Saturday, October 8, 2011

art, history: tash aw, raden saleh, modern art

Capture of Prince Diponegoro (1857) - Raden Saleh
"Executed with great assurance and in a style that is unmistakenably Western, it is easy to see this painting as yet another scene from the annals of European history: the conquer of a foreign land, the easy subjugation of the natives by the sophisticated, upright officers of a Western power. But look again. There is something unusual about these Westerners. Are their heads too big for their bodies? Almost certainly, they are. And now that you've noticed these, don't they look gawky and ill at ease? This isn't due to lack of painterly craft, because the Javenese people are beautifully rendered, full of humanity, grace and pride. They do not confront the beholder as the big-headed Dutch characters do, but form part of the landscape; they are dressed not in rags but in sarongs and head-dresses of batik. They may be deafeated in this battle, but it is they, not the Dutch, who remain human."
- Tash Aw
and i painstakingly copied this excerpt from the novel The Map of the Invisible World by tash Aw. he said it best!

its so clever and genius how raden saleh expressed his sentiments without being so obvious about it. if u only look on the surface level, u only see the aesthetics. if u dig deeper beyond the colors and strokes, u see the soul of the art.

im not a fan of classical paintings but dont u jus love art that makes so much sense rather than giving u so much room for deciphering what its all about? sometimes we think thers nothing to decipher coz it looks something we could also do when we feel bored. and then we wuld simply say to hell with meaning if we dont get it. many young artists today seem to be fooling us with their works of rehashed rubbish turned into so called 'modern-avant-garde--installation abstract performance watever art... i loove modern art but im not sold to most of it. some are really good but the rest are jus plain rubbish. but then again, who am i to question when beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.

beauty breeds appreciation. a good purpose gains respect. but sometimes there is no purpose. if there is a purpose, it is oftentimes hard to understand. but not all art is suppose to be understandable.

ive come across the name Raden Saleh a few times everytime south east asian masterpieces are on sale at auction houses like christies. his works are among the highly valued. i think raden saleh is like the indonesia's equivalent of our juan luna.

more Tash Aw on my next post.

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