With passionate talent and outstanding skills, Indonesian artists have produced masterpieces potential to bring the Indonesian art into a glorious period at the international level.
Auction houses such as Sotheby’s and Christie’s have been witnessing the escalating prices of Indonesian contemporary artworks, which are far higher than the initial estimate.
Renowned artists such as I Nyoman Masriadi, Rudi Mantofani and Agus Suwage are among those whose masterpieces have fetched hundreds of thousands or even a million dollar bids.
Last auction held by Christie’s in December 2010 featured a number of great Indonesian works, which achieved astonishing hammer prices. And despite the global economic meltdown, Masriadi’s Man from Bantul was sold for a million dollar at Sotheby’s Hong Kong Autumn 2008 sale.
This April 2011, Sotheby’s Hong Kong auction is looking forward to witnessing awesome bids of Masriadi’s works.
PMR had the opportunity to meet three renowned collectors; Deddy Kusuma from Indonesia, Pearl Lam from Hong Kong and Sydney Picasso from France; who share their view on Indonesian art.
Deddy Kusuma, one of Indonesian most influential collectors and supporters of Indonesian and Southeast Asian contemporary art, expresses his optimism that Indonesian artists are set to go international.
“Take a deep look at Indonesian paintings in general and you will see that many of them are made by skilled hands with talents comparable to artists from abroad,” Deddy asserts.
With an enthusiastic gesture, Deddy points at some paintings from various countries including Indonesia. “Look at the textures of this painting,” he says showing a painting by Indonesian artist Putu Sutawijaya. “Can you see how this artist depicts his life journey with heart onto a canvas? The value behind this masterpiece is truly comparable to other paintings from abroad. It’s time that Indonesian artists spread their wings. It’s time for them to go international!”
Deddy’s devotion to the Indonesian art took him to organise an esteemed exhibition at Art Paris in January 2010. Renting a 300-sqm space, he set up a curatorial team and took along twenty of the best Indonesian contemporary artists such as Masriadi, Rudi Mantofani, Handiwirman Saputra, Pintor Sirait, Astari, and more.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to introduce our talented artists to international forum. Indeed, these artists drew the attention of press not only from France, but also other nations, Deddy recalls the event that he calls, “A moment in which Indonesia has established its presence on the international art stage.”
Without doubt, these artists need proactive supports from those such as collectors in order to get global exposure. “I’ve seen that many worldwide collectors don’t purchase Indonesian artworks, not because of the quality, but mainly because they haven’t had the opportunities to see such beautiful artworks,” he adds.
In line with Deddy’s assertion, Pearl Lam, an art collector, the founder of China Art Foundation and the owner of Contrast Gallery, Hong Kong is amazed with how Indonesian artists mirror their talents to depict messages on their paintings.
“I notice that many Indonesian paintings portray social and political issues, which are sometimes hard for foreigners, like me, to interpret the message these artists try to convey. In spite of this, their outstanding skills allow me to see a distinct beauty that can be interpreted in different perspectives, and yet the nature of their artwork remains,” she expresses her opinion.
Despite her expertise in contemporary art, Pearl admits that she needs to learn more about Indonesian art. “I didn’t pay much attention about Indonesian paintings until Deddy Kusuma gave me a catalog of his collection in 2008 during a Hong Kong auction. My interest to learn more about Indonesian art started to emerge when knowing that a painting by Indonesian artist Nyoman Masriadi, The Man from Bantul was sold for HK$ 7,820,000 or around US$ 1 million.”
During her recent visit to Jakarta in March 2011, Pearl brought with her along Sydney Picasso, wife of Pablo Picasso’s son Claude. Their visit aims at gaining more knowledge on Indonesian art. “We are heading to Yogyakarta. And I’m so excited to explore more on the realm of Indonesian art,” Sydney says.
Originally from New York and now based in France, Sydney is one of the world’s renowned art collectors and an art professional.
Asked her view on Indonesian art, she responds, “I’m not yet familiar with the Indonesian art. But what I can tell, from what I have seen so far, is that Indonesian artists have spoken their talent through distinct expressions of artworks, which show creative composition ideas.”
Regardless of their nationalities, Sydney says that the world of art always welcomes zestful artists who continually do innovative works. “I believe Indonesian artists have the potential to be the ones.”
In expressing her opinion whether Indonesian artists have the capabilities of positioning themselves internationally, she concludes, “I don’t see any reason what makes them not ready to go global.”
By Aulia R. Sungkar.Published in the 10th edition of PMR Magazine, 2011.