Thursday, July 6, 2017

Featured Paintings in Our Auction

(Lot #106)

Sigit Santosa, F. Bumi Yang Tersisa Bagi Anakku, 1997. oil on canvas (70cm x 70cm). Signed and dated on lower left: "Sigit Santosa 1997". 
A prime example of Indonesian contemporary art, this piece by Sigit Santosa addresses environmental issues and the social impact of global warming. Bumi Yang Tersisa Bagi Anakku (The Earth that is Left For My Child), discusses the inevitable infertility and pollution that our present generation will leave behind for future generations. 

Sigit Santosa is critical of contemporary issues concerning socio-politics in particular, using art as a medium to address these issues through conceptualisation. He does so through installations and sculptures as well as paintings. 

The woman in the centre overlooks the gates to a factory, dressed in an smooth green dress, clasping an evergreen in her hands. Her face is unknown to the audience, elusive and a stranger. She is with child as seen through her form, which suggests natural processes juxtaposed against an unnatural setting. The sky is blue but grim, with toxic waste coming out from the factory tower. The soil is barren and is devoid of plants littered with tree stumps.

With symbolic and careful composition, Sigit Santosa creates an atmosphere so grim in which he uses to foreshadow the inevitability of a toxic barren Earth if global warming were to continue. Using painting and art as his medium, this piece serves as a warning to humankind, a stellar example of critical postmodern painting. 

(Lot #108)
Nasirun. Mythological Scene, 2016. oil on canvas (90cm x 70cm). Signed and dated on lower right: "nsrun 2016".

Nasirun's work is, without a doubt, unworldly and always filled with colour and odd shapes. He is playful and experimental, especially seen through his bold use of colour and distorted figures. Nasirun, unshakeably Javanese, he gets inspiration from wayang, the art of traditional Indonesian shadow puppetry, an art so popular amongst the Javanese that it transcends into the creations of Indonesian contemporary artists. 

This influence is seen through the distorting of Nasirun's figures: disproportionate with wide eyes, large heads, small waists, fluid arms, and so forth as seen in this Mythological Scene. By doing so, he hopes to recontextualise and revive the traditional art form, by means of socio-political commentary and a hint of irony and humour as a means to criticise contemporary issues. 

His brushwork dances on the surface, expressive and impulsive, creating an unworldly atmosphere, as if looking into an entranced ritual. 

(Lot #110)

Heri Dono. Apapun Makannya Yang Penting Minumnya Teh Botol, 2006. acrylics on canvas (2006). Signed and dated on lower right: "heri dono 2006"

The artist who represented Indonesia and the Indonesian Pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale, Heri Dono shines through socio-political commentary with humour and parody. His comical style, his bright use of colours, his symbolism and his humour are all staples of the artist, as one can see within this painting. Born and raised in Yogyakarta, he was no stranger to the art of wayang as a child. He studied this art with a dalang, a master puppeteer, before pursuing a career in painting, and carried with him the philosophy, attributes and symbolism into his art. Needless to say, this deep influence of wayang mixed together with his comical and pop culture references, Heri Dono's works are never one devoid of meaning and concept. 

With Apapun Makannya Yang Penting Minumnya Teh Botol (Whatever You Eat What's Important is to Drink Teh Botol), a shining politician is seen grinning in the middle, identified with the peci, or hat, suit and tie. He has emblems on his forehead, hat and suit, alluding to prestige and accomplishment; however, these emblems include symbols such as a bottle and  that Heri puts forward as a subliminal meaning, playing around with the signifier and the signified.

The holistic colour scheme falls down to red and white, perhaps an allusion to the Indonesian flag, with black as an accessory of perhaps even an addition to his concept. Nevertheless, this pokes at our national integrity, 

(Lot #121)

Bunga Jeruk Permata Pekerti. Super Curators, 2002. oil on canvas (70cm x 70cm). Signed and dated on lower left: "Bunga 2002". 
Bunga Jeruk works in a youthful and colourful world of pop and humour. Her work bright and hopeful, especially seen through her subject matter, yet occasionally underpinned by socio-political commentary. 

