Art is a revolt against fate. All art is a revolt against man's fate.
~ Andre Malraux
The last time I was in the culturally-rich city of Yogyakarta in Central Java, I made sure to check out the wonderfully offbeat art gallery-cum-museum that pays homage to Indonesia’s most famous painter Affandi (1907-1990).
Located on the banks of the Gajah Wong River, the museum is located a fair distance out of town and on the road which takes you to the magnificent Hindu temple Prambanan. The museum also happens to be Affandi’s former home and it becomes immediately clear that this was a man of great imagination and wit – the roof of the main building has what looks like a huge banana leaf as its roof!
Affandi was an expressionist and his paintings are to Indonesian art what Nirvana, the Smashing Pumpkins and Radiohead are to angst imbibed post-punk rock: loud, colorful and, above all, seaming with emotion, passion and creative intent.
While all great artists are said to be either ahead of their time or behind it, Affandi went one better. He was both ahead of his time and behind it. Simultaneously.
Painting during a period when Indonesia was still very inward looking and parochial following the great upheavals of independence, Affandi, by contrast, was a great visionary - an individualist whose ideals were close to those of the liberal freethinkers in the west.
As a result, Affandi won plenty of plaudits overseas and his works were exhibited in countries such as Brazil, Italy, India and the US.
But Affandi also looked back in time and he didn’t try to refute his uncanny similarities with the legendary Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh.
Anyway, that’s enough spiel. Let a couple of his masterpieces do the talking!
Affandi’s version for Times Square sold at a Sotheby’s fine art auction for a cool US$434,000
Jl. Laksda Adi Sucipto 167