Widayat’s retrospective may seem distant to some, in terms of his esteem position in Indonesia art and his bearing from traditional indigenous Southeast Asian crafts and works by early western modernists. This exhibition is important because it charts quite thoroughly, an Indonesian modernist’s linearity of artistic creation from patterns of natural forms, Western art influences, realistic representation, abstraction and media experimentation. A distinction is made by the manner which the exhibits are displayed, and the walls colour coded and distinguished by wall text, explaining the curator’s perspective of the merit of that ‘period’ of artistic creation. The palettes of his paintings are mostly sombre and earthy, with the kind of obsessive, compulsive detailing in the larger works; themes swinging between individualistic symbolic representations of the landscape, to social commentaries of a post-colonial Indonesian society. In the tradition of symbols bearing special meaning in the crafts used during traditional ceremonies, the personal symbols used by the artist could have been embodied to cleanse as well.
The exhibition is also important because it might shed insight into any artist’s creation cycle, oscillating between figuration and abstraction – the state of which is independent of the artist’s age. It adds to a pattern we recognise as genius – sheer hard work, diversity and obsessive compulsion to create and innovate. The title “between Worlds” then suggests the journey the artist may have taken between the reality of unrest stricken civil society in the 1950s, and his personal world surround by his artistic vision.
Lastly, the exhibition serves as a comparison to better known Indonesian artist Affandi (1907 – 1990), which is on exhibit at the Singapore Art Museum (October 19 – November 18, 2007).
Widayat between Worlds: A Retrospective
13 September to 28 October 2007
SAM Galleries 1.1 – 1.4
Singapore Art Museum
8.0 of 10 stars
(This article comes late, but pays tribute to the late artist, generosity of his collectors and meticulous curator Joanna Lee for a great exhibition)