With Super Curators, she pokes at the personality and individuality using signifiers: the rabbit on the shoulder and the halo that surround the two figures. The rabbit may allude to the magician's rabbit, or, paired with the adjacent halo, the idea of a devil and angel accompanying our person at all times. The silhouettes of these figures are devoid of identity and could be a personal reference to Bunga Jeruk herself. 

A simple yet ambiguous piece of work, this painting leaves the audience wondering and definitely a steal from this emerging contemporary artist.

(Lot #208)
SudarsoPerempuan Berpayung, 1969. oil on canvas (140cm x 80cm). Signed and dated on lower left: "Sudarso '69"

As a close comrade and Bung Karno's favorite painter back in the hay days, Sudarso is a painter of unparalleled qualities. His contemporaries were often swayed by Western artists such as Matisse and Van Gogh, yet Sudarso kept to his quaint and authentic Javanese style. He was commonly known amongst his peers and the art world as The Last Javanese Artist.

A man of deep Javanese roots, the principle subject matter of his works is mostly local women, sitting down and in traditional dress known as a kebaya. He appreciated beauty and harmony, and did so by engendering the humble beauty of his female models. Within his works, the majority of his models carry no expression; hands and legs are crossed, carrying with them a sense of a reserved and obedient disposition. 

However, with one of our featured lots, his Perempuan Berpayung (Girl Under an Umbrella), is an unusual piece: a typical Sudarso-esque female is present in the painting, dressed in traditional kebaya with a lush landscape behind her. However, unlike his other models, she is depicted standing in profile, keeping a sense of mystery to her identity and her intentions. Her face and expression are kept from the audience as she looks into the distance, as if about to embark on a journey outside of the frame. 

This piece is an extraordinary addition to our auction this year, as not only is this piece created by one of Indonesia's painterly masters and by the Last Javanese Artist, it invites the audience to wonder and contemplate about the subject matter as well as keeping the canonised stylistic integrity of the humble Sudarso.

(Lot #209)

Arifien Nief. Perayaan (Celebration), 1982. oil on canvas (50cm x 50cm). Signed and dated on lower right: "Nief '82 Perayaan"

"My imagination has great power. I rely on that power. I invent scenes from hazy memories in a manner that I would like to see them unfold."

Arifien Neif is an artist of an interesting integrity. A master of agility on the canvas and romanticized scenes and narratives, the world that Neif creates with a paintbrush is one of a kind. He explores the grey area between the empirical and the imagined, brought to life with detailed ornamentation of interiors, bodies shaped by human drama and mysticism. 

Made in the early 1980s, Perayaan (Celebration) is one of Neif's early works, wherein his style was still chromatically sombre and subjects inherently symbolic. He began to explore a more populous frame, his figures taking up a more heart-shaped anatomy. Here, they are allegorical in nature: some entirely human and some hybrids. These hybrid figures propose a philosophy or symbol that Neif himself used to explore, and here he suggests the complex inner lives of his subjects. Although strange, mysterious and puzzling, Neif's imagination towards the composition and creation of this bustling scene is [of high value]. 

Having moved to Jakarta alone and in poverty, he looked to the streets and nightlife to observe and paint. With this piece, a busy festive scene is seen, with banners to the left, the crowed over the bridge in the centre and a river to the right. The crowdedness and restlessness of the scene portrays the city's full-thronged dynamic, one Neif knows all too well. Nonetheless, he combines his documentation of such dynamic with an impartiality, one he mixes well with his imagination. 

Rich in symbolism, mysticism, vibrancy and the sombreness of his early works, Perayaan (Celebration), could be the quintessential Neif before he found his staple style as one of Indonesia's well-loved artists.

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