Category Archives: Contemporary Asian Art

Images of Bali fuse with Old Masters paintings to create landmark pictorials

AFTER THE HARVEST small                              After the Harvest, 2019 – Joel Singer

 

“I approach every magical day here in Bali with gratitude and wonder. Gratitude for having the joyful privilege of living on the gorgeous rice fields north of Ubud,” says Canadian avant-garde filmmaker and photographer Joel Singer who first visited Bali in 1979 and has lived here for the past decade.

“I usually awaken with the sunrise and have an early morning walk with my dogs out on the stunning terrain of the Campuhan Ridge,” he continues. “I’m always photographing daily life around me and images continually coalesce in my mind – likely and unlikely juxtapositions.”

Bali Turner small                               Bali Turner, 2019 – Joel Singer

 

“About seven years ago I was struck with a blast of realization while watching the golden evening light on the ripening rice fields,” explains Singer whom since the mid-1980s has experimented with cut and paste photographic collages. (long before the advent of Photoshop, the popular digital image manipulation computer program)

“I was then vividly reminded of some of the “Hudson River School” paintings, (the mid-19th-century American art movement of landscape painters influenced by Romanticism) and later during the rice harvest I was reminded of some of Breugel’s work.” (Pieter Breugel (1525 –1569) was the most significant artist of Flemish Renaissance painting who pioneered large compositions depicting landscapes and peasant scenes).

Bali Caravaggio (or the Feast of the Cockfight) - Joel Singer 2019             Bali Carrivagio (or the Feast of the Cockfight), 2019  – Joel Singer

 

“Then with the magic of Photoshop, I began to work with some of the images of the Old Masters paintings combining them with images of Balinese daily life. It seemed like an inevitable fit and I’ve continued to explore this merging ever since into creations I termed many years ago “PHOTAGES” describing my process of photo – collage – montage.”

Singer’s series “When the Old Masters Visited Bali” pays homage to the master European painters. In “Bali of Gold” multiple images of musicians and dancers are married with an abstract background of swirling energy and colour made famous by the iconic English landscape painter JMW Turner.

Bali Van Gough Revisited, 2018 - Joel Singer                    Bali Van Gogh Revisited, 2018 – Joel Singer

 

While in “Bali Caravaggio (or the Feast of the Cockfight)” he fuses two disparate worlds – gesticulating audience action images from a Balinese cockfight layered upon a composition by Caravaggio where men are sitting at a table engaged in animated discussion prior to a chicken feast. Darkness contrasts with light, emphasizing Balinese Hindu philosophies, and of course the visual technical prowess of the Renaissance maestro. Another composition features the smiling face of Mona Lisa on the surface of a flooded rice field that is reflecting the morning light, her raised finger points to the shining sun. Singer delicately fuses humour with natural beauty creating a heart-warming composition.

Humour again comes to the fore in his pairing of dancers from Matisse’s famous “Dance 1” with the frightening demonic creatures that star in the Balinese Ogoh-ogoh parade, together frolicking hand-in-hand in a circular romp. Other compositions are meetings of the Balinese landscape with rural and cultural activities that are either immediately arresting, or simply gracious and eternally beautiful.

UNDER THE VOLCANO small                        Under the Volcano, 2018 – Joel Singer

 

“When I ‘go to play’ up in my loft in my house overlooking the rice fields I try to surprise myself. To give vision to my dreams and the spirits which inhabit this place. I trust my intuition when approaching a ‘blank canvas’ and now, after 50 years, my ‘editing’ skills learned through filmmaking and skills of the juxtaposition of sometimes unlikely images are more finely honed with every passing year,” he says of his creative process. “I refer to my work as ‘images of elsewhere’. I play with time and sequencing, creating ‘eye music’. There is something about the timelessness of experiencing archetypal rural life, the rhythms of the planting and harvesting seasons suggest a blending of aesthetics.”

Monet Temple copy                                 Monet Temple, 2019 – Joel Singer

 

Born in Montreal, Canada in 1948 aged 12 Singer discovered the fascination of image-making. Later in college, he majored in fine arts and encountered the magic of film and cinema. He then yearned to participate in the great renaissance in avant-garde cinema stirring in the U.S.A. A film history class taught by the poet/filmmaker James Broughton (1913 – 1999) at the San Francisco Art Institute in 1974 then changed his life. During the 70s and 80s Singer showed his avant-garde films around the world while collaborating with his, then life partner Broughton, many of their films were collected by institutions including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the German Filmmuseum in Frankfurt and the Austrian Filmmuseum in Vienna.

TRIPTYCH small signed copy                                     Triptych, 2018 – Joel Singer

 

Singer gives us insights into the natural rhythms of life via his fresh and fantastic windows into the extraordinarily diverse visual and cultural, multi-dimensional worlds of Bali. “I’m not interested in the slightest in ‘reality’, it’s HIGHLY overrated,” Singer states.  “My desire is to make the invisible somehow visible through the magic of creating another ‘separate reality’. Through my work, I hope to bring some beauty into this very troubled world.”

