(Indonesian, B. 1973)
Budaya Keroyokan (Mob Violence)
signed and dated 'MASRIADI 26 Mei 2002' (lower left)
acrylic on canvas
145 x 200 cm. (57 x 78 3?4 in.)
Painted in 2002
Private Collection, London, UK
Singapore Art Museum, Masriadi: Black is My Last Weapon, Singapore, 2008 (illustrated, p. 55).
T.K. Sabapathy, Nyoman Masriadi: Reconfiguring the Body, Gajah Gallery, Singapore, 2010 (illustrated, p. 152).
Singapore, Singapore Art Museum, Masriadi: Black Is My Last Weapon, 22 August-9 November 2008.

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Lot Essay

Art historians, critics and collectors alike have hailed Masriadi as one of the leading figurative painters in contemporary painting today. Art historian T K Sabapathy points to Masriadi's reconfiguration of the body as the central pictorial interest in Masriadi's oeuvre, best represented in his 'compact, yet expansive figures that are preponderantly male'. Masriadi's protagonist is the archetypal small-time hero, recycled and refashioned from a pastiche of contradictory elements. As a painter, Masriadi derives a great deal of pictorial influence from his interest in video gaming. The highly charged formal and symbolic compositions in his works draw from the imagination and aspirations often revealed in the work of video gaming creators.

The present lot, Mob Violence (Lot 421) depicts a group of thugs threateningly engulfing a victim. Masriadi has framed the composition extremely tightly, reminiscent of the way cinematic lens close in on a scene, increasing the dramatic tension already inherent in the scene. The chief villain, with only his bulky upper body visible, stands at the foreground, aggressively questioning the victim who is being forcibly made to squat. Behind the victim stand the gangsters' sinister henchmen, all of whom are only identified by their tough no-nonsense military garb. "What did you say?", the gangster bellows in response to the victim's feeble accusation of mob violence. The scene captured is poignant and suffused with narrative potential beyond the moment. One wonders what might have been the incident that has led to this confrontation and what might happen in the following seconds. Masriadi's ability to distill and portray moments such as this is his genius as a contemporary painter.

I Nyoman Masriadi has captured the attention of the Indonesian and regional art world ever since he came of age in the early 2000s with a compelling body of works that examined power relations and the justice. Between 2002 and 2005, he painted some of his most memorable paintings of thugs, underworld characters and tough guys in different scenarios that expose their essential character and revealed the psychological makeup of the underworld. Mob Violence is one of the finest and most complete paintings from this period.

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