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Posts Tagged ‘Jumaldi Alfi’

What is Indonesian style? Jumaldi Alfi on the art, style and Jogja – interview

Posted by artradar on November 25, 2009


CONTEMPORARY INDONESIAN ART

The Sotheby’s success of contemporary Indonesian artists like  I Nyoman Masriadi, who sold  a single painting for more than $245,000 USD at auction on October 6th, 2009 in Hong Kong, has grabbed the attention of the art world. There finally appears to be much international interest in art from the politically heated Southeast Asian island nation. However, what is Indonesian art, and is there an ‘Indonesian style’? Art Radar Asia researcher Erin Wooters discusses the emerging style from this part of the art world with renowned Indonesian artist Jumaldi Alfi at Sin Sin Fine Art in Hong Kong before the opening of the ‘Diverse 40 x 40’ exhibition, which features the works of Alfi, Andy Dewantoro, and Nasirun.

Renewal/ Verjungung Series 3-A, by Jumaldi Alfi, 2009. Acrylic on canvas. Image courtesy of Sin Sin Fine Art.

Jumaldi Alfi, born July 19th 1973, is from Padang in West Sumatra, and studied in Java at the Indonesian High School of the Arts and then the Indonesian Institute of Arts in Jogja (also known as Yogyakarta or Jogjakarta.) In 2008 his work sold for upwards of $35,000 USD at Sotheby’s,  and he has experienced continued success in 2009. He describes his complicated journey to becoming an artist:

Alfi: My family has a poetry culture. My uncle is a poet and my family prepared me to be appointed to his position, because in our clan we need someone to talk to people with symbolic words. My uncle taught me, but I couldn’t [take his position], because in our poetic culture you need to have very focused writing, from the first to the last word, or else the meaning is gone… Honestly, I did not always want to be an artist. I thought I would follow my uncle, because of our bloodline. But when I chose to be an artist for my career, my mom wanted to know why. They thought artists were not disciplined, so stinky, long hair..

Q: What do you think makes Indonesian art different or unique from other Southeast Asian art?

Alfi: Eighty percent of the artists stay in Jogja.. In Indonesia, especially in Jojga, we live together and have an open community, keeping and sharing the energy… We open our hearts, not just the brain.

Q: So you think the way the people interact is special and different, and that’s what makes the art different?

Alfi: Yea, the place! The city is open, individual, and very personal. Jojgakarta is a small city, and feels like all family. If I am bored or depressed when working in my studio late at night, I can go out, places will still be open, and many artists will be there. I think it’s good. We talk, and then I am back to my studio with a renewed energy.

Q: Is there anything else that makes Indonesian art unique or different from other Southeast Asian art?

Alfi: Yes, our heart.

Renewal /Verjungung Series 2-B, by Jumaldi Alfi, 2009. Acrylic on Canvas. Image courtesy of Sin Sin Fine Art

Q: Are there any subject matters or themes relating Indonesian art?

Alfi: Honestly, we don’t have a connector in Indonesian art. You can’t find something and say – Oh, this is Indonesian style. You can see the style is very modern. We use Western techinique. We use oil and acrylic, but still you can feel it is not Western. It is not Western because when we start working, we don’t use our brain first. We use our feeling, it’s about feeling. If we’re inspired, we work. If not, we stop.

Q: I see. That touches on the next question, which is if there is a distinct ‘Indonesian style’.

Alfi: We don’t have an Indonesian style. Indonesia is only a nation. A nation- basically, we are different. West Sumatra and Java are different. The language, the culture, the food, the character, and the emotional feeling are different. The Javanese people are more defensive than the Sumatrans. Sumatrans are more progressive, and have more heart. Javanese are more quiet.

Q: What is Jogja surrealism, and what inspired it?

Alfi: The 80’s! Jojga surrealism and abstract expressionism is the generation from the 1980’s. In Jojga, the painting is not only surreal, the situation is surreal. Many modern people live there but still believe in traditional mysticism. The surrealism concept in Indonesia and in the West is totally different.

Q: Is your art spiritually inspired or a response to the spirituality in Indonesia?

Alfi: Yes, very much. [It is] not conceptual. Art is the way for me to understand myself.

Renewal /Verjungung Series 4-B, by Jumaldi Alfi, 2009. Acrylic on Canvas. Image courtesy of Sin Sin Fine Art.