A selection of Singer’s pictures is currently on display at the Tony Raka Art Gallery, in Mas, Ubud.

Mona Lisa and the rising sun. 2019 Joel Singer                           Mona Lisa and the Rising Sun, 2019 – Joel Singer

 

 

 

Words: Richard Horstman

 

 

Posthumous tribute to Balinese artist Sukari a highlight of Jogja Art Weeks

"Dialog" 2005 - Nyoman Sukari, 150 x 250cm, oil on canvas. Image Richard Horstman                                   Dialog, 2000 – Nyoman Sukari

 

Balinese Hindu ritual is a fascinating and potent fundamental of a distinct traditional culture that, through its philosophies seeks to embrace a universal sense of harmony between all people, the environment and the divine. It incorporates a belief system that places equal emphasis on both the physical and non-physical aspects of the world and the dualistic nature of life.

In the compelling finale to the opening ceremony of Trajectory: Posthumous Solo Exhibition of I Nyoman Sukari, 26 July 2019 at Taman Budaya Yogyakarta (TBY), Yogyakarta, a display of ceremonial ritual set a unique and electrifying atmosphere that continued throughout the evening. Ni Nyoman Aryaningsih, the widow of the late and renowned painter, accompanied by a gamelan ensemble and a traditional flute, sang the Bramara Ngisep Sari mantra. In this sacred practice, that included a special dance performance by Aryaningsih and family members, the presentation of offerings and incense, Sukari’s spirit was called to return from the heavens to the earthly plane in order to witness the exhibition.

Audience at TBY during Sukari opening - Image Richard HorstmanThe audience at TBY during the opening of Trajectory: Posthumous Solo Exhibition of I Nyoman Sukari.

 

One hundred and thirty-eight of Sukari’s works, 50 oil paintings, 13 pen drawings on canvas, 29 watercolour and acrylics on paper, 35 pencil sketches on paper and 11 mixed media works on carton from the private collections of Dr Oei Hong Djien, Lin Che Wei, and Aryaningsih went on display at TBY. This monumental and practically designed presentation, which included a timeline of significant data and photos set over 50 meters of wall space, took Sarasvati Art Management three years to organize. It is held in conjunction with Jogja Art Weeks (JAW) – a two-month-long program of exhibitions and events conducted throughout Central Java in support of Indonesia’s leading contemporary art festival ArtJog MMXIX Common Space, open 24 July – 24 August at Jogja National Museum.

Beginning from his school days SMSR (1986-1990) until his final years of creativity in 2009, the collaboration between Sarasvati Art Management, OHD Museum, the Sanggar Dewata Indonesia (SDI) art collective, and Aryaningsih, features works spanning Sukari’s entire, award-winning career. It is set out chronologically from his school years to art college at the Indonesian Art Institute (ISI) Yogyakarta, the art collective Spirit ‘90 era, his career peak in 2002 – 2003, his solo exhibition in Gajah Gallery Singapore, and then the final stages of his career in 2008 – 2009.

Nyoman Sukari self portrait in ink on paper circa? Image Richard Horstman                        Self-portrait, ink on paper by Nyoman Sukari

 

Symbolically layered with meaning, and loaded with atmospheric energy, Sukari’s paintings are a meeting point between the sekala and niskala – the physical and non-physical worlds according to the Balinese philosophies. Curated by Suwarno Wisetrotomo and Gede Arya Sucitra, lecturers at ISI Yogyakarta, where Sukari was an outstanding student, Trajectory highlights the three defining creative periods of his career.

“In considering and understanding the creativity and philosophy in Sukari’s paintings it is necessary to know who he was, where he came from, and what his social-cultural environment was. What his cultural experience was, why he painted, and what he painted,” writes Arya Sucitra in the exhibition catalogue. The seventh of nine children, born 6 July 1968 in the remote village of Ngis, Manggis, Karangasem, East Bali, Sukari grew up to become accomplished in traditional music playing gamelan, and the suling flute, as well as dancing, singing. Traditional Balinese wisdom and values were the foundations of how he lived his life within his family, community, and artistic contexts.

Sukari Saat Melukis                       Nyoman Sukari at work in his Yogyakarta studio

 

“Sukari created works that departed from the traditional arts of his forefathers with a ‘new’ technical approach – expressionism, freeing himself from the details, yet still being able to place the mystical atmosphere within his works,” continues Arya Sucitra. “Working in Yogya, where he lived and studied from 1991 – 1995, gave him the opportunity to reread and explore the space between tradition and modernity, between the old and the new, and between those who were close to the niskala.”

A character of many contradictions Sukari had the distinction of having a sold out show at the Spirit ‘90 exhibition at Purna Budaya Yogyakarta when he was a student at ISI Yogyakarta. In a rare artistic journey, at the beginning of his career his works were priced highly, then at the end of his career, due to lack of market popularity, his works were priced low. A visionary and versatile artist, along with being a crucial art provocateur, and art community leader, during the exhibitions of the collective Spirit ‘90 in 1994 & 1995 Sukari’s paintings were partly responsible for the Indonesian art market boom beginning at the campus level. The artist chose to, however, distance himself from the chaos of the boom that continued on until 2000. At times he refused to sell his works to art collectors.

