Friends of Gaya
Gaya Ceramic


July 3rd, 09 - July 26th, 09
A visual art exhibition by four young Balinese Artists

Siklus (Cycle)

After their appearance together in the editorial of ‘’Nyawa Senyawa’’ in Danes Art Veranda in 2007, now these four young painters ~ Dewa Gde Agung, Rio Saren, I Wayan Januariawan also knows as Donald and Putu Edy Asmara Putra – are present at a joint exhibition in the editorial named ‘’Siklus’’ in Gaya Art Space.

When at the ‘’Nyawa Senyawa’’ the substantive exploration of these young painters – they were still students at the ISI (the Institute of Art Indonesia) Denpasar back then ~ were things around the process that involving birth, in ‘’Siklus’’ they are presenting a kind of self-portrait about their respective creative exploration, with style as well as their individual idealism.

Presumably the process, when appeared in ‘’Nyawa Senyawa’’ was the periods of brahmacari, the era of mischievous and rebellious that was spontaneous and unpredictable direction. Now, the presentation in ‘’Siklus’’ is supposedly the stage approaching grahasta, that is the period where they prepared themselves for creative marriage, married to the realistic circumstances of life around art. The traces of his mischievous adolescence and brahmacari still can be felt and perhaps artistic creativity always in the need of rebellious spirit, although they were at the edge entering the era of grahasta creatively. So far, the revolt from some of them were the struggle of existences, have not become something that jolted, that is the fuss in the world of fine arts made amongst the phenomenon of ‘’expression, market, artisanism as well as the work of art as product’’.

The most radical revolt was carried out by Wayan ‘’Donald’’ Januariawan. The prospective revolt emerged radically in several of his works that were presented in ‘’Nyawa Senyawa’’ and increasingly visible in the exhibition of ‘’Me Between Us’’ (2007) and ‘’Silent Celebration’’ (2008) in Tony Raka Gallery Ubud, where he proclaimed that ‘’his work is not a product’’. He utilized objects that he found – damaged plaited bamboo walls, second-hand door, rusty tattered zinc, used cloths, used plastics, old rubber sheet, used plastic sack and its kind – as the medium and left his works “unfinished”. He tried to rise the ‘’inner history’’ from the object that he found and stimulate its ‘’inner beauty’’ to emerge to the surface. Avoiding the treatment and pampering of his works, he did not complete them with common art work’s feature. He did not make admirable and solid frame for them. He also did not fix a hook for easy display of his work in exhibition space. Donald's principle is as though ‘’defying’’ the glamour side of fine arts which notably was the market, where the art dealers, gallery owners, auction house, art fair, the collectors and kolekdol (buy to be re-sale) and others who are playing their role. In spite of being different from the other street painters who made use of sophisticated technology as their medium to simplify and speed up ‘’creative production’’ in their works of art, Donald was not in the position to deliberately bashed and attacked. He chose this approach as he feels that it is the right and appropriate principle for him at the present moment.

The other young figure was Putu Edy Asmara Putra. While Donald presented obsolete objects, dirty and dusty as ‘’historic recorder’’ and practically displayed as it is, Edy explored the ‘’inner beauty’’ from an object, the creature and object that actually could invite one’s sense of disgust. The caterpillar, worms, the female or male genitalia, in such a way he presents them in visualization that decoratively beautiful. While initially, when appeared together in the exhibition of ‘’Nyawa Senyawa’’, his decorative depiction could not eliminate the sense of disgust from the objects that he explored, in the following development, Edy experienced an astounding leap. He broadened his object’s exploration. Not only the object that ‘’disgusting’’ like caterpillar or worm, he got into imaginative as well as fantasy objects and he also worked on the real world objects. Precision of technique brings his objects as though they are hyperrealist objects. However, the obsession to represents the ‘’inner beauty’’ from various objects that he worked on, still can be felt on his creation. The existence of fantasy and imaginative objects on his creation, exhibits the beauty and mystery all at once. For instant, the illustration of short story of ‘’Paris Devil’’ which was published in Kompas on Sunday edition, presented a masked human being with ‘’horned’’ ~ one imaginative creature as a response to the short story of ‘’Paris Devil’’ of course ~ but it can be felt that the creature spreads aesthetic aura as well as dispersing mystery. Indeed, it is very possibly many appreciators are waiting, to which direction he will go to explore these objects of his imagination and fantasy and what will be the fundamental of his intellectual. Could it be the fantasy from the world of dreams resembling the great painter Salvador Dali? Or could it be the fantasy from the world ‘’unconsciousness’’ similar to Marc Chagall? Or could it be the fantasy and imagination a’la Frida Kahlo who explored the Mexican culture’s archaeological treasures because he wanted the existence of Mexican identity in his work? Edy definitely will still have to undergo a lengthy creative process, to finally reach the existence of characters that will show his artistic originality and personality.

Rio Saren, who can be said aggressive enough in his media's exploration and theme of his works, shows a modernist figure – modernist in the sense of socio-culture, but not in the artistic isms context – which at the same time he did not want to let go the valuable of local archeology, Bali. He showed aggressiveness in his media's exploration, for example, he depicted in an empty space in his pelinggih merajan, empty space in parba a traditional architecture at his house, or he composed indoor and outdoor installation works with re-cycled second-hand goods. However, he did not release the local culture identity, as he showed clear visualization of Balinese icons, mythology that lives in Balinese culture, which mostly formed by the spirits of Hindu religion.

