4Essential Questions Overarching Questions What is a society? How is the society different from the individual?Topical QuestionsHow are socio-economic issues?To what extent can the society be shaped by the country’s development?
5Focus: Some artists use their art to depict various socio-political, socio-economic and socio-ecological conditions. Issues such as war, social unrest, urbanization and the destruction of nature have always been of concern to the artists. Their artworks serve as visual records of these events and as expressions of their opinions about the society they live in.
6Biographical Outline 1956: Born in Jakarta. : He studied with Dukut Hendranoto (a famous social realist painter) .: Continued his studies at SMSR/SSRI Fine Art High School in Yogyakarta.1976: He began participating in numerous exhibitions around the world.
7When (1956 - ) Where (Indonesia) 1966: Foreign Investment ActThis was to encourage direct foreigninvestment.1973: The first oil boom led to rapid economicgrowth.1981: End of oil boom and followed by economic slump.1980s: Rise of export oriented industries, followed by rapid globalization and setting up of MNCs in the country.
8WhichContemporaryArt that belongs to the same period of time, as in “current”.Refers to the present time, as in “now”.Can also refer to being current with any “specified” time, as in the past.
9What Subject Matter- Figures Usually in the context of alienation isolation, homelessness and hard labour.The figures are either himself or common people- the poor and dejected.Another common figure- road sweepers.His portrayal of them comes from a popular saying in Islam- “ Cleanliness is part of faith”. Hence, cleaning should include moral cleansing- of corruption that is rampant in the country.They are of mixed gender and various ages.Iconic figures- the American cowboy.Ciment Fondu is cement. Advantages are quick and hard setting.
10What Subject Matter- Labyrinths- a form of disempowerment. Slums- represented whole or symbolically like the use of cardboards.Construction Materials - Concrete (the loss of fertility in terms of the land)The city scenes of Jakarta.Ciment Fondu is cement. Advantages are quick and hard setting.
11WhatDede’s ThemeSocio-economic criticism- eg: impact of urbanisation.Urbanisation- a process with civilization, industrialisation and technology. It means re-distribution of the population from rural to urban areas in demographic terms.Alienation of modernity.Ciment Fondu is cement. Advantages are quick and hard setting.
12What Dede’s Theme Commercialism- a capitalistic syndrome. Its aim is to turn everythinginto objects and services for sale and maximisingprofits. Tradition, quality and value of life are oftensacrificed for monetary gains. Even intangible thinglike happiness becomes measurable in terms ofmaterial possession.Ciment Fondu is cement. Advantages are quick and hard setting.
13Self Portrait on the Matress, His Mixed MediaSelf Portrait on the Matress,1979 Charcoal on canvas,149 x 100Ciment Fondu is cement. Advantages are quick and hard setting.
14The Urban Class, 1981Oil on canvas, 150 x 140 cm
15Quotation“ The situation in Jakarta is created by the thunder of traffic and the smoke form the factories that never stop, the building of the city which continues ceaselessly, the increasing number of inhabitants, and its tumultuous life which has become extremely complex.”- Supria-Ciment Fondu is cement. Advantages are quick and hard setting.
16Quotation“ We witness everyday the struggle of the urbanites to survive in Jakarta. These people arrive from villages faraway, live in the slum at the heart of the city, amidst grand buildings. Or perhaps they come from the fringes of Jakarta, go early in the morning to work and come back late at night. Just like boxers, these urbanites have to fight and win the game in order to live. They will be crushed if they are unable to survive. They don't do what they dream of. They must struggle with dirty and harsh jobs, with garbage, used cardboards, used things, pollution.”– Dede Eri SupriaCiment Fondu is cement. Advantages are quick and hard setting.
17Between the Buses,1984Oil on canvas,100 x 110 cm
18Quotation“ I see people around me becoming apprehensive, anxious, frustrated, feeling a loss of identity. People become very lonely in the midst of the flow of life, therefore a work like Labyrinth is born: a description of urban people who face a life situation which is bitter and tortuous.”- Supria-Ciment Fondu is cement. Advantages are quick and hard setting.