"Orang Gila" 2000 - Nyoman Sukari, 150 x 200 cm, oil on cnvas. Image Richard Horstman                               Orang Gila, 2000 – Nyoman Sukari

 

Highly expressive with dynamic brushstrokes, Sukari’s oil paintings are powerful insights from the darker angels of his psyche. Black and greys, golden browns, touches of white and red to achieve dramatic contrasts, his compositions are often a collision of imagery and non-descript forms. Many of his works feature menacing eyes and faces gazing out from swirling masses of energy. Immediately confronting, these works are not for the faint-hearted.

Sukari’s narratives vary from the cultural, mythological and the surreal, to his reflections upon Indonesia’s social and political upheaval during the finale of President Suharto’s New Order Regime, observations and contemplations about life, mortality, and his spirituality. Just a few of his awards include the 1993 ISI Yogyakarta best painting, the 1994 Affandi Adi Karya Art Award for best painting, and in 2000 the Lempad Prize from Sanggar Dewata Indonesia (SDI).

Exhibition co-curator Gede Arya Sucitra discussing Sukari's pen on canvas compositions - Image Richard HorstmanExhibition cocurator Arya Sucitra during a discussion about the watercolour paintings of Nyoman Sukari

 

While Trajectory’s content is dominated by darker themes Sukari’s ‘lighter’ sensibilities come to the fore within his works on paper in watercolour, ink and acrylics. His sketches and watercolours on paper and canvas have never been publically exhibited. A few small ink compositions feature minimalistic imagery that appears floating upon the white expanses of paper – here we embrace the gentler essence of the painter.

“The final years of Sukari’s career were his most contemplative and philosophical,” states Arya Sucitra. “His Niskala Drawing Series 2008 – 2009, featuring complex compositions in pen on canvas are an important aesthetic landmark emphasizing his spiritual journey while revealing an undeniable pull for him to become a holy man or priest.”

The works feature forms rendered in horizontal and vertical structures that create distinct relationships with the upper and lower supernatural worlds, along with his own magical iconography derived from the sacred rerajahan symbols, and his ideas about his spiritual responsibilities. Perhaps his finest masterpiece is Menunggu Cuaca, 2008, a stark composition depicting a fisherman waiting for fine weather so that he may return to the ocean. In this symbolic reflection upon patience, Sukari’s reveals his intuitive musings about the closing episode of his life.

Pen sketch on paper by Nyoman Sukari, circa 2008-2009. Image Richard Horstman               Pen drawing on paper, circa 2008 – 2009 by Nyoman Sukari

 

Sukari passed away 12 May 2010 in Bali after battling with a two-year illness. He leaves behind an inspiring legacy underlining his commitment to his family, culture, creative life purpose and building community through the power of art. Trajectory: Posthumous Solo Exhibition of I Nyoman Sukari, which continues through 12 August at TBY, honours one of the true, late masters of Balinese art.

"Trunyan Series" 2007 - Nyoman Sukari. Image Richard Horstman                         Truyan Series, 2007 – Nyoman Sukari

 

"Menunggu Cuaca" 2008 - Nyoman Sukari, 145 x 200cm, oil on canvas. Image Richard Horstman                          Menunggu Cuaca, 2008 – Nyoman Sukari

 

Detail of watercolour composition on paper by Nyoman Sukari , circa 2008 - 2009 - Image Richard Horstman        Detail of watercolour composition on paper, 2007 – Nyoman Sukari

 

"Mantan Pemburu" 2009 - Nyoman Sukari, acrylic on canvas. Image Richard Horstman                          Mantan Pemburu, 2009 – Nyoman Sukari

 

Words & Images: Richard Horstman

 

 

Art activist’s discussion in Bali launches landmark entrepreneurial program for the disabled

Art Actiivists Budi Agung Kuswara and Hanna Madness during the launching of "Ayo Ketemu!" in Sanur 29th July - Image courtesy of KETEMU PROJECTArt Activists Budi Agung Kuswara and Hanna Madness during the launching of “Ayo Ketemu!” in Sanur 29th July

 

Art Has Saved My Life a discussion led by two art activists 29 June at Rumah Sanur Creative Hub in Bali was one of the insightful forums of Ayo Ketemu! (Let’s Meet!) a landmark enterprenurial creative program for Indonesians with mental and physical disabilities.

In the discussion that was the first of three public events presented by Gerakan Kreabilitas, Hanna Madness and Budi Agung Kuswara spoke candidly about their journeys utilizing art as an alternative therapy to positively impact upon their healing processes in relation to personal mental health issues. Structured around nine casual discussion forums, creative hands-on classes, and product presentations Ayo Ketemu! a 4-days and 3-nights residential workshop program ran from 28 June – 1 July 2019 at venues around Denpasar.

