Tag Archives: Nyoman Erawan

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

Balinese Masters : Aesthetic DNA Trajectories of Balinese Visual Art

Open daily 11 AM  –  9 PM

AB•BC (Art Bali • Bali Collection) Building

Nusa Dua, Bali

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images: Richard Horstman & courtesy of HPM, Bali

 

 

 

 

 

Art Bali: a stepping-stone to a sustainable art ecosystem

sri mulyana, heri pemad & triawan munaf during the official opening of art bali - image courtesy of art baliMinister of Finance of the Republic of Indonesia, Sri Mulyani, Head of BeKraf, Triawan Munif and Heri Pemad during the opening of Art Bali 9 October 2018

 

Under wraps Art Bali, a world- class presentation of contemporary art by 39 Balinese, Indonesian and foreign artists in Nusa Dua, closed 9 November. The most anticipated art exhibition in the island’s recent history, it was Bali’s first venture into a realm of global art events.

The origins of Art Bali is the synergy of a relationship beginning in 1998 when Heri Pemad, CEO and Founder of ArtJog, Indonesia’s flagship contemporary art fair that has evolved into one of the most colourful and unique events on the global art map, and Balinese artist I Made Aswino Aji, were students studying fine art in Yogyakarta.

"self portrait" - filippo sciascia 2018 mixed media image richard horstman                            Self Portrait, 2018 – Filippo Sciascia

 

Pemad and Aswino Aji’s discussions began more than 3 years ago laying the event’s conceptual foundations, the catalyst in Art Bali’s realization, however, was Pemad’s relationship with BEKRAF (Agency for Creative Economy Indonesia). The opportunity arose when BEKRAF Director Triawan Munaf presented Pemad the challenge of organizing a special event to coincide with the annual meeting of the IMF & World Bank held in Nusa Dua Bali, 6 – 19 October.

According to Pemad the Indonesian government was inspired to include an event within the IMF –World Bank side program, the meeting was attended by 34,000 delegations from around 200 countries, “They wished to challenge the ideas of delegates visiting Indonesia for the first time that Indonesia was a still a traditional country. Through a presentation of contemporary art dialogue they could observe a nation in a process of development and change.”

entang wiharso_wisdom_aluminum, car paint, polyurethane, resin, graphite, steel bar, lightbulb, electric cable, thread, color pigment, lamp, stainless steel, chai                               Wisdom, 2018 – Entang Wiharso

 

Pemad’s immediate task was to create a branch of HPAM (Heri Pemad Art Management) in Bali with a local team, led by Aswino Aji. After two years of hard work and waiting for the Indonesian governmental bureaucratic process to fall into place the event was given the green light, which left two months for the physical details of Art Bali to become manifest.

Art Bali was opened by the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Indonesia Sri Mulyani 9 October. Held in a purpose built venue designed by Pemad and sited within the Nusa Dua tourism precinct in the AB•BC Building, set over 1000 square meters, it was erected in a whirlwind 40 days. “We are pushing Indonesian art onto the new map of the global creative economy,” said Triawan Munaf. “We are optimistic that the creative economy will become the backbone of the national economy.”

"the tragedy of resistance" made widya diputra 2018, mixed media image richard horstman                The Tragedy of Resistance, 2018 –  Made Widya Diputra

 

Global art events in Indonesia that present the finest local and international talent, attracting large national and international audiences, the media, collectors and the art industry have been a feature of the Java art landscape for over a decade. Art fairs, ArtJog and Art Jakarta have become crucial platforms and meeting points for the Indonesian art world – the event’s brands now securely positioned on the global art map.

