This is one of Affandi’s timeless masterpieces where he as it expressionist best, depicting vividly the drunk debauchery of an American bar. Arguably the boldest and most articulate nude this Indonesian master ever painted, the nude is the epitome of brazenness in her provocative stance, embedded with a strong narrative quality as we see the drunken bar-goer reaching out to the female as she exposes herself on the bar. It is an extreme form of American sexual standards and its strong narrative quality sets this painting apart from his other works. As a humanist painter he could not help but be profoundly stimulated by the scene before him. His particular love for his painting meant it was hung with a degree of pride in his living room in Yogyakarta.
Masiradi’s stands alone with his approach, he really is unique. Laced with satire and humour, Sangat Tidak Lutcu (Really Not Funny) may be for a particular style, but the intriguing narrative within this work makes it aesthetically interesting. It is a classic example of the artist’s more recent works, where he focuses on depicting a narrative situation. This visually powerful painting is strongly influenced by Japanese anime and puts particular emphasis on the colour black with its symbolic strength and power.
Is an impossible scene of a bearded man dressed rather impeccably, transposed across the blazing sky by a simultaneously heroic and villainous large black crow-like bird. The bird’s wing’s are spread across nearly the entire image with its body centrally composed, an extravagant showcase of the technical abilities of Masiradi in addition to his sprawling imagination. The human antagonist appears to have unfortunately been plucked out of his comfort zone and transported across an apparently bomb-ridden sky by the bird. He stands between danger and safety, bravery and trepidation. He could be seen as having been airlifted out of troubled straights, but one cannot expect his fate even as a result of this is going to be positive or that he will fare any better. Masiradi through this image is begging the question as to where life will take us in the next moment.
In its style, composition and colour palette, Penjual Bunga (Flower Vendors) is particularly representative of Indonesian modern painter Gunawan’s works from the early 1960s – characterized by a particular palette of gradated tones and mellowness of colours and the female figure becoming increasingly prominent in his works. Hendra’s portrayal of the female form has gained a place of iconic value within modern indonesian art. His love of everything indonesian finds perfect expression within the female form. He was a keen observer of indonesian daily life and people’s interaction with one another. This depiction of a female is not one speciic person, but inspired by many women he knew of in his community. The marketplace becomes a theatre for the depiction of unassuming human behaviour yet the female assumes a larger than life status in the painting. They rise above their daily existence to be immortalised in art history.
Painted in the context of rapid social and political evolution, this depiction of normal life reinforces the important values that underpin society. The flowers are beautiful objects, underlying the simple pleaseures of the market place. The seller proffers with her outstretched hand a necklace, almost offering it to the buyer who can only reciprocate in kind. This is Hendra’s ideal world – where grace and kindness reign. It is idealised in this painting.