“I am here as a survivor because of my art,” said visual artist and mental health activist Hanna Madness who actively campaigns about art and mental health issues in Indonesia. “I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder more recently, however, I began experimenting in 2012 with art to help alleviate the stress and isolation caused by the mistreatment and deteriorating family and school relationships. I had no other choice so I poured my energy into my journal, sketching, painting and writing my thoughts,” said the Jakarta born activist who was named one of the “Top 10 Most Shining Young Indonesian Artists” (2017).

Ella Ritchie (Director & Co-Founder, Intoart UK) and participants during "Pasar Ketemu" evaluation at Rumah Sanur - Image courtesy of KETEMU PROJECTElla Ritchie (Director & Co-Founder, Intoart UK) and participants during “Pasar Ketemu” evaluation at Rumah Sanur

 

“When I was first diagnosed the issue of mental health in Indonesia was still taboo, there is now, however, a huge global momentum exposing the problems of mental health in modern society. My paintings have become my weapon to fight against my mental health issues,” she states.

Budi Agung Kuswara, or “Kabul” as he is known, is an artist and the co-founder of Ketemu Project, an art organization and community art space with a strong social philosophy and international program, located in Bali. In 2017 he initiated the “Schizofriends Art Movement” a community-based psychosocial rehabilitation program with art as the delivery system, devoted to supporting people living with schizophrenia to become active and functional individuals within society.

“Ayo Ketemu! is a nurturing platform for people with disabilities who have already started to create their own art and creative products,” said Kabul. “It is designed so that people with mental and physical disabilities can meet with artists to exchange ideas and viewpoints to help realize possibilities, and with exciting potential for collaboration. The output of this first time project in Indonesia targeting the disabled is highly marketable and export quality products and services.”

Participants of "Ayo Ketemu!" at Sudamal Resort in Sanur Bali - Image courtesy of KETEMU PROJECT             Participants of “Ayo Ketemu!” at Sudamal Resort in Sanur Bali

 

Gerakan Kreabilitas is an initiative movement working in conjunction with Ketemu Project and The Arts Development Company, funded by the British Council of Indonesia through the program of DICE (Developing Inclusive and Creative Economies). “Gerakan Kreabilitas is an initiative sparked by the premise that every individual is creative regardless of their abilities,” said Gerakan Kreabilitas Program Coordinator Rahma Yudi Amartina.

“Kreabilitas is a fusion of the terms “kreatif” and “abilitas” that reflects our vision of combining creative innovations and cultural development with business strategies. For this program we have selected thirty participants from around Indonesia through our Open Call for Participants in the visual arts, visual communication design, product design, craft, and fashion categories.”

"Ayo ketemu!" participants during a creative workshop at Jenggala Ceramics Bali - Image courtesy of KETEMU PROJECT“Ayo ketemu!” participants during a creative workshop at Jenggala Ceramics Bali

 

On 30 June Pasar Ketemu, the second of the open to the public events held at Rumah Sanur was a bazaar space for participants to present their products, ideas or prototypes to a judging panel comprising of Mayun Dewi (Social Enterprise Manager, Ketemu Project), Camelia Harahap (Head of Arts and Creative Industries, British Council Indonesia), Yap Mun Ching (Executive Director, AirAsia Foundation), Slamet Thohari (Lecturer, Researcher & Co-Founder CDSS, Universitas Brawijaya), Ella Ritchie (Director & Co-Founder, Intoart UK) and Baskoro Junianto (Expert & Curator, Badan Ekonomi Kreatif). Visitors to the event were also invited to contribute by voting for the creative enterprises that they believed were the most interesting and inclusive.

The five creative enterprises with the most inclusive ideas, will be receiving seed-funding of IDR 24 millions, incubation and mentorship support for 6 months from July – December 2019 for the development of their products and services, along with marketing and promotion both in Indonesia and globally. The final event of the program and the third event open to the public on 1July was the panel discussion Painting The Future of Creative Economy which explored the topic of a more inclusive arts and creative economy industry for Indonesians with disabilities with the panellists: Paul Smith (Director, British Council Indonesia), Yap Mun Ching (Executive Director, AirAsia Foundation), Baskoro Junianto (Expert & Curator, Badan Ekonomi Kreatif) and Slamet Thohari (Lecturer, Researcher & Co-Founder CDSS, Universitas Brawijaya), moderated by Samantha Tio (Director & Co-Founder, Ketemu Project).

Baskoro Junianto (Expet & Curator, Bekraf) is speaking about the future of creative economy during panel discussion 1July Image coutesy of KETEMU PROJECTBaskoro Junianto (Expet & Curator, Bekraf) is speaking about the future of creative economy during panel discussion 1July

 

“We are happy and grateful to be chosen as one of the selected creative enterprises. We hope that we’ll get a lot of insights and new experiences to contribute to the Indonesian economy by creating social impact creatively,” said the makers of the Surprise Wellness Kit Patricia Thebez from Jakarta and Devi Soewono from Bali, whose purpose is to create collections of products to support mental health sufferers based on different moods. Each product having a distinct response to each emotion.

