Swedish Artist Richard Winkler at Home in Bali

Work in progress                             Richard Winkler at work in his Sanur studio

Swedish artist Richard Winkler’s creative development charts a course that isn’t unlike others who have settled in Bali. He has, however succeeded in doing what few foreign artists in Indonesia can do.  Art lovers and collectors quickly recognized Winkler’s talent and he created a niche within the large, yet difficult to penetrate, Indonesian contemporary art market.

Within his paintings Winkler creates a fantastic Balinese utopian landscape. His compositions feature figures, bulbous and distorted, that contain the extraordinary story of his own body and personal experience of having to cope with a rare bone disorder. From an early age painful boney growths continued to reappear on Winkler’s limbs and he had to undergo regular surgery to have them removed.

Farmers of the Blue Hills, 150x200cm, 2010. oil on canvas Richar Winkler.                                        Farmers of the Blue Hills, 2010

“These experiences taught me to love and honor the physical vehicle in which I was born. They have inspired me,” Winkler said.  “This has helped develop a resilient character, and given me an enormously positive outlook on life.”

Winkler’s figures reflect the creative nature of the human DNA that manifests in countless body forms and sizes, from obese to beautiful, and from the vigorous to the diseased.   “I resonate with the abstract nature of my figures. Subconsciously a part of me springs forth and then in the studio it comes to life through my works. It is my own unique creative process,” he adds.

Mother Earth, 2011, Bronze, 217Hx152Wx212D                                         Mother Earth, 2011

At a glance Winkler’s oil paintings are an amalgamation of subtle curves, delightful arcs suggesting nature’s perfect symbol – the circle. The exaggerated human forms that occupy his compositions feature bulging backsides, toros and limbs. His works are studies of balance and precision, enhanced by his perfect brush work technique.

Winkler’s coloration is never over powering, his rich environmental scenarios send tranquil messages. The soft greens and blues within his tropical locales contain delicate, soothing melodies. Occasionally he adopts contrasting colors, positioned to create aesthetic impact.

20160825_161839                                                  A Beautiful Afternoon, 2016

Rarely does Winkler utilize the potency of the straight line within his settings. When he does it will be the horizon line, that helps denote the composition’s depth of field, while delivering a jolt of tension within his “sea of curves”.

About 12 years ago Winkler was driven to transform his ideas into large three dimensional forms. His process began with experimentation and learning how and what he needed to be. First he constructed and ‘played’ with models, simplistic and crude, and then the momentum of his creativity grew. It was not long before Winkler was forging wonderful sculptures in bronze.

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These are monumental, minimalist reclining figures, some more than 3 meters in height. Winkler takes the voluptuous characters from his paintings and expands on their size. To achieve the perfect symmetries in his sculptures requires time and skill, so during the process he must continuously run his hands over the extremities of the models to identify and correct imperfections.

The models are then dismantled in his Sanur studio and transferred to Central Java,  reassembled and caste in liquid bronze, and then the finishing is done. His characters are finally positioned according to the client’s wishes, and appear rooted and secure as if they have grown up and out of the earth.

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Richard Winkler was born in 1969 in Norrkoping, Sweden and studied graphic design and illustration at the Beckman’s School of Design in Stockholm. For some years he worked as an illustrator for advertising and magazines.  In 1997 he moved from Europe to Ubud to become a full-time painter. His work is a metaphor for the omnipotent fertility of the universe, while celebrating the beauty of the Balinese landscape.

Words & Images: Richard Horstman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ethnic Faces – Wolfgang Widmoser

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In May 2015, German born painter Wolfgang Widmoser, along with eight western artists ventured East across the Java Sea to South Sulawesi, Indonesia upon a traditional Penisi Bugis sailing boat. According to Wolfgang, “ to find and explore human history that is not really known.”

the-guardian                                     The Guardian – Wolfgang Widmoser

Visiting several islands the artists interacted closely with the islanders, the encounter with the indigenous people deeply fascinated Wolfgang. His response was to paint a series of portraits of some of the characters he met along the way.

bo                                              Bo – Wolfgang Widmoser

Wolfgang sets out to not merely represent the physical, yet through his distorted, interpretive style, he calls ‘fantastic realism’ he creates a window into the subject’s soul. Every detail of the subject’s face, every wrinkle and pore is an opportunity to explore, often rendering the details into landscape like scenarios. Yet it is via the enlarged eyes of his subjects that the observer may traverse the physical and access other dimensions. Earthly inhabitants are transformed into other worldly beings.

twilight                                   The Twilight – Wolfgang Widmoser

Ethnic Faces, an exhibition of paintings, some taken from the fore mentioned series, while others are recent reworking of an older succession of portraits, opened 25 February at Bali Bohemia, Ubud, Bali. The evening was a birthday celebration for the well-known Ubud character, born 1954, Munich, who has lived in Indonesia for more than 30 years.