Q:  Is there a central theme in your artwork or a certain idea you are exploring?

Alfi: It is my idea of myself. It is about myself and what I’m feeling. If you want to know the people, know yourself. If you know yourself, you know the people.

Q: How did you meet Sin Sin?

Alfi: I think we found each other because of her karma and my karma. When I first met her my English was really bad and we couldn’t talk, but when I showed her my work she understood. I felt good energy, and that is very important to me. I knew it was a good situation. I believe in the connection of body language and the aura. Sometimes you meet people you don’t know, but you want to help them. After one minute, you feel like old friends.

Q: What is the nationality of your major collectors?

Alfi: Mostly Indonesian, although the art is making its way to Europe. I think 80% of my collectors are concerned with investment and business, and the rest are serious art lovers.

Jumaldi Alfi is currently exhibiting at Sin Sin Fine Art’s “Diverse- 40 x 40” with fellow Indonesian artists Andy Dewantoro and Nasirun. The show runs from Nov 12- Dec 13, 2009.

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Posted in Gallery shows, Heart art, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Indonesian, Interviews, Jumadli Alfi, Painting, Self, Spiritual, Surrealist | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Sin Sin, Hong Kong gallerist and Indonesian art specialist, on recently flourishing Indonesian art scene- interview-

Posted by artradar on September 9, 2009


INDONESIAN CONTEMPORARY ART

Sin Sin, Hong Kong curator, artist, and designer

Sin Sin, Hong Kong curator, artist, and designer

It was a sweltering Hong Kong afternoon, and I was feeling scattered after running through Hong Kong’s charmingly retro Hollywood Road district in search of the renowned Sin Sin Atelier. Upon discovering it, I was escorted into Sin Sin’s office, which was unlike any ‘office’ I have ever seen. I felt I had stumbled upon an oasis of tranquility within Central, or a secret inner sanctum. Clearly I had found a special place, and a very special woman. Her name is Sin Sin, and she was kind enough to spend some of her time speaking with Art Radar.

To be blunt, Sin Sin is the reigning queen of Indonesian art in Hong Kong. A well-traveled ‘lifestyle designer’, she opened the Sin Sin Atelier in 1998, which features her personally designed collection of Southeast Asian inspired clothing, handbags, and jewelry. She also runs the Sin Sin Fine Art Gallery, which is widely considered to be among the most prominent art galleries in Hong Kong, and represents the best artists from Indonesia and around the world. The Sin Sin Annex, located across from the atelier, displays progressive installation and performance art, and serves as a public space for artist lectures. Sin Sin’s establishments are distinguished as Hong Kong’s only art spaces specializing in Indonesian art.

Also, as though Sin Sin weren’t multi-tasking enough, art lovers traveling to Bali in Indonesia can stay at Villa Sin Sin, Sin Sin’s 3 signature villas designed in collaboration with star-architect Gianni Francione, which surround guests in Balinese art and Indonesian beauty.

But questions remain, what makes this energetic art maven tick? Why is she working with Indonesian art in Hong Kong, and what insight can she offer into the Southeast Asian art scene? Read on for more.

Humble Hong Kong beginnings

Sin Sin now deals in artworks from all around the world and wistfully describes art as the ‘taste of life’, but once upon a time she was a Hong Kong Chinese girl growing up in a Chinese incense-filled temple in the rural mountainous Diamond Hill area of Kowloon, Hong Kong, and lived alongside native clans people.

Born into a devout Catholic family in the late 50’s, she studied at a Catholic school. As far her education beyond that, she is proud to be self-taught and comments, “I wasn’t into academics… I was always involved in creative activities, like acting, dancing, singing… There is an ancient Chinese saying about my approach to education. Roughly translated it means I would rather gain life experience by walking my journey.”

A true free spirit, she says that she always wanted a career in art, but her highly successful career has been spontaneous rather than strategic. She remarks, “I didn’t plan this, you can’t plan.” When she is not making and managing art at her atelier, she can be found performing Chinese opera, practicing calligraphy, or traveling and enjoying life.

Eddie Hara, Yunizar

Left: Monster City, by I Gusti Ngurah Buda, 2007. Middle: Big Mouth Says Nothing, by Eddie Hara, 2005. Right: Frizzy Buddha, by Yunizar, 2004.