Indeed, the media's exploration that Rio performed was not something brand-new. In the 1980's, painter Nyoman Erawan began with avant-garde spirit that was full of the passion, where he used discovered objects like the second-hand boat and various Balinese icon objects, presented several installations as well as art performance that may have rattled and caused jealousy to a certain group. Currently, whenever the world of the Indonesian fine arts was affected by mystification of contemporary fine arts ~ where the understanding of contemporary was sometimes narrowed down to the neo-realist's work of art with chinese-oriental characteristic – the presence of young painter like Rio, it is hoped to became a small pinch that could enlighten the misunderstanding in regards to contemporary art. Whereas, the exploration and contemporary spirit was not something that developed in resent decade, but in fact long before that, since the New Indonesia’s Movement of the Fine Arts has brought up the critical attitude towards the artistic phenomenon previously.

The fourth one is Dewa Agung; a painter who has not publicized his works publically as often as his three other colleagues. From his creative journey since the exhibition of ‘’Nyawa Senyawa’’ in 2007 until present, Dewa Agung is a painter who has not yet shown which of the style and characteristic that will form his artistic identity. He fiddles with plank, timber, painting in canvas, some of them was transformed into three-dimensional objects as he presented in ‘’Siklus’’ exhibition and until now, it seems that he has not chosen “his pick”. He is still exploring, one creative brahmacari, and apparently he has not yet determine which could be his appropriate ‘’aesthetic match’’ to be married into his creative artistic. The three-dimension work that was created from timber, which then implanted with smaller chunks of wood and wrapped around with red-yellow-black color, sculptured and carved here and there, possibly can be taken to the process of the birth a carver named Cokot from the Jati Village, Tegalalang, a name that has become legendary. Cokot used discovered woods, carved them following its original shape, exhibiting the demons from the world mythology where they lived, something that was new and original in that era. Not only became legendary, his children and grandchildren inherited Cokot-ism style that was reproduced in the works of ‘’Cokot’s Son’’ which also has become the economic source that made the descendants of this carver, who was also a shaman, prosperous. Dewa Agung has used found wood that he left it to its original shape in such a way, made responses with sculpture and carving here and there, then with installation technique he turned that timber into a “new object”. Compared to Balinese statues where its originality has been very clear; thematically depicted Gods and Goddesses and the mythological demons, using wood, sandstone, metal as material, from the aspect of function, there are use for religious worship and the rest use for interior and exterior decoration; Dewa Agung’s three-dimension work was not in that context. To be able to achieve an existence, supposedly of Cokot caliber, Dewa Agung needed the longer exploration period, produce more of his masterwork, and especially come up with one masterwork from theme that is richer in essence and meaning.

“Siklus’’ was a stage of creative journey to these four young painters. What they have achieved up to this point, if we wanted to make a note, was the spirit to continue to explore the media, the technique and theme that possibly it was already considered as “former mines” from previous ‘’creative digger’’.

Nevertheless, who knew, in the former copper mine, suddenly we find gold?


According to the Hindu religious teaching, there were four stages of humankind of the journey of life in the society. Namely the stage of brahmacari, was youth period, followed by education period, and generally unattached; grahasta was the maturity period, had a family, worked to seek for the material wealth to raise their children; wanaprastha was the period when someone entered the old age, his children have gazed at the period grahasta and the parent has stopped seeking for material, subjugated their time, energy, his thoughts to serve the community; sanyasin was the period to release all the desires and worldly materials, carried out the religious teaching as ideally as possible, approaching the last moments to met Him.

According to Nirwan Dewanto ‘’JURNAL KEBUDAYAAN KALAM’’ on 26 May 2006, in one decade, the fine arts treasury in Indonesia was covered by myths. The myth that this was contemporary fine arts hours. The myth about the superiority of the fine arts new media. The myth about academic theories to ‘represents’ the painter. The myth about pluralism but also the myth about the collapsed of modernism. At present also developing the myth about the available power on the hands of the gallery, art dealer, the curator, the collector, and the power on the hands painters that was made ‘’market icon’’ as though they could form a “suitable” opinion about the work of art and could be accepted by the public. Nirwan Dewanto threw a very sharp analytical towards this phenomenon, where he worried that pluralism that was carried by the Indonesian theoretician-curator-painter in recent times, just become the attitude of anti-modernism and anti-lirism that was blunt and unable to analyze in a conscientious manner, what was actually the essence and context from that creation alone.

‘’In the Indonesian fine arts, the contemporary term emerged in the early 70's, when Gregorius Sidharta used the contemporary term to name the sculpture exhibition at that time. Suwarno Wisetrotomo, an observer of fine arts, believed that the contemporary fine arts in the concept of his foundation was liberation efforts from assessment contracts that have been standardize or were possibly regarded as obsolete. The other opinion from Yustiono, the teacher's staff FSRD ITB, saw that the contemporary fine arts in Indonesia was not free from the outbreak of rumors of post-modernism (at the end 1993 and early 1994), where along the year of 1993 heated debate and wide topic of discussions in seminars and in the mass media at that time. Whereas the connection of contemporary art and (art) postmodern, according to Yasraf Amir Pilliang, the observer of art, the understanding of contemporary art was art that was made at the present moment, so it was something to do with time, with the special note that modern art was art that gathered new idioms. He explained further that not all present art (contemporary) that could be categorized as postmodern art, postmodern art itself on one hand gave the understanding, quoted the past but on the other side also jumped into the future (futurist), in the Digital WIKIPEDIA Encyclopedia.

Rio Saren
Wajah dalam Tempurung
Mixed media on canvas
200 x 200 cm
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