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Publication Date : 09-03-2013
Contemporary artist Dipo Andy expresses ecological leanings through his mixed medium collages on display at Salihara in South Jakarta
Faces of prominent local and international figures stare out at visitors at the “Kundalini Bumi” (Earth Kundalini) art exhibition at the Salihara Gallery in South Jakarta.
The images immediately grab your attention, but a closer look will reveal them to be more than just simplistic portraits of famous people.
“Kundalini Bumi” by contemporary artist Dipo Andy features a collection of collages composed of Google Earth images and pictures of famous people, over which he places Lapindo mud smears, strengthening them with colours.
“Through Google images, we can see visuals of how beautiful Earth is, but I also want to show how Earth has been damaged by humans,” Dipo said.
Through using famous people in his work, Dipo said he wanted to help make the message he was trying to convey more memorable for people. “I tried to apply the method that many advertising people use, the power of famous people in their products. Maybe that can help, too,” he said.
Dipo, whose latest work appeared at the 2013 Art Stage Singapore in January, started work on the displayed paintings in 2007, finishing most of them a year later.
A total of 111 paintings are currently being curated by Asikin Hasan and Nirwan Dewanto and will run until April 2 at the Salihara Gallery.
Asikin said although his work was connected to pop art, Dipo had taken a different approach by using mud from the mud-hit area in Sidoarjo, East Java, while also developing visual ideas.
The exhibition, he said, showed his growth as an artist.
“His work is like a digital collage, the materials of which are taken from a search engine. But it is not confined to that either, because the work is trying to break out of limitations,” Asikin said.
He said that in the paintings, images of Demi Moore, Michelle Yeoh, Nicole Kidman, Angelina Jolie and many more looked flawlessly beautiful, depicting the visual reality that has come to be controlled by the beauty and media industries.
The images of the Earth taken from the satellite cameras, which displayed the Earth’s surface from various perspectives, granting the paintings an abstract look, he went on.
“Although the Earth’s surface images are not identified clearly in the paintings, they tell a lot about something that has undergone rapid changes,” Asikin said.
“The most provocative thing is the use of the mud as a medium,” he added.
On a 100 centimetre by 128 centimetre canvas, Dipo has spread the mud directly taken from Sidoarjo. Using resin to fix the mud onto the canvas, he has been able to create a variation in texture in the paintings.
Asikin said Dipo’s works could be seen both as a stand-alone, or as a collective installation.
For example, in the piece that features the former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, Dipo has only shown half of her face, while the other half is covered with the blood-like splashes of paint and images of the Earth's surface. And as if giving a final touch, he has splattered some mud near her face .
“The names and some big events conveyed through the strong images here are the texts that are consciously structured by him. He invites us to help heal the wound on the Earth’s surface,” Asikin said.
Another curator, Nirwan, said the exhibition brought the idea of how nature’s destruction and the efforts to save the Earth had become a cliche of sorts in recent times. “I feel that these panels, structured in some way into a visual installation, have become a silent drama about how we have been very rigorously saving the earth, but to no avail,” Nirwan said.
Many of Dipo’s artworks displayed in the exhibition are marked by bright colours. But Dipo has also experimented with darker tones to create a gloomy nuance in some of his paintings.
Nirwan said faces were an important element, but it was not as important as the colours that shaped, or disrupted, the paintings.
He added that the paintings were like an intersection to - and a parody of - mass culture, graphic design, graphic arts and the art of painting itself.