“Art Bali will be an annual event,” Aswino Aji said. “The venue will become a new feature on the Bali landscape, in the pipeline is a series of regular events.” Art Bali, however, is the subject of speculation. If the event continues it could prove to be a vital game changer – a catalyst within the reconfiguration of an important economic sector that was the initial driver of the tourism economy on Bali almost a century ago.

galam zulkifli_seri ilusi - indonesia idea #voice face_acrylic, fluorescent, glow in the dark paint on canvas_400x600 cm (6 panels, each 200x200 cm)_2018             Seri Ilusi – Indonesia Idea #Voice Face, 2018 –  Galam Zulkifli

 

Art and cultural tourism was responsible for the first wave of tourism to the island beginning in the 1930’s, until 1945. In the 1970’s during a renewed period of tourism growth art and culture again played defining roles. Post 2008 witnessed the new phenomenon of lifestyle tourism, driven by events such as the Bali Spirit Festival, and the Ubud Readers & Writers Festival, along with the development of resort tourism, as the burgeoning new economic engines. The advancement of new digital technologies as practical and powerful tools has fuelled the rapid growth in these thriving sectors.

The lack of local initiative and know-how to build a dynamic and functional infrastructure has, however, resulted in art being almost forgotten within the island’s recent fortunes, with enormous social and monetary potential being unrealized – and this is where Art Bali becomes essential.

ashley bickerton "yello nose & orang nose" 2018 mixed media image richard horstman                Yello Nose & Orang Nose, 2018 – Ashley Bickerton

 

“Our aim is to help build a sustainable art eco system in Bali,” Aswino Aji stated.

For a sustainable art eco system to evolve three essential fundamentals from the 20th century global art machine must exist within the Bali art landscape; a world-class art fair, museum and auction house, all with international stature. Understanding and prioritizing the need to revive and preserve Bali’s renowned creative traditions is also vital. This may be achieved by a purpose built center for research and development that also focuses on the necessary platforms to launch products and talent into the 21st century global creative economy.

Each year Art Bali must inject fresh and exciting energy into its program, making it very international, with new artists and new works, building its brand beyond Indonesia; first targeting collectors from SE Asia, China, Japan and India. Understanding Art Bali’s target audience of national, regional and international art collectors, and being able to lure them to Bali will be one of the keys to its future success. When the above-mentioned key facets of the art infrastructure are in place, the other essentials will organically evolve.

courtesy of National Gallery of Indonesia                          The Traveller, 2018 – Eko Nugroho

 

For Art Bali to flourish and become the spearhead of a sustainable art eco system teamwork and collaboration is pivotal, including support from many Indonesian government ministries beyond BEKRAF, and likewise the cooperation from the Bali government. A challenge is how to mobilize the enormous pool of talent from Bali – its artists and art communities.

Art Bali needs to capitalize on the superb international branding power of Bali, while making a clear distinction from ArtJog by having an event with a strong Bali identity. A vision of how the sustainability of Bali’s art eco system can be achieved is possible. Art Bali is the first step in this process.

chusin setiadikara - "jejak-jejak jalur sutra" 2017 150 x 200cm oil & acrylic on canvas - image richard horstman                      Jejak-Jejak Jalur Sutra, 2017  – Chusin Setiadikara

 

nyoman erawan - "dancing with the shadows" 2018 mixed media image richard horstman               Dancing with the Shadows, 2018 – Nyoman Erawan

 

ab - bc bali collection building nusa dua, bali image richard horstman

 

www.artbali.co.id

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images courtesy of Art Bali & Richard Horstman

 

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

 

 

The Bali Art Scene 2016: The Final Six Months Overview

15878100_120300001416662373_1113857188_oBudi Agung Kuswara with patient from Rumah Berdaya, a community based psycho-social rehabilitation center utilizing art as a tool for creative solutions.

 

The concluding six months of events on the 2016 Bali art calendar were exceptionally busy; the following are some of the highlights of the closing half of the year:

In late May contemporary artist Budi Agung Kuswara, co-founder of Ketemu Project Space, began his special art project in Denpasar, co facilitated by a professional psychiatrist at “Rumah Berdaya”, a community based psycho-social rehabilitation center utilizing art as a tool for creative solutions. The project continued throughout the year providing activities for people with schizophrenia to encourage social interactions through art making, productivity and independence while expressing their ideas and thinking.