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“To me all painting is abstract, an order of colored shapes on canvas through which I like to create illusions,” Wolfgang said. “A face is more than face, it is an archetype. I am a theoretical artist, my paintings are founded on color, composition and beauty.”

“Art, science and philosophy are all one. They provide the answers to all the mysterious questions that have captivated humanity throughout the ages. Yet while science attempts to inform the mind, art connects with the spirit.”

gnome                                       Gnome – Wolfgang Widmoser

Wolfgang painted, played music and studied architecture and philosophy since his childhood. In 2007 his exhibition of fantastic Indonesian faces set in cosmic scenarios, Venus Rising at Bentara Budaya Jakarta exposed his talents to the Indonesian art world. While he has exhibited in many European cities, Australia and the United States, during the past decade he has been relatively quiet in Indonesia.

warrior                                   The Warrior – Wolfgang Widmoser

In 1973-1978 Wolfgang studied classical Renaissance painting techniques with Salvador Dali in Cadaques, Spain and Ernst Fuchs in Vienna, Austria, making him the most advanced painter of classical western techniques living in the country. His presence compliments the Indonesian modern and contemporary fine art scene.

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“I am researching my truth,” Wolfgang said. “I believe there’s more to the world than meets the eye, and I enjoy reaching higher grounds. Connecting with the spiritual world seems to be a must in our turbulent times.”

 

Ethnic Faces

Bali Bohemia

Nyuh Kuning, Ubud, Bali

Jalan Nyuh Kuning, Ubud

25 February – 25 March 2017

Open Daly: 9am – 11pm

Facebook: Wolfgang Widmoser

Words & Images: Richard Horstman

 

 

 

 

TiTian Bali Foundation Gives Recognition & Heritage Awards to Balinese Artists

chairman-of-the-indonesian-agency-for-creative-economy-triawan-munaf-with-the-nine-finalists-of-the-2017-titian-art-prize-copyThe Nine Finalists of the TiTian Prize, (from left) Gede Suryawan, Wayan Aris Sarmanta, Wayan Malik, Mangku Muriati Mura, Ida Bagus Suryantara, Gede Sugiada, Made Sutama, Nyoman Arisana and Made Supena pictured with Triawan Munaf, Chairman of the Agency for Creative Economy Indonesia (center).

 

During the first anniversary celebrations of Yayasan TiTian Bali, in Ubud, Sunday 29 January, the Chairman of Agency for Creative Economy Indonesia, Triawan Munaf presented an array of art awards, culminating with the nine finalists, and the winner of the TiTian Prize 2017.

winner-of-the-2017-titian-prize-fight-lust-nyoman-arisana-copy                 Fight LustNyoman Arisana, Winner of the TiTian Prize 2017

Yayasan TiTian Bali (YTB) was established in the belief that Balinese art would flourish as it is integrated into a truly creative economy. “The founders of TiTian believe in continuing the importance of Bali’s history and culture, but we share a concern that the long association of the island’s creative life with tourism, cottage industry, and souvenirs, combine to create static and clichéd perceptions of cultural heritage,” said YTB Director Soemantri Widagdo.

alam-agung-great-whale-ida-bagus-suryantara                              Alam Agung Ida Bagus Suryantara

“We aim to work with Balinese artists, designers, and performers to ensure the long-term cultural, economic, and creative success of Balinese arts, with the highest levels of entrepreneurship in its creation and marketing,” he said. “Our mission is to discover, nurture and develop new talents, helping them achieve their full potential.”

“We are excited to be associated with Yayasan TiTian Bali, it as if TiTian is our arm in Bali,” said Triawan Munaf, Chairman of the Agency for Creative Economy Indonesia. “The mission of the Foundation is inline with our concerns.”

hidup-di-alam-gede-suryawan                             Hidup di Alam Gede Suryawan

“What we are doing now with the agency is developing the eco-systems within each of the 16 sub sectors of the creative economy, including the visual arts,” Munaf said. “We aim to create policies, involving multi ministries, that can make some breakthroughs for our creatives, giving them freedoms and mechanisms of how to enter markets, access finance, and how to register the intellectual property of their creations.”

emotion-ii-installation-made-supena                               Emotion II, Installation – Made Supena

