Lives and Works: Indonesia
Hailed as one of the most important young artists to watch out for, Putu Sutawijaya’s canvases are highly charged with the energy, or “qi”, that is suggestive of Chinese calligraphy masters. While Chinese calligraphy influences his technique, his subject matter captures the essence of Balinese religious and tribal rituals. The visual impact of his canvases is explosive yet contemplative. They reflect the mutual desire for harmony in order and chaos, a oneness with the universe. Man as the centrifugal figure in paintings is distinctively ‘Sutawijaya’ and continues to be prominent in his works.
An exhibition is but a small step in the life long process of artistic endeavours yet it is of significance. It represents the artist’s efforts in coming forward with his artistic convictions and how he has chosen to express himself with the selected mode or style. It becomes an open and honest dialogue with the public, regardless of what the reactions might be. The idea is for the viewer to witness the dialogue between the creator (artist) and his subjects and, in turn, reflect and apply this new found experience to his life.
Equipped with the knowledge and skill I possess, I attempt to paint the essence of the human experience. My works are strongly inspired by the ancient Balinese religious practices that are still rife today in the villages. Religion and tradition have always been a strong foundation in the lives of the Balinese. I am fascinated with the way in which the communion takes place. The idea is to attain a spiritual enlightenment through trance, intoxication and even violence. However, to the Balinese, this has been their conviction and lifestyle for many years. The idea is to be open to different cultures and lifestyles. What unifies people across all borders is the desire of the human spirit to seek a divine solace that will liberate us to another dimension of truth and objectivity.
My goal is to express the notion of self awareness. My works reflect a conscious process of self-knowledge. I think it is important to be in touch with oneself, to journey deep into the solitude of your mind and soul so that you are intensely and passionately true to every vein of emotion in your being.
Summoning all of my courage, I have broken away from the origins of my education in art. There is no fixed formula not magic recipe to adhere to in order for a painting to be successful and whilst I cannot deny that my education has been enormously important to laying the foundations, it cannot be in any way to the works I am creating now. Art is a personal affair with the canvas- no textbook can tell you how to do it.
The greatest challenge is to be able to communicate the non-physical in your painting. It is paradox indeed but the form a painting takes is only instrumental in conveying something that does not exist in the physical sense. It could be an idea, a thought, the essence of an emotion, even a moment or a form of energy that is intangible but whose presence you feel very strongly in a painting. If the painting is able to impart this subtext to its viewer, it has succeeded in its aim.
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