(Indonesian, B. 1931)
Borobudur - Moment of Contemplation
signed and dated 'Srihadi S 2013' (upper right); signed and dated again, titled 'Borobudur - Moment of Contemplation' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
180 x 225 cm. (70 7/8 x 88 5/8 in.)
Painted in 2013

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Lot Essay

Perhaps the most distinct character of Srihadi as painter is the diverse and extremely developed way he employs colours in his works, thoroughly demonstrating a natural understanding of colours in their different hues, tones, values, and their visual and emotional power. The art critic, Jean Couteau has remarked that the 'visual melody of Srihadi's paintings, is, primarily, a melody of colour which has changed with time'. In the two lots presented this season, one sees how Srihadi moves from the youthful spontaneous expression of emotions and thoughts through the wild application of colours to a more contemplative appreciation for the world and the corresponding orderliness and subtle quality of his colours.

Hailed as one of the most significant living modern Indonesian painter, Srihadi's art is an expression of the spirit of modernism. As his career parallels the history of modern Indonesia, it is also important to remember how the culture and history of Java has shaped his works and outlook in life. Hence even as he is acknowledged as one of the most representative abstract Indonesian artist, we see in his career a bridge between tradition and modernity, between figuration and abstraction.

According to the artist himself,'the horizon acts as the line separating the higher and lower worlds, with man occupying the position in between'. Yet even as the horizon is the predominant pictorial element, Srihadi defies painterly convention and does not deploy line to represent the horizon. His horizon is in fact born at the edges of flat or nearly flat colour fields, colour fields that represent different elements of nature - the land, sky and sea. Borobudur Moment of Contemplation (Lot 193) is an iconic green that represents the artist's concern about the urban condition and the impact of human and human society on nature. In Borobudur, there is tranquility and harmony between man and the natural elements.

Dancer with Fan (Lot 194) is a work that both in style and subject is immediately recognizable of the artist. Every Balinese dance is deeply rooted in the local culture and every single move of the dance speaks of Balinese tradition. In this work, Srihadi captures the dancer in a brief moment outside the actual activity of dance. Elegant and poised, the unblended brushstrokes that Srihadi uses evokes a certain sense of vitality from the painting. The combination of red and pink hues that dominate the canvas succeed in representing the vibrancy of Balinese life and culture that the artist so loved.


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