Lucky eye for art

She always had a keen eye for art, and her ability to pluck artwork that will appreciate in the future from far-flung galleries is uncanny. She describes her first experience buying art, which was 18 years ago in Vietnam, when she bought a piece for a few hundred US dollars that is now estimated to be worth 30-50 times what she paid:

“Years ago [1991] when I was starting to collect art, I was lucky to see the work of Bùi Xuân Phái in Vietnam. I felt strongly attracted by his work, and wanted to learn more about him… It happens to have appreciated quite a lot, but it is extremely special to me for the way it makes me feel.”

“West is mature, the East is upcoming”

Sin Sin has a connection to multiple places and cultures, including Hong Kong, Laos, Thailand, Indonesia, and mainland China. She explains:

“I appreciate the earthiness of these cultures, the simple and beautiful life of the people. Of course I’ve traveled to the States and Europe, but when I was younger the West didn’t speak to my soul yet. Their attitudes are developed, not exciting and new. There is no pleasure in the modern world… In the East there is something new, but under developed. You can feel the suffering and people waiting to be discovered. It speaks more to the soul, more natural, more earthy… West is mature, the East is upcoming.”

Regarding her extensive travels, Sin Sin says, “I love India, Shangri-la, Yunan… Bali and Indonesia was amazing energy for my 20’s, so many people go and never come home. And people there are willing and wanting to do something, there are so many possibilities when things are cheaper. Now there is a different need in my life. I go to places like Tuscany and Switzerland. [Also] there is different energy in Yunan, it is mysterious, powerful, and severe, but in a calm and peaceful way.”

Bob Sick, Eddie Hara, and Putu

Left: Family, by Bob Sick Yudhita, 2007. Middle: Postcards From the Alps 29, by Eddie Hara, 2003. Right: Where Are My Wings, by Putu Sutawijaya, 2007.

Why Indonesian art?

Sin Sin has been cultivating close relationships with Indonesian artists for the past 6 years. She does not speak Indonesian Bahasar yet she does not experience barriers communicating with the artists: “That is part of the beauty between me and the artists, we still understand.”

So why is Sin Sin so interested in Indonesian art? She explains:

“It makes me happy to see them [the artists and communities] grow. They are open, free, and they share. When one artist sells, it is good for the group. I don’t want to say mission- but, I want to share the beauty of this part of the world. I’ve traveled to Indonesia for about 24 years, and I fell in love, even though there are things to hate, like there are in any country. But, I loved the nature and the culture, that it’s between Hindu and Muslim, and it’s so beautiful. Who doesn’t like this? It is full of color, freedom, the beauty of nature, and ceremony. You feel free as a bird.”

The Indonesian Invasion Exhibition

Sin Sin credits curating the Indonesian Invasion exhibition as the favorite project of her career, and it was certainly a significant event in the Asian art world. It stands as the largest and most important survey of contemporary Indonesian art that has ever been shown outside of Indonesia. It took place April 2- May 15, 2008 at the Sin Sin Annex and Atelier, featuring 14 of the most notable Indonesian artists of this generation. Each artist was chosen for his distinct individuality, and most already had prior success selling at auction. The following artists were included:

Bob Sick YudhitaEddie HaraEntang WiharsoI Gusti Ngurah Buda Jumaldi AlfiMuhamad IrfanPande Ketut Taman

Putu SutawijayaRudi MantofaniS. Teddy DarmawanTisna SanjayaUgo UntoroYunizarZulkarnaini

Enin Supriyanto, an Indonesian curator, also contributed to the exhibition with his lecture ‘The Contemporary and Sub-Cultures: A Slice of Indonesian Contemporary Art,’ on March 31, 2008 at the Hong Kong Visual Arts Center. This lecture was recorded and is currently accessible to the public at the Asia Art Archive.  The Indonesian Invasion exhibition was also documented by Roland Hagenberg, and his coverage and artist interviews are available on Youtube.

Kokok sculpture and paintings

Left: Cutting Soldier, by Kokok Sancoko, 2009. Middle: Painting #11, by Kokok Sancoko, 2009. Right: Painting #15, by Kokok Sancoko.

Sin Sin on the Indonesian Art Scene

Q: Which artists do you collect and admire?

