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Catching Lice and Skin Scrapping
Hendra Gunawan
■Year c.1950
■Medium oil on canvas
■Size (cm)
This kind of skin scraping is a traditional folk remedies in Indonesia known as kerek. Oil is applied to a person's back and then a coin is used to scrape the back, an action which is believed to chase bad spirits (colds, etc.) from the body. Welts appear on the back of the woman. The Indonesian war of independence against the Dutch began in 1945 and Gunawan was a soldier in the independence army. He was also making anti-Dutch posters at the time, and active in the country's art movement, such as the founding of the "People's Artists" (Pelukis Rakyat) group. This work was painted in the post-war period, while he was teaching at an art school in Yogyakarta. The curving line ryhthm of the canvas surface, like a watery array, combined with the unrealistic color scheme dominated by blue greens and pinks, seems to transform this single moment from the women's lives into a stretch of eternity. The artist created paintings depicting the customs of Indonesia, with subject matter ranging from women grooming themselves to vendors in the marketplace.
Ceremony in Bali
Wayan Bendi
■Year 1985
■Medium acrylic on paper
■Size (cm)
In Bali Island of Indonesia, where the Hindu world view colors everyday life, all kinds of festivals are held throughout the year. Depicted in this work is the scene of such a festival full of life. Here, the sky is barely shown while the ground is entirely filled with throngs of people. At first glance, we cannot see where the streets or temples are. The painting style typical of Bali, with detailed depiction filling every corner of space and the irrational space structure, has been inherited to the full in this work. Nevertheless, in this work, we no longer find images of the evil spirits that often appear in Balinese paintings. Tourists with sunglasses and cameras appear here and there on the island, instead. Moreover, telegraph poles, cars and airplanes are illustrated in this work, which reflects the scenery of present-day Bali which has transformed into a world tourist spot.
Making Friends with Alligator
I Dewa Putu Mokoh
■Year 1992
■Medium acrylic on canvas
■Size (cm)
Bali, the only Hindu-dominated island in the Islamic nation of Indonesia, has its own flourishing and unique traditions and culture. Western artists who began to arrive on Bali during the 1930s influenced local art forms, particularly painting. Local artists abandoned traditional forms of religious painting and created a new, fascinating form of painting filled with the spirits and monsters that underlie Balinese daily life. More than a half-century later, I Dewa Putu Mokoh set out to create yet another new world of Balinese painting. He depicts the everyday life with humor, and at times a touch of the erotic. The touch of his hands brings the strange sense of weird animals into ordinary scenes. The artist says this painting is a realistic depiction of a young girl and her pet alligator as he saw them on television. Each of his paintings depicts a single scene from daily life, confronting the viewer with a totally unexpected scene or event.
Golf Ball
Dadang Christanto
■Year 1991
■Medium oil on plywood and canvas
■Size (cm)
As a student, Dadung Christanto had experienced progressive art movements pursuing new methods of expression and social reality, and this was to bear great influence on his activities as an artist. In this work, he creates a three-dimensional work space from the monotonous images of the wayang kulit (shadow-picture show), and simultaneously weaves a story full of humour and satire on the theme of the construction of a golf course with a large capital. The light swings and the golf ball which flies up with full power. In reality, golf is a mere hobby for the privileged class and violently threatens the lives of the farmers, cannot be resisted. The ball draws a big arc and gradually transforms into the ogre of wayang kulit, and finally, holding a rifle by one hand, drives out the farmers into the wilderness. In such a manner, his works sharply point out the distortions of Indonesian society in which the weak are subject to suffering.
Kintamani Market II
Chusin Setiadikara
■Year 1996-99
■Medium oil on canvas
■Size (cm)
Chusin studied painting in Bandung, Indonesia and since 1987 he has lived on Bali where he creates his own unique form of realistic landscapes. When plans were underway to change the old Balinese marketplace, Kintamani Market, into a modern supermarket, Chusin spent more than five years photographing the market and then creating paintings based on those photographs. After the destruction of the old market and the creation of the new supermarket, Chusin's major work on this subject was to reconstruct an image of that old market from interviews of those who had worked in the old market, and his photogrphs of it. These images resurrected the memories of the sense of community, human interactions and communication among the people who had lived and worked in that space. By layering these images with footage from science fiction movies, Chusin also reveals how the people in the paintings also seem to be anticipating the future, with its as yet unseen, unformed realities.
Heri Dono
■Year 1991
■Medium fiberglass, electronic circuits, coin, and others
■Size (cm)
10sets 58×64×8 each
Heri Dono, who spent his students days in yokyakarta which has an old history, avidly absorbed the traditional culture of Indonesia during this period and studied the traditional performing art called wayang kulit (shadow-picture show), yet his world of art appears to have various sources that cannot be explained by tradition alone. In this work entitled "Badman," dolls installed with electronic circuits are hanging from the ceiling in a row. They somewhat remind us of the wayang dolls, but the idea comes more directly from characters in cartoons and computer games. Heroes of justice never die even if they fall from a skyscraper. Abiding by the absolute rule that 'Enemies must be destroyed!,' they bury the enemies away for sure. Contrary to the cute images of the dolls, this work makes us aware of such exaggerated dreams and cruel attacks of the masses.
Weeping Goddess
Gregorius Sidharta Soegijo
■Year 1977
■Medium acrylic on wood, leather, and others
■Size (cm)
From an early stage, Sidharta practised cubistic expressions in his paintings, and led the trend towards abstract art in Bandung, and is also known as one of the pioneers of modern sculpture. On the other hand, he has also produced paintings and works of sculpture that refer to ethnic traditions peculiar to Indonesia. Once in the 1970s, he set upon his research on the traditional arts of his native country, and felt that the traditions were on the verge of dying out as a result of the inflow of Western art and pop music. In this work, the goddess is lamenting over the death of traditions, and the flames drawn in the lower part indicate the foreign influence. The gesture of the hands expresses her inner anguish. The stylistic mixture carried out with much interest as we can see indications of the two sides of this artist: to use real female hair with realistically depicted arms while adopting a plane and decorative style as seen in traditional dolls in the face and body.
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