20Billboards at the back Figures Observations on Labyrinth, 1987 – 1988 In this exercise, let’s examine the meaningful use of symbols.Cardboard boxesLabyrinth/MazeBillboards at the backFigures
21Labyrinth III, 1994, Oil on canvas, Two very different characters (young and old), brought together by their plight, are playing checkers under the protection of a plastic bag suspended by enigmatic red, thin lines running across the painting.The bag could be protecting them from the rain as suggested by the row of umbrellas at the back.The plastic bag is reminiscent of homeless people who have to sleep under cardboards or below bridges.Labyrinth III, 1994, Oil on canvas,140 x 140 cm
22Labyrinth IV, Oil on canvas, What is different about this LabyrinthPainting compared to the previous 2?Labyrinth IV, Oil on canvas,
23Amongst Red Steel, 1992 Oil on canvas, 94 x 148 cm SAM, Singapore Dim space, apart from some light shining in at parts, creating drastic contrast, with metal beams and red metal sheets constructed in various directions.Unused railway track leading to nowhere.In the foreground, there is a boy sitting alone on the bench, carrying a tin box. With a hand cupping his chin, he wears a serious expression suggesting he is deep in thoughts. In the middle, there stood a boy scratching his head and has a puzzled and troubled look in his face.The children, though featured in the same space, are not communicating.Each seems preoccupied with his/her own thoughts, looking forlorn and uncertain. The children are not engaged in any specific activity, they are hanging around aimlessly, not knowing what is going to happen or what to do next.The beams are arranged in a complex criss-crossing manner, which do not seem to make much architectural sense. This implies the hectic nature of urbanization as well as the complexity and confusion that comes with it.Amongst Red Steel, 1992Oil on canvas, 94 x 148 cmSAM, Singapore
24Quotation“ Most of my paintings carry symbolic meanings with humanitarian themes or themes about the environment which I live…Whatever I do, it is as if I always have a feeling of moral responsibility towards life such as you find it here in Jakarta”- Supria-Ciment Fondu is cement. Advantages are quick and hard setting.
25Gelombang Pariwara, 1993Oil on canvas, 95 x 70 cm
26Song of the Three Street Sweepers, 1994 Oil on canvas,140 x 140 cm
27Between the main Entrance, 1995, Oil on canvas, 250 x 400cmThis painting portrays the stark contrast between the beautiful city and the abjectness of this impoverished space.Humans seem to be absent in this painting until the viewer realises that he/she is taking on the perspective of a poor villager, looking out from his/her slum, gazing at the bright lights in the city. The artistic rendition of the doors gives us the impression that we are watching a scene in the movie. The offices in the distance clearly belong to large corporations symbolizing the financial power the slum dweller will never attain.
28The work depicts how concrete buildings have invaded city spaces, replacing gardens and parks. It conveys the artist regret that the young today are no longer able to play amidst the beautiful and intriguing nature. Some form of nature can be seen but the tree trunks seem to disintegrating with more concrete beams emerging from within them – and the young saplings do not stand much chance to grow.I Grow on the Rock,Oil on canvas, 140 x 140 cmSAM, Singapore
29Supria has been fascinated by the clowns who go from shop to shop to perform. In the painting, the characters are expressionless and their colourful costumes are very jarring against the equally confusing background, creating a sense of tension and unease. The viewer observes that this is a group of people engaging in comical acts in order to survive in a harsh urban society, as implied by the skyscrapers in the background and the bold and glitzy commercial wordings painted in rather aggressive red and purple.Clowns, 1992, Oil on canvas, 129 x 140 cm
30Clowns in the Capital, 1999, Oil on canvas, 150 x 200 cm
32What- Urban ClassThe artist’s lament on the social issues in his homeland Indonesia.The negative impact of urbanisation- results in the rampant emergence of slums.The work is a juxtaposition of interior (his studio and exterior (the slums).His presence indicates personalisation of the issue.The mirror reflects the slums, in a duller range of colours.In its interaction with the audience, Dede may be suggesting that we should all reflect on the situation as well.
33Observations on Urban Class, 1977 Subject Matter(Describe)Style and Technique(Analyse)Method:Use of E/PoaArtist’s Intention(Interpretation)
34Welcome, Am I an Actor of the Balinese Opera or a Mere Servant of Tourism, 2001 Oil on canvas
36WhyHis BackgroundDede started to learn photographic draftsmanship in primary school.He used to enlarge drawings of photographs for his father.At a young age, he was helping his father in relieving the family’s economic hardship.He was selling comics and ice-cream in his spare time.