“I admire so many… I don’t put myself in a box, like, this is the only kind of work I like- boring! It depends on the message they channel. I like primitive and contemporary. I appreciate ancient things. I would also like to see Western artists inspired by the East, and Eastern artists inspired by the West, but this takes time…”

“Of Indonesian artists, I collect YunizarRudi MantofaniPutu Sutawijaya, S. Teddy Darmawan, and Jumaldi Alfi. Of Chinese artists, I collect Sun Guangyi,  Wong How Man, Wong Yan Kwai, and Niu An (Ann New). Overseas artists in my collection include Rolf Lorenz [UK], and Rick Lewis [USA].”

Q: Who is the most significant Indonesian artist right now?

“I love them all, the beauty is that they are all individual and different. YunizarPutu Sutawijaya, Rudi Mantofani, and Jumaldi Alfi are very established, and their work is difficult to get because they are very hot at the moment… Bob Sick Yudhita is one of a kind. He is a real, true artist, and works in a street art style, like Jean-Michel Basquiat.”

Kokok Sancoko is among the most prominent upcoming artists, and is a great observer. His work gives viewers a lot of room to think.”

S. Teddy Darmawan is an artist who is never afraid of taking risks and making art with many possibilities. There is no doubt of Teddy’s passion to the art world.”

Sin Sin describes a big jump in the Indonesian art scene recently (in the past 2-3 years) and for the first time is seeing interest from the West and overseas. Coincidentally, Indonesia was classified as a ‘Next 11’ country by Goldman Sachs in 2005, a country with a newly emerging economy with optimistic outlook for investment. Sin Sin agrees these shifts in world affairs ‘obviously’ appear to correspond to the contemporary art market, because citizens are finally becoming monied enough to purchase their own cultural symbols, and the international profile of a country rises and gains esteem among other nations, which will also purchase the artwork from that country. Hence, Indonesian art is finally making its way to New York City.

Q: Who are the professionals you most admire and enjoy working with in Indonesian art?

Enin Supriyanto, a curator of Indonesian art. He knows it and is supportive, and gives his honest idea.

Q: Which institutions do you recommend to art lovers in Indonesia?

Komaneka Fine Art Gallery in Bali, a casual Ubud gallery, and the Nadi Fine Art Gallery in Jakarta.

Q: Where are most Indonesian artists educated?

The most artists are in Jogja [Yogyakarta, also Jogja, Yogya, Jogjakart], and the school is there [Indonesian Institute of the Arts]. Most artists are trained at this one school.

Q: I noticed your formal title on your website is ‘Lifestyle Creator’. What is a lifestyle creator?

I’m involved in all aspects of creative design. Sometimes I’m a curator, a designer, and sometimes I feel like a producer when I put so much of my energy into a project. Who am I, then? Call me an artist, a creator.

Q: What future projects are you excited about?

Something I’m planning, but can’t speak on yet. I’m also interested in creating a show overseas. It is a beauty for people to see another part of the world like this. I’m looking for the right gallery, and I’m ready to see what we can collaborate overseas. I am based here to contribute something to my society, but I’m sure my artists want to go further, and I’d like to take them far away. I’d like to take the East to the West to show the new vision of the East. As a Hong Kong Chinese, I want to introduce this artwork, because I believe people want to know things but do not have access. Or maybe people want to know but don’t know who to talk to. Maybe I can have a contribution here.

Sin Sin’s Advice

For artists starting out:

Starting is easy! It’s like a honeymoon. If you decided, don’t give up, because it will be difficult. But I would say to artists from China, Laos, Indonesia… Why do you want to do this? Everyone discourages an artist, and being a 100% artist is so hard. They want to be free, okay, but everything comes with a price. This is the choice. It is a difficult way to go, especially in Hong Kong. Hong Kong’s history is less than 50 years as a developed city, since the 1960’s. But now, art helps people… Now is like a revolution, and people should focus on life and have more energy.

For artists approaching galleries:

Do research, see what work the gallery represents and if your work matches. Then you can approach by sending something, pictures.

For new collectors:

Well, I don’t know the stock market, but if I want to buy a stock, I’d go to a good broker. If I want to buy art, I’d go to a gallery with a collection that is appealing to me, and start there.

The Sin Sin Atelier and Annex is located at 52-53 Sai Street, in Central Hong Kong, and the Sin Sin Fine Art Gallery is at 1 Prince’s Terrace, Mid-levels, Hong Kong.

