In this first edition we introduce I Nyoman Masriadi (born 1973) he is a well-known painter and artist of the post-Soeharto era in Indonesia. His works have been collected by many collectors including prominent collectors in and around the area.
The instantly recognizable striking visuals of I Nyoman Masriadi’s works propelled him to be one of the most successful and significant contemporary painters from Southeast Asia. Hailed as a leading figurative painter in contemporary art by art critics, historians and collectors, his signature bold muscular figures with purposeful melanin complexion directly confront situations observed in daily life with incisive wit.
The complexity of themes that Masriadi uncovers through his paintings are often enshrouded in humour, allowing viewers multiple levels of interpretation. Having left Institut Seni Indonesia (ISI) without completing his final year project, Masriadi embodies his determination to go against the grain – be it to oppose mainstream Balinese art, institutional expectations, or socio-political commentary.
This season, 33 Auction is proud to offer an unparalleled recent work by I Nyoman Masriadi. Executed in 2013, this work bears the striking bold hyper-masculine figure culminated in the artist’s series since the new millennium. Part stylised and part caricature-like, the figures of I Nyoman Masriadi’s paintings are finely rendered with techniques of realism, yet they are unrealistically hyperbolised portrayal of the human anatomy. The typically traditional martial art garment worn by the figure directly contrasts the modern-day youth ensemble of a backpack and headphones.
The work assembles a depiction of a scene captured from video-game landscape, while the man in the scene represents a generation of youth who finds empowerment from virtual reality. The “fantasy-like” scenario of a warrior clashes with the reality of any video-gamer who are sitting in an air-conditioned room facing a computer screen. What is happening in this painting, cunningly fabricates two worlds of reality – virtually and actuality.
As a finishing touch I Nyoman Masriadi included pen-drawing of traditional Indonesian weapon keris amongst the blazing fire of medieval weaponry in the background. This work perfectly captures the artist’s vision of embracing duality as symbolically presented by the expressive figure holding tight on an Eastern-style sword in one hand, and a Western-style sword in another.
It signifies a stand towards the embrace of not only cultures, but technological advancement of the present and future. At the same time, Masriadi hints on the power of an era built extensively by the internet-age. The consequences can be double-edged, virtual reality creates the possibilities to creativity and escapism from reality.
The phenomenal success of I Nyoman Masriadi is reflected by the extensive coverage of the never-before-seen integration of Balinese culture with pop art. On top of his sky-rocketing records in the auctions, there has been intense interest in the black figures of I Nyoman Masriadi–while they have their origins in youthful rebellion, over the years they have become the embodiment of Masriadi’s oeuvre; a familiar visual cue of the artist’s reflexive commentary on the political and social upheaval of growing up in the Suharto years.