“We are so delighted and this is unexpected for us,” said Vindy Ariella from Jakarta and Khomsin from Solo, whose project Mental Health Kit was judged as one of the five selected creative enterprises. “We hope that our product can grow in the global market and be useful for many people. Thank you, Gerakan Kreabilitas and Ketemu Project!” Their Mental Health Kit comes in a carry bag and contains a book about mental health, a mindfulness journal, sweater, and aromatherapy candles.

“The event was a great success with a lot of participants having collaboration regardless if they were the selected 5 creative enterprises or not,” stated Amartina. “I am amazed and inspired by all of the participants and their natural creative abilities, along with their powerful sense of self belief.”

Ella Ritchie (Director & Co-Founder, Intoart UK), accompanied by Samantha Tio (Director & Co-Founder, Ketemu Project), while judging at "Pasar Ketemu" Image courtesy of KETEMU PROJECTElla Ritchie (Director & Co-Founder, Intoart UK), accompanied by Samantha Tio (Director & Co-Founder, Ketemu Project), while judging at “Pasar Ketemu”

 

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images Courtesy: Ketemu Project

 

Genevieve Couteau: the French female virtuoso that Bali art historians failed to cite

Huile sur toile le théâtre d'ombres 130-97 encadre                                 Painting by Genevieve Couteau

 

Volumes have been written about the foreign artists who have visited, lived and worked on the island of Bali during the first half of the 20th century. Walter Spies, Rudolf Bonnet and Theo Meier are celebrated icons, while Hofker, Covarrubias and La Mayeur are all praised for their special talents. These artists, however, are all male.

French female artist Genevieve Couteau first visited Bali in 1968 and was immediately fascinated by the island’s lush tropical environment and the rich culture, and immediately set forth exploring and reinterpreting the beauty she perceived. Returning briefly four years later, and again in 1975 when she resided in Ubud for 6 months, she made several other sojourns up until 1984. Even though Couteau’s creativity was phenomenal and she was the only European female artist to visit Bali, she is one important person the art historians have failed to cite.

Balinese priest sketch by Geneieve Couteau                       Sketch of Balinese Priest by Genevieve Couteau

 

Art inspired by post-war Universalism represents the period 1945 -1970. Its ideology is underpinned by a rejection of reality and nationalism – the type of patriotism that prevailed in Europe, the UK and America during the 1930s – 1940s. It emphasized a greater worldview with a focus upon understanding people from other cultures. Asians were seen as offering other, mysterious access to the spiritual realms. It was not the “exotic difference” that mattered – it was the exploring of different types of universal endeavour. The art genre idealized “the other”, while surpassing the prejudices.

Born in Paris in 1924 Couteau was a star graduate from Beaux Arts, the Art College of Nantes-Métropole with a national and international reputation. Her outstanding talent was quickly recognized by the art establishment when she won the Prix Lafont Noir et Blanc (Lafont Black and White Award) in 1952 with her captivating drawings in the surrealism style. She became a noted figure of the Paris art scene aged in her mid thirties.

"Barong Landung" - Geneieve Couteau                                 Barong Landung – Genevieve Couteau

 

It was in the Southeast Asia, however, where Couteau’s creativity ultimately bloomed. Her opportunity arose to travel and experience the treasures of the East first visiting Laos in 1968 during the Vietnam War upon the invitation of the neutralist Prime Minister of the time.

Later that year she ventured to Bali. Both countries had a major impact upon Couteau, the vivid colours and light, the overwhelming sense of the spiritual, and the gentle natured people.

Couteau’s ouvre developed from pencil, charcoal and pastel sketches to oil paintings in subtle colours, or in her dynamic, fauvism inspired palate. Her compositions progressed, some into complex, futuristic works of the universal totality of nature revealing the sparkling cosmos, men and women depicted in harmony, and stunning landscapes with backgrounds of flowing patterns, similar to exotic textiles and batiks. Abstract and surreal elements were always key to the strength of her larger compositional works.

Geneieve Couteau (1925 - 2013)                                         Genevieve Couteau

 

Couteau’s depictions of the Balinese, especially the woman challenged the stereotypes, presenting distinct messages without an agenda. Her woman’s worldview resonated with humanism, was non-sexual, while understanding and accepting dissimilarities and highlighting equality of identity. Couteau reconfigured the visual narrative regarding women who are often misinterpreted or unacknowledged. Her feminine approach never exploited the beauty of a woman’s body.

Her painterly responses to Bali’s potent, unseen worlds are indeed intriguing. What prevailed was her unrivalled ability to capture the ‘spiritual’. Couteau’s magical scenarios and figurations glow with an unusual, yet distinct atmosphere – her otherworldly creatures often gaze out from the canvas with mysterious, shamanic eyes. Some of her impressions of Balinese characters stand alone within a historical descriptive context. In “The Old Lempad” depicting the famous architect and modern art master I Gusti Nyoman Lempad (1862? – 1978), he appears as an alien-like figure, in an after life manifestation. Her portrait of the extraordinary young painter Made Sukada (1945-1982) depicts a face beaming with love, intelligence and light, his glowing eyes reveal the presence of a wise and old soul.

