‘Poem of Colors’: an exhibition of works by art teachers of ISI Denpasar

20160804_185832                                                 “Biota Laut” 2016 – Ketut Murdana

A formal gathering of members of Balinese royal families, officials and teachers from Bali’s art education institutions, along with the Bali art community at the Neka Museum, Ubud 26 July celebrated the exhibition opening of ‘Poem of Colors’.   As a part of the Fine Art Program of the Faculty of Visual Art and Design of the Indonesian Institute of the Arts (ISI) Denpasar the exhibition presents the work of thirty ISI teachers, past and present.

A college of the visual arts organized by the Ministry of National Education, ISI was established in 2003 and is an integration of the Indonesian Arts College (STSI) Denpasar and the Study Program of Art and Design (PSSRD) of the Udayana University of Denpasar. The Udayana University was established 1962 after an initial period as part of Airlangga University, the first university in Provincial Bali in 1958.

The exhibition of works by teachers from ISI Denpasar has been an ongoing event staged regularly during the past 3 decades. As Bali’s largest and foremost art institution the teachers and administrators of ISI Denpasar have helped shape the direction and development of Balinese contemporary art, along with the practitioners of Balinese traditional art.

20160804_101812                                                “Kala Baruna” 2016 – Tjokorda Udiana

Tjokorda Udiana works in the ISI Sculpture Department and has for many years been experimenting with paper to create a substrate which is an alternative to wood for craving. Out of his concerns for the environment, and the enormous amount of forest timber that each year is carved by traditional sculptors and utilized in making furniture in Bali, he has been driven to seek out a viable alternative. “Kala Baruna”, made from recycled paper and glues, and beautifully decorated with acrylic paints, takes the form of a monstrous four armed demon often depicted in Ogoh-ogohs and paraded during the end of the Balinese calendar year Nyepi festivities.

One of three female exhibiting, Sri Supriyatini presents “Menembus Batas” 2016 a beautiful mixed media work of depth and imagination. “My work is an interpretation of woman’s struggles to realize their dreams while living within a patriarchal cultural environment full of challenges,” she said. “These struggles are not only in the domestic arena alone, women also need to work hard to gain recognition for their other accomplishments as well.”

20160804_185646                                           “Menembus Batas” 2015 – Sri Supriyantini

“Menembus Batas” is a wooden partition decorated on both sides with narrative script and images to communicate Sri Supriyatini’s story in which a swan plays the leading role. Rich in cultural symboligy and aesthetic warmth the work is one of the highlights of the exhibition.

A lecturer at ISI Denpasar since 2000 Wayan ‘Suklu’ Sujana is a gifted artist whose name is well known within the Indonesian contemporary art circles. His commitment to the development of Balinese contemporary art extends beyond ISI to his home in Klungkung where he has founded Batu Belah Art Space. ‘Suklu’ presents two paintings that reveal his mastery of figurative studies. His figures, rendered in black acrylic and tint, are layered upon each other to create beguiling abstract forms. He includes masks within his compositions to add an extra imaginative element, while his use of negative spaces within the canvas become powerful visual elements as well. Paramount to Suklu’s creative journey is the need to strive for innovation and new artistic territory within his concepts, media exploration and inter disciplinary collaborative projects.

20160804_185049             “Istrahat Membicarakan Waktu Yang Lapuk” 2016 – Wayan ‘Suklu’ Sujana

Vice chairman of “Poems of Colors” organizing committee Dr. Wayan ‘Kun’ Adnyana exhibits a large and striking ink and acrylic composition “In Blossom”(190 x 290cm). Reflecting on Balinese religious rituals of both festivity and confrontation where participants often go into trance, the painting is a celebration of life, characterized by explosions of color, figures randomly dancing about in dynamic motion and written text the artist utilizes as a form of poetry and prayer.

Wayan Karja is well known for his contributions to the development of Balinese art as a teacher, art administrator and painter. Born in Penestanan in 1965 into a family of painters Karja received a wealth of local and international art education, studying in Switzerland, and Florida, USA, while locally at the School of Fine Arts, Denpasar, Udayana University in Denpasar. From 2002-04 he was head of the Fine Arts Dept., Indonesian College of the Arts (STSI), Denpasar and from 2004-08 as the Dean of the Visual Arts Department at ISI.

FullSizeRender(1)                                         “In Blossom” 2016 – Wayan ‘Kun’ Adnyana

Through his exposure to western abstract art in the international museums he visited while traveling in Europe and the USA he was inspired to approach Balinese abstract art with a fresh intellectual approach. “Cosmic Energy” 2016 is an excellent, pulsating example of Karja’s ability to create his characteristic abstract compositions that are contrasts between the landscape and the cosmos, while being both meditative and mysterious.

An unusual and distinctive composition is “Ibu Semesta” (universal mother) by Made Bendi (b. 1961 Denpasar). Careful attention is placed in flowing rhythmic forms that bring to life a scenario that depicts a mother figure wrapped a colorful costume in an imaginative realm representing both above ground and below. The mother is a potent symbol of authority, fertility and purity. “Linkaran Kehidupan” by A.A Gede Yugus is a flowing abstract composition that’s circular rhythmic motion draws the viewer’s eye from the outside into the inner focal point. Immediately captivating the colorful composition, according to the artist, is inspired by the journey of life and the challenges of finding self fulfillment and satisfaction.

20160804_184737                                                   “Cosmic Energy” 2016  –  Wayan Karja

One of the most imaginative works displayed is “Installation of Time: Viewing History from Present” a mixed media installation by Made Jodog. It features a desk with a book that includes Jodog’s abstract expression upon the printed text, while positioned above the desk is a video screen. “The idea of the installation is that time has been divided by zones, past-present-future,” said Jodog. “Often we view history by going into the past, yet I offer through my work another way of viewing history, by viewing it from present, because we can not go into the past.” A hand flicks backwards through the colorful pages of the book inspiring our sense of curiosity. Our engagement with Jodog’s video is both mysterious and captivating.

Other works of note are “Gadis Bali” by Nyoman Marsa, “Biota Laut” by Ketut Murdana, “Ke Pura” by Made Subrata, “Topeng” – Gusti Ngurah Putra and “Taman Tirta Gangga Karangasem Bali” by Wayan Gunawan. “Poem of Colors” continues through until 26 August 2016 at Ubud’s renown Neka Art Museum.

20160804_101949          “Installation of Time: Viewing History From the Present” 2016  – Made Jodog

20160804_185350                                          “Ibu Semesta” 2016 – Made Bendi Yudha

Words & Images: Richard Horstman

*Author’s note: No part of the written content of this website may be copied or reproduced in any form, including article links uploaded to other websites, for any commercial purposes without the written permission of the author. Copyright 2020

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