Lot 53 | Auction XVIII

LOT 53


B. Johor, 1950

Topeng 60, 1996

Signed, titled and dated “Yusof Ghani Topeng 96” on bottom of paper

Mixed media on paper
74.5 x 55 cm

Provenance Private Collection, Kuala Lumpur

RM 8,000 – RM 15,000

“We’re like hiding behind masks, sometimes for good reasons and sometimes not.”

When Yusof Ghani took trips to Sarawak in 1988 and 1991, he was immediately taken with the masks of the Kenyah and Kayan. He claimed, “I found masks interesting as they could be used as motifs in paintings to make a cultural statement – about ceremony and rituals. They can also be used to preserve our slowly eroding local cultures and offer opportunities for a social commentary on human pretensions and falsehoods.”

Topeng is basically an expression of faces, there are simply no nice images in it. It combines ink and water colour in controlled structures, intensified by outlines, showing Ghani’s effort to explore new forms and visual approaches that are to the point, solid, structured and meaningful, such as in the case of this piece of artwork.