Balinese woman and child - Geneieve Couteau                       Balinese Woman and Child – Genevieve Couteau

 

Attuning with the metaphysical forces and pure potential her work stylistically evolved – transcending into the mystical. Her depictions, real and imagined, of Bali life in her fresh and fascinating manner distinguished her from the acclaimed painters who preceded her, along with her peers, defining her as one of the most outstanding expatriate artists on Bali.

Couteau exhibited extensively from 1960 – 2000, in Italy, France, Germany, Greece, Switzerland, Vietnam, New York and Bali. Her talents extended to writing books and theatre, designing and making sets and costumes for performances. In a tribute to the visionary artist who passed away in Paris in 2013, seventy of Couteau’s works were displayed at the National Gallery of Indonesia, in Jakarta, early in 2018.

Geneieve Couteau                                Painting by Genevieve Couteau

 

Entitled “The Orient and Beyond” her exhibition was a collaboration with Institut Francais Indonesia. Couteau’s works are collected by museums in Paris, Lyon, Berlin, Venice, Bulgaria and one of her beautiful Bali inspired paintings is on permanent exhibition in Ubud at the Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA).

Sketch by Geneieve Couteau                             Sketch by Genevieve Couteau

 

Painting by Geneieve Couteau

 

Oil on canvas painting by Geneieve Couteau                                      Paintings by Genevieve Couteau

 

 

Words:     Richard Horstman

Images:   Courtesy of Jean Couteau

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rare artworks go under the hammer in the July Larasati Bali auction

Lot 706 "Head of Ayu Ketut" Miguel Covarrubias, lithograph. Image courtesy Larasati                       Head of Ayu Ketut –  Miguel Covarrubias, lithograph

 

The most exciting selection of traditional, modern and contemporary art works for more than a year highlight the second Larasati Bali auction for 2019. Ninety-two items will be offered in the upcoming 20 July, Larasati Traditional, Modern & Contemporary Art Auction to be held at the Larasati Bali Art Space at Tebesaya Gallery, Ubud. The sale has good buying opportunities for those interested in starting a collection, mid level collectors, people with an eye for investing, and of course will attract much attention from the connoisseurs of Balinese painting.

Many distinguished Balinese and international artists are featured in the sale that boasts some unique paintings that are rarely available on the market. The sale, which begins at Saturday 2:30 PM, includes old Balinese masters Ida Bagus Made Poleng, Ida Bagus Made Nadera, Ida Bagus Rai, Wayan Gedot, Anak Agung Gde Meregeg, and Ida Bagus Made Togog, while a rare set of sixteen drawings from the personal sketchbook of the renowned Ida Bagus Nyoman Rai (1915-2000) from Sanur is also available.

Lot 716 "Suasana Pasar Bali" 2006 I Gusti Agung Wiranata. Image courtesy of Larasati                         Suasana Pasar Bali, 2006  – I Gusti Agung Wiranata

 

The works available are in an array of media including sketches in ink and chalk on paper, watercolour, and gouache works on paper, acrylic and oil paintings on canvas, along with mixed media, an etching, lithographs and lithograph reproductions. Some paintings offered come with good local and international provenance.

The sale begins with Indo European Painters of Bali, a selection of nine works by the Willem Gerard Hofker (1902-1981 the Netherlands), Migeul Covarrubias (1904 – 1957 Mexico) and Rudolf Bonnet (1895 – 1978, the Netherlands). Lot 705, Rice Granary, Bali, a lithograph by Covarrubias has an estimated price of between Rp.17 – 12 million. Lot 707 Yogi,1973 by Bonnet is a remarkable watercolour depiction on paper and comes with an estimated price of between Rp30 – 40 million, and Lot 709 by Hofker is an extremely rare oil on canvas self-portrait. A Self Portrait of the Artist, 1961, comes with an estimated price of between Rp. 45 – 55 million.

Lot 753 "Woman with Offering at the Sawah Scene" - Ida Bagus Made Poleng Acrylic on canvas. Image courtesy of Larasati            Woman with Offering at the Sawah Scene – Ida Bagus Made Poleng

 

For those wishing to begin collecting Balinese art there is good, well priced opportunities available. Lot 745 Pementasan Calonarang is an early work by one of the senior and most respected painters of the Yong Artists Style, I Ketut Soki (b. 1946, Penestanan, Ubud). With the distinct, dynamic coloration that defines the genre, this work has an estimated price of between Rp. 7 – 10 million. Another attractive buy, an early work by another senior painter of the same style, I Made Sinteg, is Lot 746 Forest Scene which comes with an estimated price of between Rp 5 – 7 million.

Lot 728, Berburu by I Ketut Regig (Ubud, 1919-2002) has an estimated price of Rp. 5 – 7 million, Mythological Scene, Lot 791 by I Gusit Nyoman Moleh (1918 – 1997) comes with an estimated price of between Rp 7 – 10 million, and Lot 729, Ikan-ikan, a rare small acrylic work by I Made Sukada (Ubud 1945 – 1982) with an estimated price of Rp 2.6 – 3.6 million are also good opportunities for beginners to enter the market.