The TiTian Prize 2017, open to all Balinese visual artists in the genres of painting, sculpture, installation and photography, received 82 entries from all regencies in Bali, plus entries from Lombok and Yogyakarta, 9 works were submitted by women. The finalists ranged in age from 21 – 53, reflecting the talent of both emerging and established artists. Genres varied from the traditional Kamasan, Batuan and Keliki styles, works influenced by modern and contemporary painting, and one wood carving installation.

lot-364-sutama-i-made                                    World of DreamsMade Sutama

Fight Lust, the winning painting by twenty-seven year old Gianyar painter Nyoman Arisana, an eye-catching composition of contrasts and tension featured a complex laying of visual elements, in both mono chrome and color, from the Balinese tradition, along with modern and contemporary art.

bhineka-tunggal-ika-mungku-muriarti-mura                         Bhineka Tunggal Ika – Mangku Muriati Mura

The work sets demonic creatures at war with one another, symbolizing, according the artist our human behavior. “Lust greatly influences human life and survival, greed, jealousy and envy are common, yet our desire to do good may also be perceived as lust,” Arisana said.

kasih-ibu-mothers-love-wayan-malik                                 Kasih IbuWayan Malik

The presentations at Titian Art Space Bali included the second annual Anugrah Pusaka Seni (Art Heritage) Award to ten artists and a patron who have made extraordinary contributions to the Balinese Arts. Some of the honored were Nyoman Ngendon (1906-1946), Ida Bagus Togog (1913-1989) and Ida Bagus Njana (1912-1985).

female-male-gede-sugiada                             Female & MaleGede Sugiada

The Patron Award (Life Achievement) went to Ni Made Kadjeng, founder of the Secondary School for the Arts of Batubulan. The event included the launch of the Indonesian language edition of Ida Bagus Made: The Art of Devotion, a book that focuses on paintings from the estate of the esteemed Balinese artist Ida Bagus Made Poleng (1915-1999).

nature-tease-wayan-aris-sarmanta                                Nature TeaseWayan Aris Sarmanta

“We are already working with Bali’s village artists’ associations, schools, individual artists, and other arts organizations for all our activities. Our approach is inclusive rather than exclusive,” Widagdo said.  “The long-term goal is to build the Bali Museum of Contemporary Art (Bali MOCA), exhibiting old and new work of the finest quality, supported by programs to inspire new directions and achievements in Balinese visual arts.”

Nine Finalists of the First TiTian Prize

Exhibition open 29 January – 26 February 2017

TiTian Bali Art Space, Jalan Bisma 88, Ubud, Bali.

http://www.titianartspace.com

Words & Images: Richard Horstman

 

 

Previewing Larasati’s Traditional, Modern & Contemporary Art Auction, Bali, 11 February 2017

 

lot-304-djedeng             Devotion – a unique modernist wood craving by Ketut Djedeng

Upcoming this weekend, Saturday 11 February Larasati Auctioneers present an excellent array of predominantly Balinese traditional art for sale. Lot #335 Dewi Tidur, is a poetic depiction of a sleeping goddess being watched over by nature spirits, by 36-year-old Made Griyawan, a rising star of the renown Batuan school. This is just one of the seventy items of fine art going under the hammer from 3pm at Traditional, Modern & Contemporary Art auction to be held in Ubud, Bali.

lot-339-nadera-ida-bagus-made                   Pertunjukan Arja 1991 – Ida Bagus Made Nadera

From sketches on paper in ink and pastel, to lithographs, woodcarvings, and paintings from various genres of Balinese traditional art, along with some rare gems on offer. The quality of works, along with the price ranges make Saturday’s auction attractive to both the connoisseur, and the new buyer wishing to enter the market at affordable rates. The following is a few recommendations.

lot-325-kayun-i-nyoman              Sacred Sang Hyang Dedari Dance – Nyoman Kayun

Auction highlights for the connoisseurs include works by deceased masters of the 1930’s Pita Maha artists collective, Lot# 363 Sita Satya, by Gusti Ketut Kobot (Pengosekan1917-199) with an estimated price between Rp. 90,000,000 – 130,000,000. Pementasan Calonarang, Lot# 362, by Ida Bagus Made Togog (Batuan 1913-1980) has an estimated price between Rp. 100,000,000 – 125,000,000, and Upacara Potong Gigi, Lot# 352, by Ida Bagus Made Widja (Batuan 1912-1992), with an estimated price between Rp.20,000,000 – 25,000,000, are all strong compositions of balance and harmony.