Skizofriends Art Movement will be an ongoing program following on from the success of Budi and colleague’s lobbying of the Denpasar Government to become supporters. In 2017 it will become a part of the Denpasar City Department Health Care Program, while Skizofriends Art Movement was involved in activities at the Denpasar Festival 2016 28-31 December at Lapangan Puputan, Denpasar.   Budi must be congratulated on this initiative aimed at empowering individuals and building community through engaging the public through the potent creative forces of art.

made-valasaraValasara’s Konstruksi semesta, semesta yang teralienasi menpertanyakan kediriannya dalam ekspresi tunggal.

Made Valasara made a conspicuous presence during ArtJog 9’s Universal Influence 27 May opening at the Jogja National Museum in Yogyakarta, Central Java. Being the only Bali based Balinese artist invited to exhibit his work was both an honour and an excellent opportunity for exposure to large national and international audiences. Valasara’s installation, konstruksi semesta, semesta yang teralienasi menpertanyakan kediriannya dalam ekspresi tunggal, a series of 25 individual works of various sizes, overall dimensions of 230 x 520cm stood out for its originality.

Adopting the canvas as a standalone medium, along with sewing techniques, he layers and fills the canvas to create 3 dimensional embossed and debossed compositions. His small white figures, presented behind glass revealed his evolving technique with the innovation of his debossed works. Valasara’s attention to narrative development too, revealed an engaging Balinese narrative.

widyantara-i-gede-late-hero-115-x-81-cm-acrylic-on-canvas-2015Gede Widyantara’s Last Hero 2016 which may be viewed upside down to reveal a demonic face.

Traces Under the Surface: Batuan Painting Exhibition, 3 June -31 July at TiTian Art Space, Ubud explored artistic lineage that evolved in the renowned village of traditional painting, Batuan. The exhibition focussed upon the teacher/student relationship following on from Nyoman Ngendon (1906-1946), a multi talented artist and innovator who experimented with perspectives, creating “unreal” 3 dimensionality within the early rigid framework of the Batuan paintings. Ngendon’s great distinction was that he believed in sharing his techniques, while persuading his students to break with traditions and become art innovators themselves.

Traces Under the Surface featured the lineage of Wayan Taweng (1922-2004) who learned to paint primarily from Ngendon, beginning at the age of eight, and later teaching his sons Ketut Sadia (b.1966), Wayan Diana (b.1977) and Made Griyawan (b.1979), along with others. Paintings by the fore mentioned Balinese artists, and Taweng’s grandson Gede Widyantara (b.1984) proved to be some of the finest examples of the Batuan genre and its process of innovation. Widyantara’s talent, that belies his age, reveals that the future of Batuan painting will indeed by exciting.

imhatthai-suwwathanasilp-murnis-temple-mixed-media-human-hair-thread-wood-glue-31-x-18-x-10-cm-image-courtesy-of-ketemu-project-spaceSleeping Murni by Thai artist Imhathai Suwatthanaslip, made with Murni’s hair.

A unique, palpable buzz welcomed the opening of Merayakan Murni (Celebrating Murni) 16 July at Sudakara Art Space, Sanur. The project, which gathered local and regional artists to create works in response to the legacy of the iconic female Balinese artist I GAK Murniasih (1966-2006) “Murni” proved to be one of the most anticipated Bali art events of recent history. Some of the highlights were works by artists Illa from Singapore, renowned Dutch “Indonesian” artist Mella Jaarsma, Imhathai Suwatthanaslip from Thailand, along with Punia Atmaja and Citra Sasmita from Bali.

Murni was an artist of rare quality, unequalled in Indonesia at least. Along with such reverence comes great emotional attachment to the artist by her many friends and admirers, the exhibition therefore was not without critics. Some critics stated the Sudakara venue was too small and the exhibition included too many international artists, and as a consequence failed grant enough space in order for Murni’s ouvre to be fully appreciated by the audience, many of which had yet to be exposed to her work.

Others thought the exhibition overly ambitious, attempting to achieve too much, too soon, while the film about Murni could have represented a more positive theme. Event organizers Ketemu Project Space, along with their young and energetic team proved, however that their presence on the Bali art scene is indeed exciting, with enormous, yet to be realized potential.