Lot 728 "Berburu" - Ketut Regig, acrylic on canvas. Image courtesy of Larasati                                        Berburu – Ketut Regig

 

Collecting with an eye for investment? The following lots provide strong investment opportunities especially if purchased within the estimated prices and then matched with a long term view of holding for at least 10 – 15 years before reselling. I Gusti Ayu Kadek Murniashi (Murni) (1966-2006) is agruably Indonesia’s most important female artist and has been recently featured in many exhibitions in high profile Indonesian galleries.

Lot 786, Saya Bahagia Sekali di Hari Itu has an estimated price of between Rp. 15 – 18 million, and also with the same estimated price, Lot 787 Antar Benci dan Rindu dan Tahan Malu Penyayang, 1999, both are good buys from the artist whose work is destined to appreciate in value. An unusually strong colour composition by the influential Dutch painter who spent most of his life in Indonesia, Arie Smit, (1916-2016) Lot 747, Passing the Shrines, 2010, has an estimated price of Rp. 27 – 35 million, and finally Lot 739, Tualen by the colourful Italian-Filipino maestro Antonio Blanco (1911-1999), is a gouache on paper work with an estimated price of Rp. 4 – 5 million, are all good investment grade buys.

Lot 783 "Love Bird" 2007 - Ketut Teja Astawa Acrylic on canvas. Image courtesy of Larasati                                 Love Bird, 2007 – Ketut Teja Astawa

 

For the connoisseurs there are many paintings to choose from, and here are but a few of the highlights, Ramayana Scene, Lot 723 is an early watercolour and ink on paper work by I Made Sukada (Ubud 1945 – 1982) that comes with an estimated price of between Rp. 25 – 35 million.

Ganesha Bertapa, Lot 725, is a beautiful, early ink and watercolour on paper by Wayan Radjin (Batuan 1945-2010) and has an estimated price of between Rp. 20 – 30 million. Lot 748, Bali Life by Ida Bagus Nyoman Rai (1915-2000), is the set of sixteen ink on paper drawings each 34 x 24 cm that comes with an estimated price of between Rp. 70 – 90 million.

Ida Bagus Made Poleng (Tebesaya, Ubud1915-1999) is one of the most highly prized Balinese painters and his two works on offer will attract much attention. Lot 753, Woman with Offering at the Sawah Scene has an estimated price of Rp. 350 – 450 million and comes with strong provenance, and Lot 751 Cremation Ceremony, ca. 1940s, an 51 x 37 cm ink wash on paper, which was exhibited at the Herbert Johnson Museum at Cornell University, USA in 2001 has an estimated price of Rp. 100 – 130 million.

Lot 723 "Wayang Scene" - Made Sukada, watercolour & ink on paper. Image courtesy of Larasati                                    Wayang Scene – Made Sukada

 

Other works of note are Lot 769 by Ida Bagus Made Nadera (1910-1998) of Batuan, Lot 777 is an early painting by one of the pioneers of Balinese modern painting Nyoman Gunarsa (1944-2017), while Lot 783 and 784 are rare early works by Ketut Teja Astawa (b. Denpasar 1970), that were previously in the collection of a Dutch museum. Lot 764, Tari Kecak by I Nyoman Kayun (b. Ubud 1954) is a stunning work featuring all the drama and action of the Kecak dance, and Lot 716, Suasana Pasar di Bali, 2006 by I Gusti Agung Wiranata (b.1969) is also a delightful, yet rare masterpiece, his composition inspired by Walter Spies’ technical Western aspects, that has an estimated price of Rp. 60 – 80 million. Other well-known artists included in the sale are I Gusti Made Deblog, I Wayan Djudjul, Dewa Nyoman Jati, Sewa Putu Mokoh, I Made Wianta and I Ketut Pande Taman.

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 764 "Rahwana Menculik Dewi Sita" - Nyoman Kayun, Image courtesy of Larasati                     Rahwana Menculik Dewi Sita – Nyoman Kayun

 

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 the Larasati Art Space in the Tebesaya Gallery the auction starts at 2:30 pm Saturday 16 February, while viewing begins from 11am Thursday. The online catalogue, complete with a guide for prospective buyers is available at: www.larasati.com

Lot 769 "Berburu Campung" - Ida Bagus Made Nadera Acrylic on canvas. Image courtesy of Larasati                           Berburu Campung – Ida Bagus Made Nadera

 

 

Viewing:

Thursday,         18 July      11am – 7.30pm

Friday,              19 July     11am – 7.30pm

Saturday,         20 July     11am – 2pm

 

Auction: Saturday 20 July, from 2:30 pm

 

Larasati Bali Art Space at Tebesaya Gallery

Jalan Jatayu, Banjar Tebesaya, Peliatan,

Ubud, Gianyar Bali, Indonesia

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images Courtesy: Larasati Auctioneers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revealing Chinese and Balinese Cultural Connections through Art: Meet Tjandra Kirana

"A New Spirit of Balinese Tradition", 2019 - Tjandra Kirana Watercolor on Chinese Paper“A New Spirit of Balinese Tradition”, 2019 – Tjandra Kirana Watercolor on Chinese Paper

 

One of the most charming characters within the Bali art community is Tjandra Kirana. Quick with a smile, and always ready to share a light-hearted joke, or a tale, he is gifted with a generous, and effervescent personality.