-contributed by Erin Wooters

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Posted in Artists as curators, Curators, Gallerists/dealers, Hong Kong, Hong Kong Artists, Indonesia, Indonesian, Interviews, Putu Sutawijaya, Uncategorised | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Inspiring art in important Indonesian art shows Spring 2009

Posted by artradar on April 17, 2009


INDONESIAN ART REVIEWS

Indonesian art has proved a real inspiration in these times of cynicism and economic despair says Adeline Ooi after her tour of some of the most important exhibitions of Indonesian art around Southeast Asia this spring. Read on for her reviews.

 

Installation at Fluid Zones in Jakarta Biennale

Installation at Fluid Zones in Jakarta Biennale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jakarta Biennale 2009

My year began with a trip to the Indonesian capital to visit Jakarta Biennale at the end of February. Despite severe budget limitations, which have meant that each of its main components has lasted for just a month or less, the 2009 instalment of the Biennale is probably one of the most well received in Indonesia in recent years.

ARE(N)A -this year’s biennale theme, takes Jakarta, and then Southeast Asia in the world, as its playground, without any grandstanding. The modesty and clarity of the curatorial approach is refreshing. “Fluid Zones” is the central visual art element, which maps Southeast Asian artists under 40 and also works by other international artists made during recent residencies in the region. Curator Agung Hujatnikajennong from Selasar Sunaryo has pulled together a tight and revealing show spread over the Galeri Nasional and the new mall Grand Indonesia, leading us intuitively through the rough and tumble of Southeast Asian chaos via subtle thematic and strategic resonances.

There was no shock-and-awe, and nothing in particular that was mind blowing (perhaps due to familiarity with many of the artists and some of the works), but the overall sense of engagement, the intimacy and personal commitment of the show makes this a truly meaningful experience.

 

Jumaldi Alfi, I Like to see myself as a Prophet, Jendela

Jumaldi Alfi, I Like to see myself as a Prophet, Jendela

 

JENDELA in Singapore – first exhibition outside Indonesia


Ten days later, my colleagues and I drove down to Singapore for JENDELA group’s exhibition “A Play of the Ordinary” at National University of Singapore (NUS) Museum. This is a momentous event for the group as it is their first major exhibition outside Indonesia.

Combining old works dating as far back as 1999 with new ones, “A Play of the Ordinary” traces the group’s development over the past decade. Working in a distinctive visual symbolic language, using still life and landscape forms, these five artists from West Sumatra have differentiated themselves from a predominantly figurative-based and socio-politically driven Indonesian art context and are now leading figures in their own right.

As we walked through each thematically curated room, we witnessed the artists’ maturing styles, their unusual humour and wit, as well as the close friendship and influence they have on each other’s artistic development.
Kelompok Seni Rupa JENDELA or JENDELA Art Group comprises Jumaldi Alfi, Handiwirman Saputra, Rudi Mantofani, Yunizar and Yusra Martunus. Meaning ‘window’ both in Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Malaysia, JENDELA members have become key players in Indonesia, and are also recognised as major artists in the contemporary regional art scene.

Not only have they impacted their local scene through their individual and collective practice, members of the group are also passionate promoters of Indonesian art, driven by a sense of duty ¬-‘to give back’. Jumaldi Alfi has recently opened a residency programme in Yogyakarta for college students, researchers, and curator who wish to learn more about Indonesian art.

 Wayang Kulit (shadow puppet) characters from Eko Nugroho's "Hidden Violence" show

Wayang Kulit (shadow puppet) characters from Eko Nugroho's "Hidden Violence" show

 

Eko Nugroho at Cemeti Art House


Eko Nugroho’s “Hidden Violence” at Cemeti Art House in Yogyakarta is the other major March highlight. This rising young star has carved a name for himself through his multi-disciplinary practice, agilely interpreting his comic inspired works through a range of media, from fanzines to mural, from drawings to large-scale embroidery, from 3-dimensional objects sculptures to multi-media installations.

Eko has since ventured into unchartered territory through his latest contemporary ‘wayang kulit’ (shadow puppets) presentation. Fusing the old with the new, the artist has collaborated with local wayang makers or artisans to create a cast of part-man part-machine characters from his sci-fi apocalyptic world.

Eko’s updated version also defies a number of strict rules attributed to this traditional performing art :

1) the characters are not fixed characters and can potentially play villain and/or hero at any time.

2) the soundtrack is an amalgamation of sounds from electronically and digitally generated soundscapes to hip-hop music, and

3) there is more than one story teller (dalang) and

4) the stories relate to the everyday as well as political issues in his surroundings.

