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17.2.05

Srihadi Soedarsono

Srihadi Soedarsono, Borobudur, The Wind at Sunrise, 2005I love reading about exhibits in other countries and, as regular readers of Ionarts know, often share that interest here. So an article by Sonia Kolesnikov-Jessop (At 73, new horizons for an artist, February 9) in the International Herald Tribune was right up my alley. The latest work from Srihadi Soedarsono (b. 1931), one of the greatest living painters from southeast Asia, is being shown right now in an exhibit (Tracing Horizons [.PDF file], until February 24) at the Singapore Tyler Print Institute.

Srihadi Sudarsono [sic] says he has spent most of his life trying to depict the "essence of things" on canvas, from the spirituality of a temple like Borobudur to the movement of Javanese dancers. "I believe that the nature of my painting must always express the beauty and the elegance of the human soul," the 73-year-old Indonesian artist said in a recent interview. [...] The painter is known for his expressionistic interpretations of horizons and monumental landscapes as well as his exquisite and masterly use of color. In the 1960s and 1970s, he was also known for art with strong political content, especially during the early years of Suharto's New Order government. "An artist needs to relate to his environment. That said, I always saw my work as art with social or political themes, not political art," he said.

His latest works depict the spiritual Borobudur and the horizons of Java, but they also include a new twist: an experiment with paper pulp. "Srihadi has been working on horizons for many years, and the compositional format has become something of a thematic template, familiar to many observers of his work," said Joanne Lee, an independent art curator who wrote an essay for the exhibition's catalogue. "But this new body of work offers a few surprises aside from the use of the paper pulp medium, which in itself is interesting given Srihadi's veteran practice in oil painting."
There are images of a couple earlier paintings here and here. The gallery showing Soedarsono right now has only one image online.

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