20160703_112528                            At The Point of View#4 – Radwin Nurlatif

At The Point of View opened Friday 1 July at Santrian Gallery Sanur, with Radwin Nurlatif presenting one of the most outstanding photography exhibitions of 2016. Curated by Rifky Effendy, the exhibition captivated not only for its high standards of technical quality and presentation of superbly beautiful aesthetic and conceptual images (giclée prints on Hahnemühle photo rag ultra smooth 305 gsm), yet in the simplicity of some of the digital images that wonderfully contrasted women with nature, or women in surreal compositions.

kemal-ezedine-2016-asj-image-richard-horstmanKemal Ezedine was represented by Edwin’s Gallery Jakarta at Art Stage Jakarta 2016

The presence of Balinese artists at Indonesia’s two international art fairs held in Jakarta, Art Stage Jakarta 5-7 August & Bazaar Art Jakarta 2016 25-28 August help to consolidate Bali’s growing presence on the Indonesian art world, which during recent years has tended to be dominated by artists from Java and West Sumatra. While Art Stage, among its hundreds of exhibitors featured only three Indonesian Bali based artists, Agung Mangu Putra, Made Valasara and Kemal Ezedine (along with Ashley Bickerton), Bazaar Art Jakarta, on the other hand featured the work of 13 artists.

From the traditional genre was Nyoman Meja (b. 1950, Ubud), others artists present were Nyoman Gunarsa, Made Wianta, Nyoman Erawan, Agung Mangu Putra, Gede Mahendra Yasa, Wayan Kun Adnyana, Teja Astawa, Kemal Ezedine, Ketut Moniarta, Tang Adiawan, Putu Wirantawan, Wayan Mandiyasa and Ketut Sumadi. Erawan’s installation at the Mon Décor Art One booth provided a strong contrast to what was on display at the fair, while being deeply engaging.

mangu-putra-pura-puncak-mangu-2016-oil-on-canvas-200x300cm                Pura Puncak Mangu 2016 – Agung Mangu Putra

Paskal Gallery’s acute eye for display, allowing attendees from a distance to be captured by the alluring and mysterious qualities of the 190 x 290 cm oil on canvas composition Pura Puncak Mangu, by Agung Mangu Putra confirmed why he is regarded as one of Indonesia’s most respected painters. His scene of a group of Balinese people praying at the remote mountain top temple in Buleleng was one of the highlights of Bazaar Art. The Neo Pitamaha collective made a strong presence at Bazaar Art with works exhibited by four artists and Jakarta’s Edwin’s Gallery confirmed their confidence in Kemal Ezedine by dedicating their entire booth at both fairs to the Ubud resident artist.

Sanur based Swedish painter Richard Winkler, also present at both fairs represented by Zola Zulu Gallery of Bandung, also enjoyed strong sales with his eye-catching and technically brilliant ‘utopian Bali’ compositions. Sotheby’s presented contemporary works by Mangu Putra and Mahendra Yasa in the preview of their Hong Kong Autumn Sale, while Sidharta Auctioneers presented Gunarsa and Meja, and ISA Art Advisory presented modern works by Arie Smit (1919-2016) and Adrian Le Mayeur (1880-1958).

ida-bagus-made-nadera-fajar-mengjingsing-1949                   Ida Bagus Made Nadera – Fadjar Mengjingsing 1945

A landmark event in the history of Indonesian modern art, held from 2 – 30 August at Jakarta’s National Gallery of Indonesia was 17/71, Goresan Juang Kemerdekaan (Brushstrokes of the Independence Struggle). Presenting 28 paintings from the collection (over 3000 works) assembled by Indonesia’s founding father President Sukarno the exhibition was opened on August 17th, on the 71st anniversary of the proclamation of independence by the Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

Ida Bagus Made Nadera’s (1912-1988) beautiful 188 x 300 cm modern traditional composition Fadjar Mengjingsing made a special presence, along with works by Walter Spies and Rudolf Bonnet in an exhibition featuring scenes of the independence struggle by Indonesian maestros such as Affandi, Sudjojono and Srihadi alongside pictures of iconic Indonesia.

