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Equator Art Projects
47 Malan Road, #01-21,
Gillman Barracks,
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Spirituality of Bedaya
by Equator Art Projects
Location: Equator Art Projects
Artist(s): Srihadi SOEDARSONO
Date: 26 Sep - 26 Oct 2014

Equator Art Projects is pleased to present the first solo exhibition of Srihadi Soedarsono’s work in Singapore. Seven new paintings in oil on canvas will be displayed in the Main Gallery. Concurrently, a selection of watercolour paintings, dating from 1948 to the present, will also be on view in the Project Room. This wide-ranging display demonstrates the evolution of the artist’s varied style and is an exploration of Soedarsono’s approaches to painting, reflecting his creativity and versatility in adapting to different mediums. 

Srihadi Soedarsono is regarded as one of the great masters of modern Indonesian painting and is known for his groundbreaking use of colour, manipulating its visual and emotive properties. The new works in this exhibition are inspired by local tradition and are drawn from two recurring themes in the artist’s oeuvre: bedaya dancers and landscapes. From an aristocratic family, Soedarsono grew up exposed to the culture and customs of the Javanese court. The bedaya ketawang is a sacred ritual dance performed annually on the second day of the Javanese month of Ruwah (during May) at the royal palace of Surakarta (Solo) to commemorate ascension of the ruling prince. It is performed by nine female dancers before a private audience and it is a considerable honour to be invited as a guest to partake in this tradition. Soedarsono’s dancers are archetypes of femininity, embodying beauty, grace and elegance. The artist achieves a sense of harmony and balance through the symmetry of the composition, built up through a triangular formation of the dancers’ arms. The purity of the colours conveys the energy and atmosphere of the scene. For the audience this is a profoundly spiritual experience. 

Soedarsono’s landscapes frequently depict Mount Merapi and Borobudur, two Javanese sites of great cultural importance. The scenery is reduced to its simplest form with the horizon stretching into infinity. The composition is  built up with broad, expressive brushstrokes and vibrant colours. The colours consist of two or three primary hues are that carefully layered and blended to reveal the subtle gradations in tonality. Visually impactful, these works capture the spirituality of the site, inviting contemplation and reflection.


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