Tag Archives: Ida Bagus Alit

Art eccentric – Ida Bagus Alit

Ida Bagus Alit                             The effervescent Ida Bagus Alit

 

The art world adores eccentric characters.

Lurking beneath the exterior of Balinese artist Ida Bagus Alits’ wacky persona is, however, a highly practical, compassionate and intelligent man. These traits meld into an effervescent personality that enchants everyone he meets.

Within the Balinese art world Gus Alit, as he is affectionately known, is a popular and unique figure; painter, sculptor, photographer, event organizer and art collective leader. A member of a well-known Brahmin high caste family in Denpasar, there is an aristocratic air about him, especially when attired in traditional costume and sporting his suave reading glasses. Yet one is not to be intimidated or coy within his presence, Gus Alit is as playful, and as friendly as a kitten.

Gus Alit’s passion for photography has drawn him along two distinctive paths. He is dedicated to documenting Balinese religious ceremonies around the island, capturing rare events, and the unique traditional costumes that characterize separate villages.  He does, however love to experiment with painting techniques upon printed images on canvas, striving to achieve new aesthetic results with his art photography.

Ida Bagus Alit, "No Doubt" 2014.                                No Doubt – Ida Bagus Alit

Grinning happily as he reveals images captured on his iPhone, his ever-ready pocket camera, Gus Alit explains one of the “secrets” of his photographic technique. The photos are of young Balinese women clad in traditional dress, glamorous and alluring – the iconic image of Balinese feminine beauty.

“At first they are shy, some even refuse to be photographed,” he says referring to his initial meetings with the models. “Yet I always win them over with a joke and my humor quickly sets them at ease.”   His photos recount the process of their transition from being restrained and rigid, to being relaxed and glowing in front of the camera. “Its important to make your models feel comfortable in order to capture and allow their inner beauty to shine.”

27797357_1905610429450254_2276016392130748197_o                              The Beautiful Balinese – Ida Bagus Alit

There are often visitors to Griya Satria Art House, Gus Alit’s family’s home on Jalan Veteran, opposite the bird market in Denpasar. They may be friends, family, or new acquaintances, locals and foreigners, all curious to see the collection of art on display set in lush tropical gardens while being enhanced by traditional Balinese architecture.   Recently more and more young couples, brides and grooms in traditional costume, stop by to be photographed by professional photographers, surrounded by Gus Alit’s unusual paintings and sculptures. The consequences are unique momentos that they surely will look back on with pride.

“This is a new era in photography,” Gus Alit says with a cheeky smile stretching from ear to ear.“ They now go from the Bali museum to Griya Satria Art House for their wedding photos.”

Of course Gus Alit jumps into the action and captures the couples in all their glory, as well. Often he will print the photo onto canvas then paint the background in his flamboyant style. If the subject is a friend he may gift them with the work, however many of his subjects upon seeing his creations, request to buy these unique images directly from him.

Ida Bagus Alit, "Friendship" 2011, acrylic on canvas                                   Friendship – Ida Bagus Alit

“What is important is not to copy,” exclaims Gus Alit. “True art must come from the heart.”

As the long serving president of B.I.A.S.A (Bali Indonesia Sculptors Association), he is a driving force in the promotion and preservation of traditional woodcarving, and contemporary sculpture in Bali. I question Gus Alit on the value of art collectives in Bali, which he believes are essential to the development of local art.

“As individuals or groups its important to know our strengths and weaknesses. Through this we will learn the ways and methods to move ahead. Learning is life long education,” he states with a wisdom that almost belies his jovial character. “As the head of B.I.A.S.A I take the time to visit each of the members and discuss with them their challenges and I help to provide solutions. B.I.A.S.A is like a big family to me.” Gus Alit is well versed in the concept of leadership with the heart.

 

IMGP4843                                Sculpture by Ida Bagus Alit

Abstract and figurative wood cravings are a fusion of the rich natural rhythms of the timber intertwined with faces and figures. Although they are not always be beautiful, Gus Alit introduces imaginative possibilities, while adhering to a yin/yang theme. Some of his sculptures he paints in an outrageous manner that none dare to copy.

While contemplating his paintings the observer may wonder what on earth are these creations! Are they the musings of a complete oddball? His large compositions, some canvases measuring over 4 meters in width, each, however, have themes taken from his culture, for example Tri Hita Kirana, the Balinese philosophy of three fold harmony between man, nature and the gods.

