I Nyoman Masriadi, New Icon of Indonesian Contemporary Art

July 8, 2011


One of Nyoman Masriadi's work.

Undeniable, Raden Saleh, Affandi, and S Sudjojono are great Indonesian painting artists which have brought the name of Indonesia in international forum. Until now their artworks are still hunted by collectors in Indonesia and foreign.

Nevertheless Indonesian visual art world has not only the maestros that has passed away. Regeneration is still going on. After Raden Saleh, Affandi, Sudjojono, there are younger generation artists with international reputation such as Agus Suwage, Eddie Hara, Entang Wiharso, and Heri Dono. They are now about fifteen years old.

Recently, their younger ‘brother’ artists have been following them with their works that start to be known by international audiences. They are I Nyoman Masriadi, Jompet Kuswidananto and Wedhar Riyadi which are between 35 to 40 years old.

Among them Nyoman Masriadi is only artist with  spectacular achievement now. The achievement that can be observed clearly is the price of his works which are so high, higher than Indonesian maestro artists’ works prices. His work with title “The Man From Bantul – the Final Round”, for example, was sold by the Sotheby Auctioneer, Hong Kong, in October 2008, with price HKD 7,8 millions or about 9 billion rupiahs. Previously, his work “Used to being Stripped” was sold by Christie Auctioneer, Hong Kong,  5 billion rupiahs. Now, the price of his artworks at galleries are about 2 to 3 billion rupiahs (USD 2 million – USD 3 million).

Some parties may assume that high appreciation in market doesn’t always indicate the achievement level of aesthetical aspect of an artwork. But it is naive if we ignore this so high appreciation of market  and assume that market has only to do with the profit. However, the market has also standard of valuation in aesthetical aspect of artworks.

The artistic achievement of Masriadi’s works may not compare to Affandi’s works, for instance. But some critics have opinion that the works of Masriadi are interesting. Out of his technical matters, the power of his works are on the choice of themes that not following to mainstream trends. While most artists in Indonesia took political issues – in relation with national political situation – as theme of their artworks, Masriadi preferred to choose simple matter in everyday life with humor and caricature approach. Masriadi’s artworks are influenced by popular culture in television and internet. This artist who was born in Gianyar, Bali, 1973, really like online game.

Masriadi does not succumb to the growing trend among Indonesian contemporary artists to use utterances which are simultaneously chic and complicated – borrowed from contemporary art textbooks, and used to enhance a ‘contemporary’ image. Art critic Dwi Marianto says, that Masriadi’s representations are marked by simplicity, with his ideas developing from a desire to present events which make him laugh. He adopts visual expressions and verbal jokes from comic strips, online games, and everyday conversations, as well as uses newspaper typography to create text. All this to arouse a flow of humour that invariably provokes thinking.

Masriadi who get art education from Indonesian Art Institute, Yogyakarta, 1993-1998, has presented exhibited in cities in Indonesia and foreign such as Singapore, Taiwan, Australia,  Netherlands and USA. It can be said that Masriadi has been new icon for Indonesian contemporary art now.

See other painter profile.

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