lot-343-jan-portenaar-javanese-dancer-ooc-91x60                            Javanese Dancer 1958 – Jan Christiaan Poortenaar

Two founding fathers of the Pita Maha are also featured; Bali’s iconic modernist Gusti Nyoman Lempad (1862-1978), Lot #360, Erotic Scene, has excellent provenance with an estimated price between Rp. 35,000,000 – 45,000,000, and influential Dutch artist Rudolf Bonnet (1895-1978), his pastel on paper depiction, Portrait of a Balinese Boy 1956, Lot# 323, has an estimated price between Rp.100,000,000 – 125,000,000.

rudolf-bonnet-portrait-of-balinese-boy               Portrait of a Balinese Boy 1956 – Rudolf Bonnet

Much attention will be focused upon the following lots, Upacara di Pura, 1979, Lot # 314 by popular Sumatran painter Rusli (1922-2005), with an estimated price between Rp. 30,000,000 – 40,000,000. Noted woman Balinese painter Ni Gusti Agung Galuh’s Beautiful Scenery, Lot# 317, with an estimate between Rp. 38,000,000 – 48,000,000, depicts sunlit rice terraces within a mountainous landscape. Lot# 325, Sacred Sang Hyang Dedari Dance, by Nyoman Kayun (b. 1954,Peliatan, Ubud) with an estimated price between Rp. 180,000,000 – 230,000,000, for its size is a rare find. Upacar Melasti, Lot# 353 by Wayan Matra has an estimate price between Rp. 75,000,000 – 95,000,000, the setting sun glows red upon the focal point of a Balinese religious ceremony.

lot-363-kobot-i-gusti-ketut                     Sita Satya ca, 1950’s – Gusti Ketut Kobot

Buyers with an eye for a bargain take note, if purchased within their estimate prices the following lots, including the fore mentioned Lot #335 Dewi Tidur, all represent good buying. Hanoman Membangan Jembatan Rama Setu, Lot # 361, ink on paper by Gusti Made Deblog (1906-1986 Denpasar), has an estimated price between Rp. 20,000,000 – 25,000,000. Kegiatan di Sawah 1963, Lot# 319, by master of the Pitamaha, Ida Bagus Made Nadera, estimated between Rp. 15,000,000 – 20,000,000, and Devotion, a modernist wood carving by Ketut Djedeng, Lot #304, has an estimate price between Rp. 1,500,000 – 2,500,000.

lot-364-sutama-i-made                  World of Dreams, 2016 – Made Sutama

Lots # 364-368 represent special long-term investment buying opportunities, being five works of the nine finalists of the first TiTian Prize. Honoured for innovation in Balinese art, the awards were presented during the one-year anniversary of the TiTian Bali Foundation, 29 January 2017. Lot# 364, World of Dreams in the Keliki style by Made Sutama has an estimated price between by Rp. 50,000,000 – 60,000,000. Nature Teasing, Lot# 368 by an exciting new talent of Batuan, twenty-two-year-old Wayan Aris Sarmanta has an estimated price between Rp. 20,000,000 – 25,000,000. Sarmanta, along with Gede Suryawan, Lot# 367, Living in Nature, are emerging artists with promising futures.   A set of three woodcarvings, Emotion II, Lot# 366, by Made Supena also offer good buying at prices estimated between Rp. 15,000,000 -20,000,000.

lot-353-matra-i-wayan                              Upacar Melasti 2013 – Wayan Matra

Other noted artists include influential Dutchman Arie Smit (1916-2016), with four works on offer, Joko Pekik, Wayan Bendi, and Dewa Putu Mokoh, while Jan Christiaan Poortenaar’s (1886-1958), Javanese Dancer, Lot # 343 is a beautiful composition featuring exquisite negative spaces. The proceeds of Lot # 369 The Bible by Korean artist Lee Ji Hyun, and Lot# 370 Portrait of a Gentleman, by Gerard Pieter Adolfs (1889-1968) will benefit non-commercial art programs on Balinese traditional art.

