• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2380

    Southeast Asian Modern and Contemporary Art

    25 November 2007, Hong Kong

  • Lot 106

    MOCHTAR APIN (Indonesia 1923-1994)

    Untitled

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    MOCHTAR APIN (Indonesia 1923-1994)
    Untitled
    signed and dated 'Mochtar Apin/67' (lower right); signed and dated again (on the reverse)
    oil on canvas
    52 3/4 x 62 5/8 in. (134 x 159 cm.)


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    Representation seemed pointless to Mochtar Apin, especially the representation of a three-dimensional world on a two-dimensional format. This is to be taken into the context of understanding the artist's career which also comprises of his works on representational nude figures. It is in this context that one would appreciate the importance of the present work with which the artist is able to remove everything superfluous from it, particularly subject matter and content. It is significant to note that the artist could work simultaneously on 2 very different and even opposing styles i.e. complete abstraction versus the representational nude works.

    Perhaps aesthetics principles are like mathematical formula which the artist picks and uses as he deems most befitting for a particular moment. The present work certainly reveals not only the artist's varied tendencies but it also exemplifies the impact of the engaging dialogues on abstraction amongst the Indonesian artists. This large-scale and sumptuously coloured example sets up a duality, not only of sensation and sentiment, but also of optical effects. The simplicity in composition and the seemingly lack of subject reduce the amount of painterly and interpretive intrusion while also introducing a vertiginous sensation in the viewer - the concentric squares recede to form a kind of tunnel, drawing us into the work, and alternatively appear to appear outward and curiously evokes a sense of unity and harmony.