Gus Alit’s paintings are as eccentric as is his personality. A fusion of bright colors, figures and forms, they are both surrealistic and dynamic at once. Adaptations from the Wayang Kulit shadow puppet-theater and traditional masks, his figures and faces have evolved into quirky, other worldly creatures. Akin to galactic landscapes that flow across the canvas his compositions express humor while accentuating that art should be fun to create.

IMGP4842                             Painting by Ida Bagus Alit

“To be a real artist you have to be free and strive to create your own works under your own responsibility.”

His C.V lists the exhibitions he has participated in over the past 40 years, numbering well over one hundred. Born in Denpasar 1947, Gus Alit’s works have been displayed in many countries, while his buyers come from every corner of the planet. In 2006 he participated in an artist in residency program, as well as having a solo exhibition at the Vermont Studio Center, USA. A self-taught artist, who regularly travels abroad, his initial childhood inspiration has come from studying his artist father, Ida Bagus Agung.

Watching him chiseling away at a carving, with an eye for detail, while being the picture of focus and determination, his wiry hands and arms are powerful, yet sensitive as well. Gus Alit values the virtues and importance of art and culture above himself, is an asset to the island, and a proud ambassador of the Balinese arts.

IMGP4855                                 Sketches by Ida Bagus Alit

Gus Alit welcomes visitors at Griya Satria Art House,Jalan Veteran, opposite the bird market in Denpasar.

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images: Ida Bagus Alit, Monika Kiraly & Richard Horstman

 

 

 

 

“ArtDenpasar” – Denpasar Art Space

made-budhiana-gunung-dan-kehidupan-2016-acrylic-on-paper                          “Gunung dan Hidupan” 2010 – Made Budhiana

The opening of the Denpasar Art Space (DAS), its potential to stimulate the development of Bali’s art scene, is good reason for optimism within the local art community. Highlighted by the inaugural exhibition “ArtDenpasar” open 20 August, this is a positive signal from the Denpasar City Government in their belief in the value of art, and how it can contribute to the local tourism and creative economies.

“In the spirit of the anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Indonesia on 17 August, from the Denpasar Art Space we present “ArtDenpasar”, the inaugural exhibition marking the start of this venue as a new cultural enclave,” said Chairman of the BPPD (Regenial Board for Tourism Promotion) of the City of Denpasar Ida Bagus Gde Sidharta Putra.

20160916_144445                      “Legong Tapak Dara” 2016 – Ida Bagus Putra Adnyana

“The BPPD evolved two years ago as a partner with the Denpasar City administration to improve the international image of tourism, to increase tourism arrivals, foreign exchange earnings, and to conduct research into business development and tourism.”

Situated in the heart of the city on Jalan Surapati, opposite the popular Lapangan Puputan Badung and the nearby Museum Bali, DAS will complement Denpasar as a cultural destination, while adding excitement to the creative art scene.

“Consolidating the image of tourism while introducing Denpasar as a city heritage, a city of culture and creativity, will make Denpasar more attractive to visitors and art lovers  from around the world,” Sidharta Putra said. “Understanding that art and cultural tourism is important to Bali, the increasing preservation and development of traditional and contemporary art and culture are assets to future tourism development.”

20160916_144316                                     “Heritage” 2016 – Romi Sukadana

Well known historian and art critic Jean Couteau said, “ Of course a venue such as the Denpasar Art Space is much needed, with a team of curators, budget, autonomy, and with a strong future vision. Its ability to create large-scale and collaborative events in other venues is also important.”

ArtDenpasar, which continues through until 20 September features works by well-known local artists within the Bali art scene including Achmad Pandi, Apel Hendrawan, Ari Winata, Tjandra Kirana, Dayu Bulan Oka, DP Arsa, Gung Man, Gus Alit, I.B Ari Munartha, I.B Putu Purwa, I.B Putra Adnyana, I.B Putu Gede Sutama, Jango Pramartha, Listya Wahyuni, Made Budhiana, Made Duatmika, Made Wianta, Made Wiradana, Ni Nyoman Sani, Nyoman Wirata, Romi Sukadana, Teja Astawa, Uuk Paramahita, Wayan Paramartha and Wayan Redika. The opening was punctuated with a performance by renowned Bali based, Japanese choreographer and dancer Jasmine Okubo.