Beyond the gleeful laughter of a mischievous provocateur, Eko’s work tends to hit a few home truths, holding up a mirror to contemporary Indonesian society and human nature in general, exposing mankind’s contradictory nature, our quirks and flaws.

 

 

Yuli Prayitno's chair sculpture "I Can't Get Now Satisfaction (2007-2009)"

Yuli Prayitno's chair sculpture "I Can't Get Now Satisfaction (2007-2009)"

 

Yuli Prayitno at Nadi Gallery

Finally, Yuli Prayitno’s much awaited solo exhibition at Nadi Gallery in Jakarta entitled ” I Love…”, opened on April Fool’s day after a near two year delay.

This young promising Yogyakarta based sculptor, also an obsessive compulsive perfectionist, launched into control freak mode a year ago and decided to do away with assistants. The delay is truly worth the wait and the quality speaks for itself; the time taken to make each object contributes to the value of the work. Fine finishing, beautiful treatment of material and form, a witty imagination and sardonic humour are among the main reasons why local collectors covet Prayitno’s works. This exhibition should not be missed.

Where and when

Jakarta Biennale 2009
Fluid Zone: Traffic and Mapping
7 – 27 Feb. 2009
National Gallery Jakarta
Grand Indonesia Shopping Mall, East Side
http://www.jakartabiennale.com

Jendela – A Play of the Ordinary
27 February – 19 April 2009
National University of Singapore (NUS) Museum, Singapore
http://www.nus.edu.sg/museum/exhibitions_jendela.html

Eko Nugroho; Hidden Violence
17 March – 18 April 2009
Cemeti Art House
Jl. D.I. Panjaitan 41, Yogyakarta 55143
http://www.cemetiarthouse.com

Yuli Prayitno: “I Love…”
April 1-13, 2009
Nadi Gallery
Jl. Kembang Indah III, Blok G3 No. 4-5, Puri Indah, Jakarta 11610
http://www.nadigallery.com

Contributed by Adeline Ooi, a curator and arts writer from Malaysia. She is the co-director of RogueArt, an art consultancy specialising in Southeast Asian art and will be talking soon in Hong Kong at the Asia Art Forum lecture series in May 2009. Find out more by clicking the link.

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Posted in Biennials, Conceptual, Indonesia, Indonesian, Installation, Singapore, Southeast Asian, Surveys | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Luck for Sothebys at Southeast Asian auction 2009 in Hong Kong

Posted by artradar on April 7, 2009


SOUTHEAST ASIAN ART AUCTION

Summary:

  • 138 lots, 106 sold, sell through rate 77%
  • Cheapest lots (under US$15,000) were overlooked in favour of more expensive works by better known artists
  • 95 contemporary, remainder modern
  • Thin attendance
  • Prices slashed by Sothebys – estimates drop more than 50%
  • Sale dominated by Indonesian works
  • Ronald Ventura and I Nyoman Masriadi drew surprisingly frenzied bidding
  • I Nyoman Masriadi achieved the highest prices, albeit much lower than in 2008, 3 of his works appeared in the top 10 for the sale. His not dissimilar sale-topping works (Negotiation 2009 and The Final Round 2008) showed more than 75% drop between Spring 2009 and Autumn 2008.
I Nyoman Masriadi Negosiasi

I Nyoman Masriadi Negosiasi

Empty seats

Half the seats were empty at the start of the thinly attended the 138 lot auction of modern and contemporary Southeast Asian art which kick-started the Sotheby’s series of 2009 Spring sales in Hong Kong. As the 18 or so grim-faced Sotheby’s staff at the telephone bank surveyed the 60 or more empty seats, there was a gluey air of tension.

The first 12 lots of the 95 contemporary works on sale, most at estimates of well under US$15,000, saw gentle bidding but thanks to much coaxing by veteran auctioneer Quek Chin Yeow, all but two ( works by Indonesian artists Eko Nugroho and Dikdik Sayahdikumullah) scraped the estimates and sales were achieved.

The room relaxed and bidding picked up for the next 20 or so lots (13-33) with particular interest shown in:

  • Rodel Tapaya (b 1980) Donsadat and the Magic Dog which sold over estimate for HK$90,000 (excl premium) after a tussle between 2 phone bidders and the room
  • M Irfan (b 1972) The Artifact of Magic which attracted 4 bidders and achieved a price of HK$235,000 (excl premium) against a top estimate of HK$180,000.
  • Yunizar (b 1971) Texs III sold at HK$210,000 against its higher estimate of HK$180,000.