37WhyHis BackgroundHe was later hired as an illustrator for news magazine covers which required him to relevant and visually catching and communicative cover.He also did illustrations for calendar which required him to paint industrial interiors, machinery, architecture and oil rigs.He claims later that his work as an illustrator influenced his paintings. As a calendar illustrator, he became tuned into painting objects, materials and textures of heavy industries.Moreover, both works require him to paint from photographs.
38WhyHis Concerns:Coming from a humble background, Supria has a strong motive for expressing matters related to the survival of common people in big cities.From young, he is aware of the urban dilemmas in Jakarta where there is a constant struggle within the working-class as a consequence of urbanisation with its hectic lifestyle, high cost of living and increasing poverty gap.His works present the confrontation between people and the concrete and metallic jungle that is the city. This is a common problem faced in all developing countries as the people struggle to come to terms with changes brought on by modern technology and communication.The human figures in his big cities are often oppressed and the sense of alienation is almost overwhelming.
39WhyHis BackgroundHe became involved with the New Art Movement in the 1970s.This new movement experimented with Western avant-garde art and ideas.He shared the movements fixation with “contextualizing art and bridging the gap between elitist definitions of fine art and popular images created by commercial, mass producing technologies (eg: graphic art).
40WhyComing from a humble background, Supria has a strong motive for expressing matters related to the survival of common people in big cities.From young, he is aware of the urban dilemmas in Jakarta where there is a constant struggle within the working-class as a consequence of urbanization with its hectic lifestyle, high cost of living and increasing poverty gap.His works present the confrontation between people and the concrete and metallic jungle that is the city. This is a common problem faced in all developing countries as the people struggle to come to terms with changes brought on by modern technology and communication.The human figures in his big cities are often oppressed and the sense of alienation is almost overwhelming.
41WhyIn many of his paintings, human beings play only a supplementary role within a huge terrifying space. They are portrayed as ‘social victims’ engulfed in horrible landscapes of a metropolis, dominated by construction scaffoldings, advertisement images and rubbish.In some of his works, Supria created the illusion of a vast space with the clever use of perspective.The labyrinth has become an important element in his works. Its perspective, diminishing at the horizon presents layer upon layer of complex, geometric passageways.In the labyrinth, he portrayed people in the labyrinth of who are trapped by hardships as well as rapid and complicated changes.
42HowHe followed news events religiously and conduct his own journalistic research.He paints newspaper clippings or photographs to the point of resemblance that appears as actual objects being pasted on the surface- the use of photorealism.He takes photographic images of the city of Indonesia. He then takes them apart and reassemble them into a perplexing whole- bordering surrealism. Dede Eri Supria has developed his paintings through collection of photographs of relatives, friends or workers in urban surroundings. A sketch then follows, allowing him to work on the concept and to fine tune it.He uses repetitive forms- eg: The Labyrinth,He uses perspective to create an illusion of vast space.
43HowHowever, his paintings show that he tends to go beyond photography, in the sense that the scenarios he creates in his canvases are impossible for photography to emulate.In playing with these images of the engineered visual reality, he employs painstakingly realistic technique in the details of his works.Although very much preoccupied with realistic renditions of construction sites, street performers and busy urban streets of downtown Jakarta, Supria uses some exaggeration to bring out the theatrical effects in his works.Sometimes, his characters are presented in a rather dramatic fashion to entice and stimulate the audience.He would also use contrasting light and shadow and a rich palette to enhance the theatrical and mysterious mood.
44ReferenceDermawan T., Agus (1999) Dede, Elegy on Megacities. AiA Fine Art Foundation: JakartaThis book is a must read!Wright, A. ( 1994). Soul, Spirit and Mountain: Preoccupations of Contemporary Indonesian Painters. Oxford University Press: Kuala Lumpur.(2006) In Kam, Garrett (Ed). Modern Indonesian Art, From Raden Saleh to the Present Day. Koes Artbooks: Bali(Check out this website for his later works)