Born in Denpasar in 1944, of Chinese Indonesian heritage, over the past six decades the well-known, self-taught photographer and painter has been a witness to change – of the increasing modernization of Bali. Tjandra began painting at the age of seventeen, while his love for photography started when he was fifteen, and then he commenced working as a professional photographer seven years later.

28167736_10211599757534780_7519901610013381311_n                                              Tjandra Kirana

 

A collector of photographs, paintings, documents, artefacts, and memories of the development of Denpasar and Bali, Tjandra is a multi level identity – Chinese, Indonesian and Balinese. His years as ‘an amateur historian and an art and cultural ambassador’ have distinguished him within the Indonesian art community.

Celebrating the human spirit through the lens of his camera, Tjandra’s subjects range from cultural phenomenon, to everyday subjects of city and countryside scenarios, and from social and political identities to those who are marginalized. His studies of the Balinese culture, in particular the religious precessions and ceremonies are highlighted by his eye for balancing the colour and festivities with the beauty of the natural landscape. His Black & White images perfectly capture the rich and dynamic atmosphere of Bali.

20190825_040623                                    Calligraphy by Tjandra Kirana

 

In 1969 Tjandra opened a photography studio in Semarang, Central Java, specializing in advertising, wedding, and portrait photography, along with developing film and printing. The founder of the Semarang Photography Club in 1977, he was also one of the founders of the Perhimpunan Fotographi Bali (the Bali Photographers Association) in 1984. He has evolved with the various periods of photographic technological development – from black & white analogue images to mastering the digital age of technology.

Tjandra has received dozens of national and international awards and titles, including the 2008 & 2009 Shanghai International Lung Jing Shan Photography Art Award: Gold Trophy, while he has received his Certificate of Fellowship from the Royal Photography Society of Thailand from the Princess of Thailand, Maha Chakri in 2012. He is a member of the Royal Photography Society of Great Britain, and the Photography Society of the United States of America, to name just a few of his associations, and has exhibited both his photographs and paintings on more than three hundred occasions throughout Indonesia, Southeast Asia, China and India. Tjandra is constantly invited to represent Bali in exhibitions throughout Asia, and has recently returned from an art and cultural event in New Dehli, India.

20190629_124935Paintings by Tjandra Kirana exhibited at Santrian Gallery, Sanur in “Culture in Colours” 28 June – 9 August 2019

 

Bali is renowned for being been open to, and embracing, influences from foreign cultures. Trade with China began about 300 AD and centuries of migration from main land Asia to the Indonesian archipelago followed, while the Chinese began settling on Bali about one thousand years ago.

“Significant cultural influences are evident in the fields of architecture, art, craving and danceeconomic exchange (kepeng coins), textiles, culinary, and within local customs and rituals,” Tjandra states. One of the most famous icons of the Balinese culture – the Barong – the benevolent lion character that represents universal good and plays a significant role within religious ceremonies is derived from the Chinese lion dance featuring similar character – Barongsai.

Photo by Tjandra Kirana                Photograph of Balinese ceremonial offering by Tjandra Kirana

 

Tjandra’s beautiful decorative paintings create awareness to the distinct facets of the Balinese culture that reveal Chinese influence via the use of unique iconography. “The influence of Chinese culture which is infused in various manners and daily habits is embedded in my memory. This longing for ancestral heritage can not escape the subconscious and within my paintings I wish to reveal that two cultures are present today in contemporary Bali,” he explains.

When sharing some of his ‘secrets’ for a long and fruitful life Tjandra says, “Life is to be enjoyed to the fullest, and having an open, and disciplined mind, is the foundation to success.” Tjandra has been a giver of many gifts, yet also the receiver.

“In 1998 life dealt me the most unusual circumstances. Suffering from heart complaints I was hospitalized. That night I lost consciousness and my heart stopped beating, and then kicked back into life on three separate occasions. I woke the next day surrounded by my family, but I had no comprehension of what had occurred during the night.” Tjandra immediately needed a series of operations to sustain his life, yet did not have the finance to cover the costs. A friend, however, then graciously gave him the required funds. “This gift gave me a fresh perspective on my life, and I clearly understood about my own sense of kindness, and how being generous was essential to a happy and fulfilling life.”

Painting by Tjandra Kirana                                             Tjandra Kirana

Tjandra’s upcoming solo painting exhibition will open to the public 28 June at Griya Santrian Gallery, Sanur, 28 June 2019.

67697120_2617694888241614_4978224811005181952_o                    Tjandra Kirana at work in his Denpasar studio.

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images: Courtesy of Tjandra Kirana

 

 

 

 

 

 

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