As an alternative to conventional investments buying art and holding for the long- term, 10-20 years can prove to be sound financial planning, often appreciating ten fold. The market for Balinese traditional art is considered by experts as still being undervalued.

lot-314-rusli                                          Upacara di Pura, 1979 – Rusli

Buyers bidding over the phone, or live online who are unable to attend the previews days or auction are advised to contact Larasati and inquire about the color reproduction accuracy of the images contained within the online catalogue to ensure that what they wish to purchase can be realistically gaged. Condition reports of the works, outlining the paintings current state and whether it has repairs or over painting are available upon request. Provenance, the historical data of the works previous owner/s is also important.

lot-342-rudin-i-ketut                                              Tari Baris – Ketut Rudin

Viewing:

Thursday, 9 February   11am – 7.30pm

Friday, 10 February     11am – 7.30pm

Saturday 11 February   11am – 1pm

Auction: Saturday 11 February, from 3 pm

Larasati Bali Art Space

Jalan Jatayu, Tebesaya, Peliatan, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images Courtesy: Larasati Auctioneers

 

 

 

How Can Global Art Survive a Dystopian Future?

sothebys-auction-scene_modern-and-contemporary-asian-art-evening-sale-image-coutesy-sothebysSotheby’s Hong Kong during the Autumn 2016 Sale of Southeast Asian Art

 

As Art Stage Singapore, South East Asia’s flagship art fair, prepares itself for its seventh installment on the 12-15 January 2017 at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Center, the Founder & President, Lorenzo Rudolf has made some notable observations.

Responsible for creating the model of what the majority of art fairs are today Lorenzo’s decade of innovative leadership at Art Basel transformed it from a minor art fair to the world leader. Along the way he introduced special packaged tours for VIP’s, corporate sponsorship, and supported emerging artists, plus all the glitz, glamour, money and quality art. In 2010 he founded Art Stage Singapore, a key international event with a specific focus on promoting and fostering Asian art.

In the November Art Stage Singapore 2017 media release that outlines the program highlights of the annual event, Lorenzo presents an analysis of the current global political and economic situation with regards to the future of the performance of the art market.

“As the performance of art markets is inextricably linked to the health of the economy, maintaining the same market positions is unrealistic in the current economic climate,” states Lorenzo, then points out, “Never has it been more urgent for us to re-examine the role of contemporary art in our societies than it is today. Against the backdrop of the weak global economy and changed political landscapes, art fairs such as Art Stage Singapore must re-think our role.”

art-stage-jakarta-2016_general-fair-view-2-jpg-image-courtesy-of-art-stage-jakarta-2016                                               Art Stage Jakarta 2016

To galvanize this ‘re-think’, Lorenzo is calling upon ‘visionaries, leaders, thinkers, and socially engaged actors’ to act in a role of ‘seismographs and disruptors’. This would seem to indicate that the time has come for a major change in the model and mindset of the art market, and that a much more innovative system is required. How this could happen may be directly tied into the 2017 Southeast Asian Forum, which is being hosted by Art Stage Singapore, with its focus being the theme of art investment, entitled Net Present Value: Art, Capital, Futures.

‘Net Present Value’ is a method used to forecast the profitability of future returns on investments made today. Nobody wants to lose money on an investment, so the Forum seeks to explore the value of art, imagination and progress in different ways. In creating the Forum as a platform for exchange and as a think tank, Lorenzo is reaching out to society’s critical and visionary thinkers, believing they can contribute meaningfully to provide solutions to maintain the financial value of art, by expanding on its other values.

In the last twenty years many potent creative minds in the art world have increased art’s economic model to where it is today, bigger, more successful, with more major collectors than at any other time in its history. But take away the tax breaks, and this grand edifice propped up on solid pillars, seems to be built upon seismic ground that appears ready to shake.

huge-crowds-at-bazaar-art-jakarta-2016-image-courtesy-baj-2016                                            Bazaar Art Jakarta 2016

Art always survives because it has a real value that is composed of many parts, though often these parts are in conflict with one another. What the ‘Visionaries’ that Lorenzo is seeking need to have is the ability to rearrange these components into a working system that gives benefits for all. They do this by seeing a multiple over-lapping system of systems, presented in a dynamic game plan of stages.

There has always been a danger that when too many like-minded people come together, the thinking tends to remain inside ‘the like-minded box’. Finding the different thinkers outside our networks can be tricky, unless the focus is on how to link ideas to ideas. To do this we need to spread our message wider. For this, there exists a connection between Visionaries, Organizers and the Media. The first dream up a radically different state; the second knows how to make the dream a new reality, while the third can link them together to create a viral change of attitudes and responses.

Visionaries are unique because they don’t see the world like everyone else and possess the ability to find a way forward. Organizers recognize potential, they can take good ideas and arrange them in the right order, with an eye for a market. The Media exists to find out what is happening, and to tell others about it. It connects with many types of people, each with their own stories or ideas to tell, and spreads the word in an instant.