20160827_191628                                                  Arie Smit (1916-2016)

During the 27 August seminar at Ubud’s Neka Art Museum, a gathering of over 100 members of the Balinese art community, and distinguished guests Suteja Neka and Agung Rai, and paid homage to the legacy of the Dutch post-modern colourist Arie Smit (1916-2016). The iconic painter, who left a distinguished mark in the history of art in the region, passed away 23 March, only days short of his 100th birthday.

Renowned for his vibrant landscape paintings and scenes of Balinese village life Smit is a much-loved artist; his work forms part of collections in Indonesia, and throughout the world.

He started teaching painting to young boys in the village of Penestanan in 1960, beginning the “Young Artists Style”, while at its height there were more than 300 practitioners. He helped transform the village, and prosper economically, being both an art teacher and a father figure to the village. Smit’s passing is a monumental loss to the canon of Southeast Asian art, while the Young Artist Style is one of the most exciting developments in Balinese art in the later half of the 20th Century.

made-wianta-receives-the-award-from-bali-governor-mangu-pastikaMade Wianta receives the Bali Mandara Parama Nugraha 2016 Award from the Governor Mangku Pastika.

A special 30 August ceremony at Taman Budaya Cultural Center Denpasar by the Bali Government honoured local figures who have made important contributions to Bali. An icon of Bali contemporary art, internationally renowned, Made Wianta (b. 1949, Tabanan) received the Bali Mandara Parama Nugraha 2016 Award from the Governor Mangku Pastika in highest appreciation of promoting Bali through contemporary art.

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Often overshadowed by the southern regencies of Gianyar, Badung and Tabanan, Buleleng is not only home to a unique Balinese art history (Van Der Tuuk in 1845 and his commissioning of Balinese artists work for his research into the first dictionary of the Balinese language), yet a community of talented artists. Exhibitions by artists from Buleleng are held annually in the southern regencies, and on 22 October Qilin – Membaca Social Budaya Warga Pecinan Kota Singaraja (Socio-cultural readings of Singaraja’s Chinatown Residents) opened at Neka Art Museum in Ubud, and continued for one month.

Based upon curatorial research led by Hardiman, from the Art Department of UNDISKHA University in Singaraja, along with his young team of Made Susanta Dwitanaya, Dewa Gede Purwita, Ketut Wisana Ariyanto and Gede Panca Gautama, into the culture of the Chinese Tionghoa community, the group exhibition delved into spiritual and religious practises, artefacts and there traces, stories from their literature, and portraits of figures from the community. Of the many highlights were the eight collective works, including Spreading Qilin, an installation of terracotta Chinese dragon characters.

20161023_161947A Brutal Contrast of Concrete and Kamasan Painting combined street art along with paintings from selected emerging local talent from Batuan, Ubud, Tabanan and Denpasar.

Cahyendra Putra and the Neo Pitamaha Invite You To: A Brutal Contrast of Concrete and Kamasan Painting opened 23 October will be recorded in the annals of Balinese art history. The outsider exhibition, which in many ways was noteworthy, was underpinned by a long-awaited and fresh approach to presenting art in Ubud, outside of the conventional gallery, art space and museum format.

This collaborative project, organized by Kemal Ezedine, features street art by artists from Bali & Jakarta, along with paintings from selected emerging local talent from Batuan, Ubud, Tabanan and Denpasar. Set within the gutted interior of a building, twenty young artists revealed their interpretation of the famous Bali 1930’s Pita Maha artist’s association in dynamic contemporary art that challenges the establishment. Highlights included works by Wayan Budiarta, Wayan Aris Sumanta and street artists Ego, Saf, Ola, and Slinart.

20160817_111722                                      Bali LandscapesWillem Kerseboom

Bali Landscapes by Dutch painter Willem Kerseboom opened at TiTian Art Space, Ubud 28 October (continuing until late January 2017). Kerseboom, who shares his time between Holland/Belgium and his home North Bali presented acrylic landscape compositions of a rare quality. His imaginary, abstract snapshots, are deeply engaging, while being a fine creative contribution to the long line of Dutch artists who have been inspired by Bali.

jiri-kudrna-light-plane-photography                             Light Plain Photographs – Jiri Kudrna

Ubud based Swiss engineer and software developer Jiri Kudrna, a pioneer in experimental photography has made major contributions to the development of contemporary photography. Kudrna’s contributions to Age of Photography #2, open 15 – 28 November at the National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta were from his inventions that created Light Plain Photographs (LPP), and his three interactive installations, Space – Time Variations.