In a dramatic twist this was followed by a run of half a dozen passes and barely-made sales. The first lot called My God offered by  heavyweight Agus Suwage (b.1959 Indonesia) almost fell victim to the new twitchiness but just scraped by to achieve its lower estimate of HK$220,000.

Catalogue-featured lots

Lot 40, the first of the 5 catalogue-featured lots, Lost Notes by Rudi Mantofani, a stunning sculpture of two guitars curved to form a circle, more than met expectations by achieving a price one third higher than estimate. In a testament perhaps to the power of deeper catalogue marketing, the other featured works also did well:

  • lot 58 I Nyoman Masriadi‘s (b 1973 Indonesia) painting Negotiation – this acrylic featuring two cowboys facing off,  turned out to be the star lot  and achieved the highest price in the sale when 4 phone and 2 room bidders pushed the price up to  HK$1.4m against a top estimate of $800,000. However this was a mighty fall of over 75% compared with the price achieved for a similar work The Final Round autumn 2008. Negotiation  fetched just HK$1.7m (US$217,000) including premium, less than a quarter of the US$1 million price tag for the Boxers.
  • lot 67 FX Harsono (b 1949) Tracing the Past achieved its estimate at HK$175,000

Handiwirman Saputra, Soap, Aluminium, 20x100cms

Handiwirman Saputra, Soap, Aluminium, 20x100cms

  • lot 75 Handiwirman Supatra‘s pink-painted aluminium sculpture Soap achieved a price (HK$300,000) double its top estimate. Originally conceived as a commissioned group of works for Novotel Hotel in Indonesia this was Supatra’s first large-scale sculpture project. Aside from the artist’s one-off, there are 4 versions of the work each in a unique colour.
  • lot 88 Ronald Ventura‘s (b 1973) Oh Boy painting – this lot saw the most exciting bidding . The fast-paced overlapping bids keeping the ever-ebullient auctioneer Chin Yeow on his toes and prompted a happy quip about there being ‘no recession’ now.
Ronald Ventura Oh Boy

Ronald Ventura Oh Boy

Lucky 88 for Ronald Ventura

8 is a lucky number in China and it was certainly lucky for Sotheby’s because the lot marked a turning point. After a poor 12 lot run (lots 76-87) in which there were 6 passes and the remainder just meeting the lower estimates, Ronald Ventura‘s lot 88 galvanised the room with its spray gun pre-recession-style bidding from more than a dozen bidders. The remainder of the contemporary artworks in the sale – lots 89-95 – all sold well despite having some of the highest prices in the sale (all over HK$100,000). Ahmad Zakii Anwar Silent City 8 (8 again!) sold at estimate despite a previous pass for a work located earlier in the sale. The other 6 lots by heavyweight artists – Geraldine Javier, Handiwirman Saputra, I Nyoman Masriadi and Yunizar with prices considerably higher than most of the works earlier in the sale (estimates in the HK$100,000 to HK$400,000 range) – all sold with comfortable margins over estimates.

No upsets

Other lots which drew notable interest included lot 13 Jumaldi Alfi‘s painting The Falls which saw goood bidding and achieved a price of HK$270,000 against estimate HK$230,000 and  lot 75 M Irfan‘s (b 1972) Maneuver. 3 room bidders pushed up the price to HK$130,000 against its top estimate of HK$90,000.

There were no major upsets but some passes were surprising including lot 19, an untitled work by Handiwirman Saputra, lot 46 Putu Sutawijaya‘s untitled painting and lot 50 Dadang Christanto‘s work Pilgrim Project 2. Agus Suwage had 2 works in the sale, both did sell but only just.

Happy faces

The auctioneers were clearly happy and entertained the room with  jaunty banter. When Kevin Ching, CEO of Asia – known for tongue in cheek bawdiness – placed a bid on Vasan Sitthiket‘s ‘American Wet Dream’, the irrepressible auctioneer Chin Yeow who jokingly refused to refer to the painting by name because it ‘is too rude’, cheekily teased his colleague saying “Not a surprise from Kevin Ching”. “What do you mean?” deadpanned Ching right back.