To make a new paradigm shift in the art market would mean creating more varied models and methods. Available from the Internet are peer-to-peer linking, block chains and Bio-mimicry systems for finance. The emergence between traditional organized art events, together with large-scale all tickets sold installation events with virtual and interactive platforms offers exciting novel experiential possibilities. If global art can introduce successful innovative changes it could pave the way for other much-needed exponential growth miracles.

20170113_145341Southeast Asia Forum Discussion: Art & Money – A Dangerous Liaison? 13 January 2017, featuring panelists (from left) Alain Servais (Investment banker, entrepreneur & collector, Brussels), Lorenzo Rudolf (Founder & President Art Stage Singapore & Jakarta) and Dr. Franz Schultheis (Professor of Sociology, University of St. Gallen, Switerland and co author of the When Art Meets Money a study into the Art Basel art fairs).

 

PATH FORWARD

Art Stage Singapore seems to have stated its intention to begin a process of reinvention. By providing a forum for ‘visionaries, leaders, thinkers, and socially engaged actors’, combined with its own business acumen, it has the drive to set the wheels in motion.

New solutions are on the horizon, with a potential emphasis on presentation in a more immersive art experience, setting the stage as a stimulator for sales. By changing the mechanisms of the market, it is possible to not only maintain current returns, but to even increase growth with a broader clientele. Periphery programs may also need to alter, taking note from the success of the ‘presentation generation’ and themed workshops aimed to achieve specific objectives. The greater the event, the more it inspires the imagination of the collectors, art industry, critics, and the general public. We are aiming for an all-encompassing, immersive art park experience that invigorates exchanges of ideas, concepts, innovations and finance.

Can Art Stage Singapore lead the way? The stakes have never seemed higher and the timing is just right. The Forum will be an important milestone in the analysis of the current malaise of a troubled world, especially as the most significant dynamic shifts are generally derived from an adjustment of attitude. In raising the flag and making a clarion call, Lorenzo has sent the word out. What remains now is to link the like-minded to the ‘unlikely-minded’, so that history can be made.

Words: Richard Horstman, Soemantri Widagdo & anonymous

 

 

 

 

Walking a Unique Path – Wayan Sika

sika-profile

Wayan Sika smiles as he contemplates his new-found freedom. “On Friday 1st October 2010, after a 34 year association lecturing part-time at ISI (Institute of Fine Arts) Denpasar, I have decided to retire.” Like many others Sika dedicates himself to his family and community; however, the breadth of his accomplishments defines him as truly unique within the realms of Balinese art.

“My father was a renowned wood-carver, many students came to his studio to study under him. For me this was a wonderful learning environment, and I too became a good wood sculptor.”

Born in the village of Silakarng, Gianyar, in 1949, formal art education began in SSRI (School of Fine Art Indonesia) in Denpasar, followed by 4 years studying painting at the Academy ASRI of Indonesian Fine Art in Yogyakarta. “I had become a competent sculptor and then I developed a strong desire to paint, I also wished to broaden my creative skills.”

mandala-2009-200-x-200-cm                                                  Mandala 2009

In 1970 along with Nyoman Gunarsa, Made Wianta and other students at the ASRI, Sika founded the Sanggar Dewata Indonesia (SDI) artists collective. These artists were young and dynamic, they loved to experiment with new techniques and aesthetic concepts. This was the prerequisite for artists who were invited to join this avant-garde collective.

After finishing his studies in Yogyakarta, Sika returned to Bali. Married at age 24 to lady from Yogyakarta with royal ancestry, he began a family and focused his energies on a furniture production business. “I specialized in creating individual, fine art pieces of furniture for the discerning buyer, featuring wood carving in the Renaissance Rococo style.”

“The business quickly grew and I employed more than 100 wood carvers. Indonesian government ministers from the Suharto era acquired this furniture for their homes and offices. All the while during this period I found time for my passion, I continued to paint.”

kasi-cinta-give-love-2008-150-x-200-cm                                               Kasih Cinta 2008

In 1982-83, Sika was summoned by the government to go to New Zealand and produce furniture for the Indonesian Embassy. Then in 1986 he traveled to Switzerland where he worked creating expressive carvings and bronze statues until 1987. He received an order in 1989 from a Museum in Basel to make a Barong (the Balinese sacred ceremonial artifact that represents universal benevolence) for their collection.

It was during this period when the head of the Christof Merian Foundation saw his paintings and invited him to join their program of International Exchange Artists. Sika’s premiere solo exhibition in Basel in 1989 was sold out. This then provided the personal belief required, and then he devoted more energy into his painting. “This was an exciting period, there was a momentum and my painting was improving, however, I had to return to Bali, my family required my attention, and so did my furniture business.”

