AGUS SUWAGE (b. Indonesia 1959)
AGUS SUWAGE (b. Indonesia 1959)

The eraser

AGUS SUWAGE (b. Indonesia 1959)
The eraser
signed and dated 'AGUS SUWAGE 2006' (lower right of the right panel)
diptych - oil on canvas
33 1/2 x 25 5/8 in. (85 x 65 cm.) each (2)

Lot Essay

The present work is named after the solo album by Thom Yorke. The album The eraser was released on 10 July 2006 in the United Kingdom. The album debuted at #3 on the UK Albums Chart and at #2 on the Billboard 200 in the United States, selling over 90,000 copies in its first week. It was nominated for both the Mercury Music Prize and the 2007 Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album. As of October of 2007, the album has sold over 300,000 in the United States and 500,000 Worldwide.
Born Thomas Edward Yorke on October 7, 1968 in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, England, Yorke is best known as the lead singer of the band Radiohead. Yorke mainly plays electric guitar, acoustic guitar and piano, but he has also played drums and bass guitar Yorke is also an electronic musician, and The Eraser was heavily influenced by electronic music.

On 11 May 2006, Yorke posted, without explanation, a link to the site on the Dead Air Space section of the official Radiohead website. Two days later, in an email sent to the owners of several Radiohead fan sites through W.A.S.T.E. (Radiohead's online shop), Yorke announced the album and revealed a few details: it was produced by Nigel Godrich, comprises songs written and played by Yorke alone, is "more beats and electronics".

The Eraser is based on piano chords (namely C6 and D6) played by Radiohead member Jonny Greenwood: "the piano chords are Jonny's. I recorded them on a dictaphone around his house one day. A year and a half later, I had to own up that I had sampled them, cut them into a different order and made them into a song [laughs]. Is that all right? Sorry, Jonny." Greenwood is given co-writing credit on this track, the only track of the album not credited solely to Yorke.

Thom Yorke said that much of his songwriting on the album was personal, but he was also inspired by the issue of climate change. Yorke was a spokesman for Friends of the Earth's "The Big Ask" campaign to reduce carbon emissions, and Radiohead played the first gig of their 2006 tour at a benefit for the group (performing "Cymbal Rush" before the album was announced).

In describing his motivation for releasing the album, Yorke said, "I've been in the band since we left school and never dared do anything on my own, and it was like, 'This is getting stupid.' It was like, 'Man, I've got to find out what it feels like,' you know? And it was good. It was a really good time." (Source:

The album's cover is also in sync with the singer's green standing. The album's cover, a woodcut by Stanley Donwood, depicts a figure in black hat and trenchcoat standing in imitation of King Canute, trying and failing to command the ocean. Around him are iconic London buildings that have been swept away by the Thames, including the Tower of London, the Houses of Parliament and the Thames Barrier. Donwood included this picture and other images seen in The Eraser booklet in his art exhibition London Views, prior to the album's release. The images were inspired by a large flood Donwood and Yorke both witnessed in Cornwall in 2004.

The CD packaging of The Eraser is unusual for a high profile release in that it is made of cardboard but unlike a digipak, it does not contain any plastic. However, Yorke said in an interview that he did not have his CDs certified as carbon neutral, agreeing with British environmentalist George Monbiot's assertion that the practice is pointless.

As a diptych, Agus depicts Thom Yorke on one of the panel with a jumping dog on the other. Alluding to the album and the title song directly, Agus has the lyrics of the song running across the face of Yorke but picking the few lines which appear in the chorus:

"The more you try to erase me
The more, the more
The more that I appear"

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