HANDIWIRMAN SAPUTRA (b. Indonesia 1975)

Pose no. 4: Sofa

HANDIWIRMAN SAPUTRA (b. Indonesia 1975)
Pose no. 4: Sofa
signed with initials and dated 'HWS 04' (lower right); signed, titled and dated (on the reverse)
acrylic on canvas
55 x 55 in. (140 x 140 cm.)
Jakarta, Indonesia, Nadi Gallery, Apa-apanya dong?, September 2004, exhibition catalogue, p.17 (illustrated in colour)

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Lot Essay

Pose no. 4: Sofa comes from the Pose series of sofa paintings executed in 2004 where Handiwirman Saputra explores the tactile relation between two objects - a recognisable and commonplace object, a sofa, and a unrecognisable amorphous form - that in real life would evoke broadly similar perceptions concerning their materiality. The painterly interest undertaken emerges from a purely aesthetic pursuit, a exercise constituted in itself to befriend and acquaint objects. Not prising into the social lives or buried histories of objects, instead, Handiwirman paints the objects in the picture plane with meticulous scrupulousness, seeking to evoke and enjoy their presences as simply objects - objects with a certain physicality and material presence.

The question that gave impetus to the Pose series arises from Handiwirman's long-standing interest in the material life of objects. How is the physical and material nature of an object carried from reality into the picture plane? How does painting demonstrate, alter and perhaps reinforce the nature of an object as it moves from a three-dimensional real existence into the arrested flatness of the picture, framed by the boundaries of the easel-sized canvas and stretcher?

These questions are answered by a scrutiny of the painted surface of Pose no. 4: Sofa, which remains resolutely flat and pristine upon close examination. Even so, there is no denial the perceived existence of a certain surface relief, most notably seen in portions of the painting depicting the unrecognisable amorphous form. Carefully applied stubbles of green acrylic paint around the form mimics the look of green thread woven around a volumetric form, furthering the ambiguity surrounding the nature of the amorphous form. In its form and the mental sensation it evokes, it almost certainly bears a fleshy quality, yet the woven thread endows it with a craft-like quality - perhaps a throwaway reference to Handiwirman's training in the craft department in art school.

A smaller piece lays conspicuously wayside of the sofa, more heavily woven over with green thread as compared to the larger piece painted on the sofa. Though seemingly banal, the relation between the two pieces is in fact much more complex, alluding to the almost existential matter of origin (are they two individual pieces or of one but separated?), and most certainly a compositional device.

The Pose series was first exhibited in Nadi Gallery, Jakarta, Indonesia in 2004 alongside the artist's Mental series. The works in the exhibition were completed in a period of approximately eight months. Handiwirman was stimulated to deal with the mimetic purpose in realist painting. He was sceptical of the objectivity of realist paintings. The aesthetic logic of two-dimensional portrayal means that a realist painting is strongly influenced by elements of a painting, its scale and the particularities of it as a medium. A realist painting is never objective in this sense. Instead of painting objects in real life and not achieving being able to realise completely a sense of the objective, Handiwirman turned to the painting of objects made by him. Having being transformed into the flat picture surface, without real volume or depth, the accomplishment lies in the ability to then evoke a certain visual perception of reality

Painting without a particular concept in mind, Handiwirman reacts and explores his subject plainly through mental visualization. The form and shape of his subjects defy regular compositions and he experiments with positioning his subjects in a variety of spatial arrangements stimulate different reactions from audiences - wonder, indifference, critical questioning.

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