“It was difficult for the SDI artists to find a location to exhibit their work in Bali and for this reason I founded the Sika Contemporary Art Gallery in Campuhan, Ubud as an exhibition venue. The gallery opened in 1996, at the time of the 25th anniversary of the formation of the SDI artists’ foundation.”

krishna-narayana-2009-300-x-200                                                     Krishna Narayana 2009

This non sales orientated gallery specializes in providing space to support regular exhibitions by talented young artists from Indonesia and around the world. The gallery has become a prestigious site with a reputation for showing work with a high level of creativity and innovation.

Sika was asked by the Christof Merian Foundation to select Indonesian artists to travel to Switzerland, to be sponsored by the foundation for 3 months. This allowed the artists to exhibit in the cultural museum in Basel and be exposed to galleries from London, Holland and Germany. Under Sika’s recommendation Nyoman Erawan, Made Budhiana, Made Djirna, Edi Hara, Made Wianta, Ketut Pandi Taman and Putu Sutawijaya all had the opportunity for international exposure. Today they are considered to be some of Indonesia’s finest contemporary art talents.

In 2001 Sika chose to step aside from the foundation and reassess his personal focus. “I had received a calling to dedicate myself to my spiritual journey. As an artist this was to have a profound affect and my work became more symbolic rather than being focused on harmony and composition.”

dewi-rati-2009-150-x-200-cm                                                          Dewi Rati 2009

He continued to organize group and community exhibitions as well as curating exhibitions and writing in books, catalogs, magazines and newspapers. His actions were also relevant in the development of new schools and kinder gardens in Bali. Sika had a series of health problems that saw him comatose on 3 occasions, once in 2003, again in 2006 and finally in 2009, when he hovered close to death for many days.

On this occasion he received visions which inspired a new series of paintings.

The Truth, Compassion and Tolerance Art Exhibition, open  16-24 October 2010 at the Sika Contemporary Fine Art Gallery, depicted the calamity of mankind, reflecting the conflict between good and evil, namely the systematic persecution of the Falun Dafa spiritual movement disciples by the Chinese Communist Regime. The powerful realism paintings featured by international artists re enforced on one hand, the state of beauty of the Falun Dafa movement and on the other, the horror it is confronted with in China. Since 2004 this exhibition has been shown in more than 40 countries and 200 cities.

During the past 45 years Sika has been given many paintings by international and Indonesian artists that he has met and helped during his lifetime. His personal art collection is now of a museum standard and quantity.

consent-2009-300-x-200cm                                                            Consent 2009

Sika nowadays paints purely on the prompting of his intuition. Paintings produced during the last 10 years have been mixed media works on large 2 x 2 meter canvases, symbolic images are purely of a spiritual nature. These works include written text on cloth conjuring up the movement and essence of Tibetan pray flags, figures in the style of Hindu deities, large lotus flowers and his channeled mantra’s written in Sanskrit text.The predominant colors are gold and white, while he delicately layers films of coloration giving the works an ethereal sense. The Balinese live in an intermediate world between that which is human and the realm of the Gods. Sika’s creativity originates from a divine source above.

His wish now is retire from the Sika Contemporary Fine Art Gallery and to focus solely on his spiritual development, while taking care of his family and grand children. His dream is to manifest an art foundation to oversee the management and future of his Gallery and its commitment to avant-garde artists.

Wayan Sika has established himself as one of the influential Balinese artists of his generation, and historically one of the most significant Indonesian contemporary fine art identities.

The Sika Contemporary Fine Art Gallery is located on Jalan Raya Campuhan, just up and across the road from Bintang Supermarket.

Phone/Fax: +62 361 975084

Email: info@sikagallery.com

Website: www.sikagallery.com

Words & Images: Richard Horstman

 

 

In a Class of His Own: Sculptor Pintor Sirait

20161006_103454                            Pintor Sirait at his Denpasar Studio

Art is a compelling force that interacts with, and enhances our conscious and subconscious minds. Shamans, masters of primitive art created with intention works rich in symbolic meaning that communicated via the language of the soul.

Knowledge of symbols, and how the subconscious ‘reads’ and responds to art are potent facets of Indonesian artist Pintor Sirait’s creative oeuvre. So much so that his gift of translating inspiration into wonderful 3 dimensional forms has distinguished him as one Indonesia’s most important contemporary sculptors.

Born in Germany in 1962 to a German mother and to a father of Batak, Sumatran origin, aged five Sirait arrived in West Java, and grew up in Bandung. He completed high school and a few years of college before moving abroad, studying psychology, and then sculpture in the United States.  His curiosity for deciphering the human psyche has led him upon a quest that has positioned him securely within the international art world.

