Lot Content

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
AFFANDI (Indonesian, 1907-1990)
PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT INDONESIAN PRIVATE COLLECTION
AFFANDI (INDONESIAN, 1907-1990)

Cocks Fighting II

Details
AFFANDI (INDONESIAN, 1907-1990)
Cocks Fighting II
signed with artist's monogram and dated '1965' (centre)
oil on canvas
103.5 x 130 cm. (40 ¾ x 51 1/8 in.)
Painted in 1965
Provenance
Private Collection of a Member of the Diplomatic Corps active in Jakarta as a collector between 1964 and 1968
Anon. sale; Glerum Singapore 29 September 1997, Lot 148
Acquired from the above sale by the present owner
Literature
Sardjana Sumichan, Affandi – Vol II, Bina Listari Budaya Foundation, Jakarta; Singapore Art Museum, Singapore, 2007 (illustrated, fig 101, p. 156).

Brought to you by

Eric Chang
Eric Chang

Check the condition report or get in touch for additional information about this

Condition Report

If you wish to view the condition report of this lot, please sign in to your account.

Sign in
View condition report

Lot Essay

Affandi is one of the most prominent modern maestros of 20th Century of Indonesian art. Born in 1918 in Cirebon, Affandi was self-educated, and learnt the rudiments of paintings by observing the rules of anatomical perspective and academic structures, eventually gaining a finely honed mastery in depicting shape and form. For Affandi, painting was about expressing imagination through colour, and transferring the energy from his emotion to the canvas rather than reproducing straight from reality.

Taking up painting seriously in 1935, Affandi quit his job working in a cinema in Bandung, and joined the Kelompok Lima Bandung (The Bandung group of Five). Affandi’s early expressionist style of painting has always been associated with Van Gogh due to his use of vibrant and distinctive colour, as well as his swirling, expressionistic brushstrokes. Cockerel is a perfect example of Affandi’s early experimentation as an artist. In the present lot, Cocks Fighting II, Affandi’s subject of two dueling cockerels is still clearly visible even through his raw brushstrokes, while the dynamic swirls in the background reminds us of Vincent van Gogh’s well-known Starry Night.

A man of humble background, Affandi felt a strong affinity towards the depiction of everyday life within his art. Having resided on the island of Java, Affandi would have been a frequent witness of cockfighting or Sabung Ayam. A traditional contest between two game-cockerel who are made and encouraged to battle one another, cockfighting is not only an important communal activity which would have attracted many spectators and a vibrant atmosphere, but also an extension of the male ego and a means through which to demonstrate and perform masculine virility and dominance.

The cockfight is one of the themes that Affandi revisited throughout his artistic career, and he began to paint the scene in earnest from the mid-1950s. In Cocks Fighting II Affandi captures the scene from the vantage point of a spectator, and is an outstanding example of Affandi’s exploration of conveying moments of intense emotion onto the surface of the canvas. The excitement of the competition is established through the powerful strokes in the painting, and is an example of Affandi’s later works where the composition appears more wild and savage. The stark colours which are used to render the bodies of the cocks are perhaps a symbolic referent to the political tensions building up in the country at the time.

Affandi also portrays the strong, muscular arm and back of what is presumably the owner of one of the fighting cocks in the lower right corner of the painting. On his right, stands an onlooker in well-defined profile. Where the two fighting cocks tussle with each other in a dramatic clash of red and black on the left of the composition, the right side of the composition is mirrored and balanced with the inclusion of the torsos of the two men. The elegant execution of the male figure’s sinewy limbs and detailed musculature also reveals the influence of traditional wayang kulit puppetry in Affandi’s work. For both man and animal, Affandi achieves in presenting the elegance and vitality of everyday life.

The swirling, earthy palette used to depict the scene, where man, animal, and environment seem to surge into and apart from each other in frenetic movement grounds the painting firmly in the lived realm of experience, and the immediacy of the moment. Different pairs of hand and feet belonging to surrounding spectators are also depicted around the fighting ring, and Affandi succeeds in making the viewer feel like he is immersed in the engaging scene before him.


Contrasting Cocks Fighting II, At the Cockfight focuses a scene of preparation before the competition itself. Created a year prior to the present lot, Affandi captured the social theme of the genre with an emphasis on the gathering of men. The tight composition revelas an intimate scene between two men exchanging friendly gestures by generously pouring tuwak, traditional rice wine, into their open mouths. Created in the same aesthetic, this piece offers another perspective to the intensity of the cockfight. In his later year, Affandi’s work began to incorporate bright colours into his compositions. Painted in 1966, Vendedor de papagaios na praia de Copacabana (Kite seller at Copacabana beach) showcases the colourful scenery of Copacabana beach. Here, Affandi fully utilizes colourful lines to compose this lighthearted painting. Predominantly painted in yellow tones, Affandi captures an enjoyable scene of the beach with colourful boats laying at the side of the beach.

Cocks Fighting II demonstrates the use of Affandi’s distinctive technique of smearing paint directly onto the canvas. The inimitable gestural technique was invented by Affandi as the best approach for him to qualify his emotions using unaltered paint straight from the tube, and mixing the colours directly on the canvas with the sweeping strokes of his fingers. The bold line works created from this smearing technique gives a dramatic result to his paintings, and adds a tactile texture to the surface of the painting, in this case particularly accentuating the movement of the two game-cocks. Forming the subject with vigorous lines, Affandi brings together emotion and event in this superlative piece.

More from Asian 20th Century & Contemporary Art (Evening Sale)

View All
View All