"Sudjojono saw that within the feudal community a nobleman held more value than a carriage driver or a vegetable seller due to social conventions: feudalism established a vertical distance between human beings. Heroic events were considered to be of more value than the buying and selling of vegetables in the market place due to social conventions. And animals such as bulls and lions were viewed as having a higher value than goats.
Sudjojono rejected this hierarchy of reality and convention. Painters, according to Sudjojono, must only resort to their own souls. To him painting was the visualization of the soul. Because of that, painters must be free of the ties introduced by all the forms of collectivity, so that they are 'true' that is that they are capable of setting forth everything that is in their hearts, everything that stirs in their souls, in a pure, straightforward manner without any limitations. Painters must be free of conventional standards, tradition, and the conventional grouping of people. The soul of a painter visible in a painting is what gives value to that painting. In this way painters could truly paint anything and bring forth works of quality as long as they guarded the quality of the soul." (Jim Supangkat, "The Emergence of Indonesian Modern Art" in Indonesian Modern Art and Beyond, The Indonesian Fine Arts Foundation, Jakarta, 1997, p. 38).
Jim Supangkat sums up the belief of S. Sudjojono very well. As the main exponent of Indonesian Modernism, the artist advocates the rejection of the Mooie Indie's (Beautiful Indonesia) aesthetics of romanticizing the land and the people. The eloquent artist very much provides the theoretical framework to the movement:
"...there is one factor which I consider major. That is the factor of the populace. Even though I hate the society we have now, I love the populace, the people. My people are a people who can understand imagination, but when their wives and children are hungry, they will resort to theft." (Ibid, p. 39).
The raw and real facts of true living in his country. These are the subjects that interest Sudjojono and the other modernist artists. The Piper is an excellent illustration of the artist's obsession with the ordinary folks. The sitter is presented in a plain narrative manner with no adornment. Frowning, as he plays the instrument, the cringed facial expression of the piper corresponds with his textured clothes. Placed in amidst of a desolate landscape, a mood that is enhanced by the predominant, dark, earthy tone of the work, the sitter captivates the onlooker with a sense of immediacy and above all, an unique personality.