(B. Indonesia, 1931)
Bedaya Ketawang – Beauty of Soul, 2015
Signed, titled and dated on verso
Oil on canvas
150 x 150 cm
Private Collection, Jakarta
SOLD – RM 354,000
Like elevating poetry, Mr. Soedarsono’s paintings use flowing colors and light to depict the spirituality and richness of folk culture as well as the confidence and inner beauty of the Indonesian people, with the influences of Zen Buddhism. Soedarsono’s dancers are archetypes of femininity, embodying beauty, grace and elegance. The artist achieves a sense of harmony and balance through the symmetry of the composition, built up through a triangular formation of the dancers’ arms. The purity of the colours conveys the energy and atmosphere of the scene. For the audience this is a profoundly spiritual experience.
Soedarsono is well known for his achievements in illustrating the lively movements of dancers on canvas. Because of this exceptional ability, he became the only artist who was granted the opportunity by the Solo Sultanate Palace in Central Java to paint the royal “Bedhoyo Ketawang” dance ceremony. “Bedhoyo Ketawang” is only performed during the coronation of a new sultan or his birthday.
“I am also pleased to have the opportunity to work on that ancient and great royal culture, Bedhoyo Ketawang. Well, this is just a metaphor actually, the figures or the dancers in there, the metaphor. I have to express their inner quality and whether it is physically visible, but we have to put them as one to be a work of art, the accumulation of creative power, feeling and intention. And after putting them as a creation, that reflects the spirit which is seen on my work,” said the artist.
Srihadi Soedarsono graduated from Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) in 1959 and later completed his master’s degree at Ohio State University in 1962. Soedarsono has exhibited extensively since 1955, selected exhibitions include Biennale de Sao Paolo (1969), Contemporary Asian Art (Fukuoka Art Museum – Japan, 1980), Asia Pacific Contemporary Art Triennial (1993), Asian Modernism: Diverse Development in Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand (Japan Foundation Forum, Tokyo – Japan; Metropolitan Museum of Manila – Philippines; National Gallery, Bangkok – Thailand; National Art Gallery, Jakarta – Indonesia; 1996), Indonesian Modern Art and Beyond (Davos – Switzerland, 1997), Indonesian Biennial XI (1998), Visions and Enchantment: Southeast Asian Paintings (Singapore Art Museum, 2000). The artist lives and works in Bandung, Indonesia.