Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Dynamic of Line: Social-Emotional World

Ipong Purnama Sidhi (born 1955) is a scholar artist with overflowing energy. He studied painting at Fine Art School (ASRI) in Yogyakarta, from 1975—1981. He took printmaking studies in Konsthogskolan (or Royal University College of Fine Art) in Stockholm, Sweden in 1966.

His academic background strongly influences the visuality of his works. His works are characterized with psychedelic primary colors and vibrant dark linings. Handwritten texts are often added at some works too.

Ipong draws lines at his liberty, unruly and wildly swaying. Linings are also made of paint splashes thus they have textures. On the other side, the texts that he put can be viewed as a play of lines too. Interestingly, the texts are readable as meaningful sentences. In brief, lines and texts solidify the visual as well as the messages he aims to convey.

The dynamics of line gets more meaning because of the vibrant colors that he uses. Facial expressions and costumes of figures he draws are indeed radiant. The color contrast goes beyond a mere composition strategy instead it serves as his ‘artistry spirit’. As a result, to him, canvas becomes his emotional and ideological fields.

Suffice to say that Ipong’s works thoroughly touch upon people’s problems or humanity itself. Frontally Ipong take different view in drawing his human characters. They have nearly the same faces: flat with eyes and brows that almost alike. The rules goes to their lips: all in maroon. Many of the characters resemble clown faces. My impression is the ‘clowns’ are allegory of life that is made light, without burden. People and clowns seem to call their viewers to communicate.

By bringing up people and their problems, Ipong is free to take on the world—to load his sharp criticisms to social conditions. His decorative figures are his vehicles or metaphor of clumsy, banal, satiristic and ironic urbanities. Reflecting on the characters that he draws, viewers will be brought to see a mirror and to have a good laught at themselves.

In reality, Ipong frequently repeats the same subject matter or themes on his works. Nevertheless, this is not a symptom of repetition of forms or ideas in its most true sense but it is a repetition of expression or celebration of the artist’s emotional world. Indonesia’s maestro of modern painting Affandi did the same habit.

To me, Ipong’s works disclose the psyche of Javanese in a different way: humorous and critical, yet still full of symbols.

Tubagus P. Svarajati
Art writer

[NOTE: This is an essay for the second solo exhibition of Ipong Purnama Sidhi’s “Hello! Hooray! Are You Ready?” at Ganesha Gallery, Four Seasons Resort Bali, Jimbaran, Bali from September 3 until October 5, 2009.]