Artemis Art begins our 2017 art fair program with a return to Singapore Contemporary for its second edition, taking place from 19 to 22 January at Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre.
For our sophomore participation, we will be featuring artworks by four emerging visual artists from Indonesia and Malaysia, namely Dedy Sufriadi, Indra Dodi, Nik M. Shazmie, and Robi Fathoni. Each of the artists has a distinctive style, and collectively the exhibited works cover a wide stylistic spectrum from the pure figurative, to cubic abstractions of the human form, traversing many points in between.
The use of text and iconography has been an important part of Dedy Sufriadi’s work in the last several years. As an abstract expressionist, the multilayered nature of his works provides room for deep contemplation as we delve into the philosophical approach Dedy takes in addressing matters important to him. These range from simple everyday observations of the community around him to key social issues he elects to address. Among the works exhibited are those from his Hypertext series of paintings, borrowing the idea of dynamically linked text on webpages to create a canvas landscape of ideas, each element, be it text or iconography, linking to the next thus allowing the mind’s eye to follow and often meander into meanings completely outside the canvas boundaries.
Where figurative elements in Dedy’s works may be vague, Indra Dodi’s naïve figurations are diametrically distinct, a child-like approach chosen to tell stories about the people and events that the artist encounters. A sociable people-person by nature, Indra is a story-teller at heart, his works an outpouring of the artist’s keen observations of the world around him, where even the seemingly most innocuous encounter may spur expansive creative sparks within him. Indra Dodi has essentially created his own visual language, combining various figurative and symbolic elements to tell the many stories in his works, relayed through playful visual presentations.
One aspect of modern life in Asia, and certainly true of the Southeast Asian region in current times, is the obsessive attention to one’s physical beauty. This simple observation is the impetus behind the works of young Nik M. Shazmie, whose abstractions are essentially the artist becoming a virtual plastic surgeon, putting together the best features to create visually intriguing portraitures. The Rebecca series of works selected for the art fair deal with identity crisis, where the pursuit of perfection in beauty leads some to not only alter their physical appearance, but to augment every other aspect of their natural identity. Shazmie uses these basic principles of visual assemblage to address what he sees as the many social anomalies he observes in contemporary society.
For most artists, the pencil is an intermediary tool, used in the initial stages of ideation or preliminary sketches. Not so with Robi Fathoni, whose figurative realist works are done predominantly using the ubiquitous graphite implement. His mastery of the medium is best appreciated through the intricate drawings he produces, done mostly on canvas, usually with black graphite as the primary medium, augmented when necessary with the sparing use of color pencils, and occasionally acrylic paint. His high level of skill and mastery of technique has made him one of the emerging Indonesian artists of his generation to look out for.
While each of the four artists are very distinct in their style and approach to their art, the collection of works in totality represents an interesting survey of key elements that are among the drivers behind Southeast Asian contemporary art of today, particularly from the two nations represented by the four artists, namely Indonesia and Malaysia.