And happy they deserve to be. Although this sale had one of the lower sell-through rates of the Sothebys 2009 Spring sales due to an excess of cheaper works by lesser known artists, the strategy of presenting predominantly Indonesian works by preferred artists was clearly aimed to please and did please an established clientele: a small number of deep-pocketed Indonesian collectors of Chinese origin and other hard core collectors. And what might the future hold?  Maybe deeper catalogue marketing, fewer works by lesser known artists and perhaps we will see a few more 8s sprinkled amongst the lot numbers next autumn.

Notes:

  • prices exclude buyers’ premium.
  • Exchange rate HK$7.7 = US$1.
  • All artists named are Indonesian except Ronald Ventura and Geraldine Javier from the Philippines

Related links: Bloomberg’s report

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Indonesian, Filipino prices rise at Sotheby’s despite meltdown

Posted by artradar on October 13, 2008


I Nyoman Masriadi The Final Round

I Nyoman Masriadi The Final Round

 

AUCTION SOUTH EAST ASIAN ART 2008

Sotheby’s autumn sales in Hong Kong were grim apart from the South East Asian sale which provided some much needed relief. The success of the sale prompted an ebullient quip from Sotheby’s entertaining auctioneer Chin Yeow : “Is there a financial meltdown out there because I am not feeling it. The banks should ask our bidders if they need money!”

The sale included Malaysian, Filipino, Singaporean and Vietnamese art but was dominated by Indonesian works. Bidding was thin for Vietnamese lots and these attracted interest mainly from Paris. In contrast the Filipino and in particular the Indonesian lots attracted fierce bidding wars from bidders on all continents.

The works which attracted most interest included those by I Nyoman Masriadi, Agus Suwage, Rudy Mantofani and FX Harsano.

Two Indonesian markets: modern/colonial and contemporary/popular

Information about Indonesian art is notoriously difficult to come by. Helen Spanjaard, a Dutch art academic specialising in Indonesian art (one of only two in the world who speak English she says), explains that there are two distinct markets for Indonesian works – the colonial/Dutch influenced body of works eg Affandi and the new generation mostly born in the seventies.

“There is established buying support for the colonial works mostly from Chinese Indonesian collectors who compete with one another to drive up prices”. There is a second much more international market for the seventies generation artists. Dr Spanjaard notes that those works which are particularly popular are reminiscent of Chinese pop art or refer to popular cultural influences such as cartoons, superheros, flat stylisation, fantasy.

This was certainly borne out in the sale. Indonesian artist I Nyoman Masriadi’s The Man From Bantul (The Final Round), 2000, lot 838, an impressive triptych of a fight painted in a flat stylised manner sold for HK$7,820,000 (US$1,000,725) after lively bidding, five times its high estimate of HK$1-1.5 million.

A number of other works by Masriadi fetched impressive prices  including Petualanganku Berakhir Setelah Ketemu Ibumu (My Adventure Ended After I Met Your Mother), which sold for HK$2,900,000 (US$371,113) (lot 895, est. HK$250/350,000), and Too Small, which achieved HK$1,820,000 (US$232,905) (lot 808, est. HK$250/350,000), both bringing many times their high estimates. These works featured flat images with cartoon-style poses and speech bubbles.

Sotheby’s again set a record for the work of Rudi Mantofani (b. 1973) following the record price achieved
in its series of spring 2008 sales last season. Pohon-Pohon Langit (Sky Trees) sold for HK$3,020,000
(US$386,469), bringing almost eight times its high estimate (lot 868, est. HK$280,000 – $380,000). Mantofani is known for his surreal fantasy landscapes in which for example trees are clouds and shadows are holes.

Artist records were also broken for Dipo Andy and Jumaldi Alfi. More abstract contemporary works and by for example Yunizar, Putu Satawijaya and the moderns also attracted interest but to a lesser extent.

Filipino artists

Filipino artists who did well in this sale included Geraldine Javier, Ronald Ventura, Annie Cabigting, Yasmin Sison and Lirio Salvador.

Why is South East Asian art so popular now?

Some commentators note that there is a structural issue which is affecting the art market. Today’s buyers are more speculative than at any time in the history of art buying and that the interest in South East Asian works is coming from former buyers of Chinese art who are looking for the next hot trend. Others note that the sale was a success because prices of South East Asian art are relatively cheap compared with other markets.

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