizing an array of women’s issues.

Lot 637 "Dilarang Melintas #1" - Agung Mangu Putra Image Courtesy of Larasati                              Dilarang Melintas #1 – Agung Mangu Putra

 

Highlights of the sale, and of special interest to the connoisseurs are these following three paintings. A beautiful and incredibly detailed composition of the drama and activity of a Balinese Barong dance, Lot 620 Pementasan Barong, 1999 by Nyoman Meja has an estimated price of between Rp. 300 – 350 million. Surprise and delight fill the faces of the children in the foreground, while the background reveals a vibrant wind swept scenario. Pulsating with energy in Affandi’s signature expressionistic style, Lot 627 Boats at Kusamba, 1980, is a 98 x 128cm oil on canvas composition of fishing boats on the beach in East Bali that has an estimated price of between Rp. 1,000 – 1,300 million. This is a rare work revealing the rigor of Affandi’s power late in his career.

Having previously studied modern art in New York Ahmad Sadali (1924-1987) became a leading avant-garde artist in the Indonesian post-war art and developed a distinctive style of his art in abstract patterns that are blended with the themes of spirituality and mysticism of Islam. Lot 644 Bidang dengan Bongkah Emas, 1986 has an estimated price of between Rp. 650 – 850 million, and was purchased by the current owner directly from Sadali.

Lot 644 "Bidang dengan Bongkah Emas" - Ahmad Sadali Image Coutesy of Larasati                            Bidang dengan Bongkah Emas – Ahmad Sadali

 

Lots 638 – 642 are oil on canvas works by the Javanese painter, classical dancer and contemporary dance choreographer from Yogyakarta, Bagong Kussudiardjo (1928-2004). Lot 639 Semar, 1995 by Kussudiardjo has an estimated price of between Rp. 35 – 45 million. Other interesting Balinese paintings in the sale are Lot 615 Aktifitas di Sawah, by Ketut Gelgel, Lot 614 Di Ladang , by Ketut Kebut, Lot 619 Pementasan Calonarang, by Wayan Djudjul (1942-2008) estimated price between Rp 35 – 45 million. Other popular Indonesian artists included in the sale are Kijono, Rusli, Widyat, Jehan and Yudi Sulistyo.

Potential buyers bidding over the phone, absentee bidders or real-time Internet bidders who are unable to attend the previews days or auction are advised to contact Larasati and enquire about the colour reproduction accuracy of the images contained within the online catalogue to ensure that what they wish to purchase can be realistically appraised. The absence of reference to the condition of a lot in the catalogue description does not imply that the lot is free from faults or imperfections, therefore condition reports of the works, outlining the paintings current state and whether it has repairs or over painting, are available upon request.

Lot 647 "A Fight in a Village" Dewa Made Koendel Image Courtesy of Larasati                       A fight in a village – Dewa Made Koendel

 

Provenance, the historical data of the works previous owner/s is also important and is provided. An information guide including before the auction, during the auction and after the auction details, including conditions of business, the bidding process, payment, storage and insurance, and shipping of the work is also available. A buyer’s premium is payable by the buyer of each lot at rate of 22% of the hammer price of the lot.

Open to the public at CSIS Jakarta in Tanah Abang, the auction starts at 2:30 pm Sunday 12 May, while viewing begins from 10:30 am Saturday 11 May. The online catalogue, complete with a guide for prospective buyers is available at: www.larasati.com

Lot 619 "Pementasan Calonarang" - Wayan Djudjul Image Courtesy of Larasati                             Pementasan Barong –  Wayan Djudjul

 

Viewing:
Saturday, 11 May 2019, 10.30 am – 7.30 pm
Sunday,  12 May 2019, 10.30 am – 2 pm

Auction:
Sunday, 12 May 2019, starting at 2.30 pm

Venue:
CSIS Jakarta
Gedung Pakarti Center
Jl. Tanah Abang 3 No.23
Tanah Abang, Jakarta Pusat, Indonesia

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images: Courtesy of Larasati