 LPP’s are fantastic images using a plain of light and a camera to record photographs with unique optic effects – a fusion of the four-time space dimensions – while the subject is housed within a dark room and participates within their own unique photographic procedure. Kudrna’s Space – Time Variations were very popular with exhibition audience who created over 1800 pictures in four days, and were also able to upload the images onto social media platforms.

Power Playing works by Arum & Ida Adi.jpg                      Power Playing – Images by Arum & Ida Adi at Lingkara

Lingkara Photography Community of Denpasar is an alternative platform for contemporary photographers in Bali. Over recent years Lingkara have presented a range of quality collaborative exhibitions and events. Driven by a small core group of dedicated artists Lingkara not only strive to support the collective, yet seek out professional opportunities by engaging with and representing artists via product development and management.

Power Playing opened 20 November presenting mostly large-scale works by Candra Mpu Glimblond, Christina Arum, Ida Adi, Ismail Ilmi, Rudi Waisnawa and S.R. Awy. While the artists individual techniques involved varying processes, such as re printing images, painting, collage with the help of additional tools, mirrors, candles and magnifying tools to make impressions, the final large-scale results which were applied to the walls were a single photograph without digital enhancement. Lingkara are making important contributions to the development of contemporary photography in Bali and Power Playing was a very strong collective showing, while Arum’s technically labor intensive work was one of the highlights.

mangu-putra-2016-puputan-badung-the-fall-of-badung-kingdom-2-oil-on-canvas-370-x-150-cm         Puputan Badung 1906 (The Fall of Badung Kingdom # 1) – Agung Mangu Putra

Agung Mangu Putra: Between History and the Quotidian ran from 25 November – 12 December at Singapore’s Gajah Gallery. Mangu Putra continues his research into critical Dutch colonial events that shaped Indonesian and Balinese history. Highlights were Puputan Badung 1906 (The Fall of Badung Kingdom # 1& 2) 2016 & 2014, compositions pieced together from archival accounts and images into enormous paintings up 370 x 1590 cm in size. The works reveal the story of the Dutch colonial army’s confrontation with the Kingdom of Badung in Kesiman, Denpasar in 1906 that resulted in the tragic puputan event (act of ritual suicide).

Mangu Putra’s investigation into these events are important because these events occurred during a crucial era of the nation’s history and theses events without more historical examination may become historical myths.

20170103_170338                     Ashley Bickerton‘s sculptures at Follow the White Cube

The Pop-Up gallery concept is new to Ubud, Bali and was successfully adopted by Honold Fine Art twice in 2016. Follow the White Cube opened 26 November at Italian artist Filippo Sciascia’s studio in Nyuh Kuning. The exhibition featured work by artists Jumaldi Alfi, Marco Cassani, Ashley Bickerton, Fendry Ekel, Bepi Ghiotti, Yusra Mantunus, Narcisse Tordior and Filippo Sciascia.

Set within a ‘white cube’ display areas that lent well to strong, yet conventional viewing experience, the works ranged from paintings through to sculpture, installation and video art presented exciting contrasts. While the spontaneity of the Pop-Up concept is a fresh and much-needed addition to the Ubud art scene.

doors-of-perception-made-aswino-aji                              Doors of Perception 2016 – Made Aji Aswino

CROSSING: Beyond Baliseering presented some of the finest emerging contemporary artist from Bali at Forty-Five Downstairs Gallery, Melbourne, Australia, open 6 December. Reflecting upon Bali’s visual and social culture while exploring themes of personal life experiences, environmental, social and political issues in the contemporary society, the exhibition showcased paintings, photography, sculptures, and large-scale installations.