20160916_142906     “When She’s Thirsty I Give Her My Bloodstain” 2016 – Dayu Bulan Oka

Made Budhiana (b. Denpasar1959) is responsible for creating a fresh, new direction in Balinese abstract art. “Gunung & Kehidupan” 2010, mixed media on canvas, is a fine example where colorful, angular and abstract forms combine and contrast against blank areas of canvas. The negative spaces formed in the composition become powerful and interesting visual features. His style allows both form and color greater freedom to become individual features within his compositions, while adding to the overall aesthetic impact.

Ni Nyoman Sani is widely respected as a multi disciplined Balinese female artist, recently, however she has been quiet on the local art scene and her participation in ArtDenpasar is a welcome respite. Sani exhibits “Present” 2016, a panel of four 30 x 21 cm charcoal on paper sketches featuring simplified angular figurative forms in fashion designs.

20160916_143013                             “Negeriku Indonesia” 2016 – Achmad Pandi

Romi Sukanda is a talented and versatile Sanur born painter. “Heritage” 2016, is an oil on canvas composition of traditional Balinese jukung fishing boats, featuring the characteristic Gajah Mina forms decorating the bow. Once a common sight along the beaches of Bali’s the iconic Gajah Mina, or elephant fish, is a mythical guardian creature taken from local folklore tasked with fortifying the boat during its journeys out on the seas.

Contemporary art photographer DP Arsa highlights the strength and durability of Indonesian women in his photo installation “Super Mom” featuring images of women carrying enormous loads upon their heads, each printed on round steel plates.

20160916_144539                                    “Tainted Love” 2016 – Jango Pramartha

Dayu Bulan Oka is also another talented local female artist and her acrylic and oil composition “When She’s Thirsty I Give Her My Bloodstains” 2016 is a vibrant and potent work. Her thought-provoking observation about urban and city life features a naïve composition of a cat with big eyes and long white claws, dark red contrast against blue and black coloration giving the work strong visual tension. The cat’s body is decorated with crude forms resembling buildings and physical structures.

Ida Bagus Putu Purwa contributes “Body Movements, The Series” 2015, a dynamic and spontaneous figurative work in his popular signature style. Renowned for his humorous and satirical cartoons in Bali’s iconic Bog-Bog Magazine Jango Pramartha’s naïve “Tainted Love” 2016, is a highlight of the exhibition. This refreshing acrylic and charcoal work on paper is both balanced and restrained in its coloration and composition structure.

20160916_142943                                  “Denpasar Moon” 2016 – Nyoman Wirata

One of the highlights of the ArtDenpasar  exhibition is “Denpasar Moon” by Nyoman Wirata. Dynamic coloration and  abstract elements combine to  dominate the composition that at a glance is both mysterious and intriguing. Upon closer inspection, symbolic forms are revealed from within the depths of its milieu referencing the Balinese Hindu culture. Three distinctive layers form the composition, symbolic of  heaven, earth and the underworld, flowers and  figurative forms appear as if floating and dancing around the composition. “Denpasar Moon” reflects the endless process of birth, destruction and renewal.

Incredible detail and technical skill are highlighted in Wayan Redika’s painting “Ayah Dari Bunda Jauh”, while Ari Winata’s two contributions reveal his versatility and talent as well. Three dimensional works add to the strength of the exhibition, including the wood craving “Mari Menari” by Ida Bagus Ari Munartha, a wonderfully balanced figurative composition, “Taksu Segara” 2016 by Apel Hendrawan, Ida Bagus Alit’s humorous and eccentric large breasted figure “Nyonyo Lambih”, and Ida Bagus Putu Gede Sutama’s contemporary work made from timber and steel “Terkoyak” 2016.

Words & Images: Richard Horstman

20160915_132005                                   “Taksu Segara” 2016 – Apel Hendrawan

20160916_143320                                    “Bluish Calligraphy” 2014 – Made Wianta

20160916_144031                                             Painting by Ari Winata

20160916_144514                                            “Super Mom!” 2016 – DP Arsa

20160916_143345                         “Ayah Dari Bunda Jauh” 2016 – Wayan Redika