DSCF5458                                           Brise at ArtJog9 June 2016

“I fell in love twice,” Sirait recalls. “First while living in the US I fell in love with the possibility of learning more about the world. I became obsessed with the library system, because in Indonesia we did not have one with such a wide range of reading material on art and culture. During my early twenties I did years of learning and absorbing. I had a fascination for Indonesian history; a hunger to know about my homeland.”

In 1984 Sirait moved to the US and between 1985-88 he studied a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts in Nevada. He accessed books about Indonesia containing knowledge that could only be found abroad. Following this he pursued psychology. “I was in the midst of doing my graduate studies on clinical psychology. I was a very serious student so my professor suggested I take some art classes to enhance my creative thinking abilities. I immediately became emotionally, physically, and spiritually captivated with the sculpture.”

20160928_114015                                               Model of Flow

Sirait abandoned his psychology studies and went straight to art school. Within a few years he was working between Indonesia, France and the US exhibiting and selling his work.  His artistic channel opened up as if the universe conspired with him to create an exciting and empowering new world. “I fell in love with the possibility of making things derived from my self-education.”

“I learned to meld my ideas into sculptures from a psychological/holistic perspective.

I combine the knowledge of psychology into my art to help understand the psyche and how the emotions work. Incorporating the psychological dimensions of how we sense, think and feel; how we engage with art.”

In recent years Sirait has been more focussed on any possibility to create public art. “Public art interacts with people allowing them to both see and feel.”

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The along awaited new development of the International Terminal 3 at Jakarta’s Soekarno – Hatta airport is currently entering the final stages of construction. Included within the terminal’s modern architectural design features PT. Angkasa Pura II, the airport’s management authority, will make a bold and exciting statement via Indonesian contemporary art.

In his search to find classical Indonesian beauty, translate and present it into a public artwork to enrich the modern architecture of Terminal 3, the beauty of the Balinese traditional dance “Rejang Dewa” communicated intimately to Sirait. Utilizing Japanese calligraphy he then responded with ink on paper.

“I translated the brush strokes into three different 3 dimensional shapes which became Flow – a stainless steel 1900 x 800 x 700 cm form that floats and sways, then cascades down over two levels of the airport terminal’s arrival hall. I wish Flow to remind Indonesians of how fortunate we are to have so many beautiful cultural inheritances to be proud of.”

20160928_114036                           Democracy Kills at Sirait’s Denapasar Studio

Venturing inside Sirait’s studio in South Denpasar one enters a large industrial workshop, it’s  nerve center a cozy air-conditioned office.  His fifteen staff he brought from Bandung, trained, and that have worked with him for 20 years hover around steel modules of ‘Flow’, meticulously engaged in aligning, and welding.

The environment is noisy, dirty, almost confronting. The tropical heat is extreme. Yet all the while there is an exciting interrelationship of dynamics at play. Patience and skill combine with intuition as man and machine melt and fuse components together. The sight of red-hot liquid metal is enthralling, sexy too!  It gives a sense of creativity in the translating of industrial materials into something that relates to human feeling. Alchemy is a vital essence of this process.

Some of the award-winning artist’s themes explore his Batak heritage, Indonesian culture and beauty, along with the paradoxes of the modern world, such as violence and obsession.

20160928_114505                  Detail of Democracy Kills (History is Closer ….Than You Think!)

“I grew up in Indonesia learning to work within its cultural boundaries. Through art you can open things up and talk about subjects artistically, yet with sensitivity and politeness. Art does not have to offend; sometimes it needs to though. Yet only in the right context – through the most creative, non-threatening and non-judgemental art.  I learned this from psychology.”

Dividing his time between his workshop and his home beside the ocean at Canggu, each morning Sirait rises early walks the beach, and then returns home for his ritual meditation. His second storey home studio allows him to gaze tranquilly westward, out across the sea.

His words of advice to aspiring young artists: “Its good to look around you, yet what’s most important is to look inside.”

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Sirait’s works can be found in the US, Europe, China, Southeast Asia, Australia and throughout Indonesia, while he has extensively exhibited for the past twenty years. A ‘product’ of three continents, he believes it is important to live within and outside of a culture in order to think freely as an artist.

“What one can find within oneself is fantastic.  What may be expressed through art can be felt more by other people because it has authentic elements derived from inner experience. What I am interested in as an artist is how I may touch people’s hearts through my work.”

http://www.pintorsirait.com

Words & Images: Richard Horstman