In the most important international group showing of Balinese contemporary art outside of Indonesia that featured Art of Whatever, Made Aji Aswino, Budi Agung Kuswara, Citra Sasmita, Kemal Ezedine, Made ‘Dalbo’ Suarimbawa, Natisa Jones, Slinat, Made Valasara, Wayan Upadana and Yoesoef Olla, highlights included Aswino Aji’s monumental two-sided wood craving installation, Doors of Perception 2016, 250 x 300 x 80 cm, a representation of a candi (traditional Balinese temple entry), along with works by‘Dalbo’ Suarimbawa, Upadana, Slinart and Citra Sasmita.

5-kasper-x-nedsone-teges-ubud                                 Lukas Kasper& Nedsone at work during Way Up

Bali’s ever evolving street art movement is increasingly discovering new sights to enliven along the streets of urban Denpasar and within the villages of the Badung and Gianyar Regencies. Way UpStreet Art Collaboration Project initiated by Cata Odata, Allcapsstore and Lukas Kasper began in November 2016 and will continue through until the end of January 2017.

The project was born through the meeting of Cata Odata and Australian artist Lukas Kasper beginning with the idea to contribute vibrantly to Ubud’s street areas and to collaborate with nine street artists from Bali on 20 walls. Local artists include Nedsone, Kmis3, Lezart, Slinat, Yapstwo, Sleeck, and 1escv. The event included the Way Up online map on the website and the 17 December Spray Jam workshop, and Kelas Belajar sharing session 18 December at Cata Odat, and the #UbudScavengerHunt. 17 December through 11 January which will include a prize to the winner.

http://way-up.cataodata.com/follow-the-map.html

putu-wirantawan-2016                  Contemporary Art from Bali – Installation by Putu Wirantawan 2016

Contemporary Art from Bali opened 15 December at LAF (Langgeng Art Foundation) Yogyakarta, and continues through until 31 January 2017. Curated by Rifky Effendy and Gede Mahendra Yasa the show featured some of the finest contemporary artists currently working in Bali, foreigners, Indonesians and Balinese: Ketut Susena, Ketut Samadi, Made Aswino Aji, Teja Astawa, Natisa Jones, Wayan Mandiyasa, Ketut Suwidiarta, Putu Wirantawan, Ashley Bickerton, Marco Cassani, Filippo Sciascia, Ketut Moniarta, Kemal Ezedine, Wayan Upadana, Made Valasara and Rodney Glick.

Overshadowed by the traditional art scene, and often overlooked within the context of the Indonesian art world contemporary art and the art infrastructure is on the rise in Bali. Making an important statement within the context of Indonesian contemporary art, in the Javanese cultural and creative heartland with its ever-evolving art infrastructure and eco system, this exhibition is the most important collective showing of contemporary art from Bali held in Indonesia in 2016.

20161230_175209                        Inside of Being  – Installation by Pande Ketut Taman 2016

The 30 December opening at the Tony Raka Art Gallery punctuated the end of 2016 and friendship and creative achievement by four Balinese contemporary artists, alumni of the Indonesian Art Insititue SI Yogyakarta. Inside of Being highlighted the talents of Putu Sutawijaya, Made Sumadiyasa, Made Mahendra Mangku & Pande Ketut Taman, artists who have shared friendships for over 30 years, while at the same time during their individual careers making significant contributions to the development of Balinese art. The exhibition, which includes paintings, both small and large-scale, and installations will continue through until 30 January, including an Artist’s Talk from 3pm 5 January at Tony Raka Art Gallery.

Such a report would not be fully complete without highlighting the stoic efforts of Warih Witsatsana and his small army of dedicated assistants at the Bentara Budaya Bali Cultural Center. Their consistent weekly programs throughout the year are a shining light in the support and development of Bali’s thriving creative culture.

With an emphasis upon education via lectures, discussions, presentations and hands on workshops, especially for the younger generations, Bentara Budaya’s one of a kind model is an inspiration to other aspiring art and cultural facilities on the island. 2016’s broad range of events, including numerous collaborations with international artists, institutes, and organizations highlights their open platform to global cultural expressions, while underlining Bali’s internationally renowned welcoming attitude to foreign cultures and creative expressions.

Words: Richard Horstman

Images: Richard Horstman & various photographers