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    Sale 2616

    Southeast Asian Modern and Contemporary Art

    30 November 2008, Hong Kong

  • Lot 416

    AFFANDI (Indonesia 1907-1990)

    Bull cart

    Price Realised  

    AFFANDI (Indonesia 1907-1990)
    Bull cart
    signed and dated 'A 1969' (lower centre)
    oil on canvas
    38 5/8 x 58½ in. (98 x 148.5 cm.)


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    "Affandi would spend a long time looking for painting subjects, and then a long time studying the subject, probing into its being, until he felt he had become part of it. Only then would he start squeezing and smearing paint from the tubes on to the canvas, working it with his fingers, palms, wrists, and the back of his hands. Painting for Affandi was a process of fixing into colour and form the storm of energy from his emotions which had arisen through concentrating on something which had initially inspired him." (Astri Wright, Soul, Spirit, and Mountain: Preoccupations of Contemporary Indonesian Painters, Oxford University Press, Kuala Lumpur, 1994, 112).

    Astri Wright described the artist's working process after an interview with the artist. "Against the wall near us, up on a ledge, the canvas he had painted that very morning sat drying. It depicted a man selling balloons, a playful cloud of coloured spheres above his head. Affandi had seen him at the Sekaten night fair and had become so enamoured with the sight that he had asked this man to come to the gallery the next day. After spending a couple of hours painting him, he had bought all his balloons as recompense for the trouble" (Ibid, p. 111-112)

    It is no doubt that Affandi painted from life. The familiarity he has with his subjects endowed his works with a sense of intimacy and passion that overwhelm viewers. Bull cart is one of the many recurring themes with the artist and yet the unique 'personality' of the subject never fails to captivate the viewers. As early as the 1950s, Affandi had given up using a brush and applied paint directly onto the canvas out of the tube. With this free and spontaneous style the artist explored his own emotions and those of his subjects. By the 1960s, this style has matured. The strength of Affandi's fluid style lies in his ability to maintain a coherent structure of his subjects amidst the disarray of lines and colours.

    The present lot is intently done to blur the lines of perspectives, so much so that the subjects almost stand afloat of the canvas surface. Placing the bull and the cart in the foreground and the environ abbreviated and subtracted to blurry lines and vibrant colour that is but remnants of original forms and shapes, the painting manages to exude a sense of rhythmic movement in accordance with the moving subjects.

    "During the interview, Affandi exuded a peaceful detachment from the ticking of the clock and the business of life. 'I am the luckiest man in the world,' Affandi suddenly said in his wavering voice. 'Because when I paint, I am completely happy. When I paint, the only things that exist are God, the subject, and myself.' " (Ibid, p. 111).

    Such is the conviction that the artist applies to all his works and a principle that renders his oeuvres with simplicity that is pure and joyful.