RESEARCH & ESSAY.
As the most renowned artist born in Cirebon – West Java in Indonesia, Affandi Koesoema (Cirebon, Jawa Barat, 1907 – 23 Mei 1990) was used to draw on his own decorative composition and technique. Like on the current piece, Affandi used oil paint to execute images of Indonesia subjects in vividly colored expressionist impasto that he employed thick pigment by directly squeezing the pigments out of its tube on the canvas. The present work exemplifies the abstract expressionism style painted in Affandi’s newfound style that is known as “squeezing the tube.” As Affandi never painted by using a palette and disliked brushes, the present painting was executed by squeezing with pigments, and then the pigments on the canvas surface was smeared directly by his powerful and dexterously fingers rendering its ribbon-like brushtrokes shape to form The Rustic Lakeside Village subject in dramatically energy and movement. The present piece also exhibits delicious dense pigments and rich with vibrations representing the enthusiasm and encouragement of Affandi’s works trademark. The artist truly executed it by using his energic involvement to attain a splendid abstract painting style with exotic composition, and the applied the colors in strong hue exploring more dynamic mood on the vibrant rustic lakeside identity in his country.
Entitled to “The Rustic Lakeside Village,” the present work shows a pleasantly cool nuance, where the village is depicted as a unique abstract composition. The artist’s talented hands and fingers imbued the row of houses while the horse’s chart (Andong) is shown crossing over the street. The village was placed on the edge of the lake adorned with the lush trees, including palm trees and weeds. Whatever our interpretation on the abstract painting, the present work requires us to have an open mind and enter this painting then see where this subject takes us. Thus, the subject on the current work gives us the freedom to explore it and assign our own meaning to this valuable abstract expressionism artwork style.
Like the technique applied on the present work, Affandi strongly believed in the moving and bursting energy that flowed during the process of painting. Therefore, applying paint directly from the tube using strokes of fingers and hands directly on the canvas became his preference in order that he could express that burst of energy on canvas.1) Affandi is one of the small group of painters who from 1950 to 1980s succeeded in exhibition his works on regular basis and in gaining critical recognition from connoisseurs and artists around the world. The artist often painted the rural and landscape subjects like the present work, and the subjects have been sought-after in the market. For example, compare with Affandi’s work entitled to “Landscape with Rice Field” (120 x 146 cm) painted in 1982, sold at Borobudur Fine Art Auction, Singapore, 22nd May 2016, lot. 60, with a hammer price US$50,680 (SGD70,000), excluding the buyer’s premium (see fig. 1). Compare with the artist’s work entitled to “Kebun Cengkeh” (size 95 x 140 cm) painted in 1987 was sold at Masterpiece Auction House, the Royale Chulan Hotel Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia, 8th March 2015, lot. 82 with a hammer price US$ 73,332 (MYR 270,000), excluding buyer’s premium (see fig. 2). The village subject of Affandi’s work was more sought-after and gaining the more price record. For example, compare with his oeuvre entitled to “Pagi di Kampung (Morning Day in Village)” (size 100 x 130 cm) painted in 1986 was sold at 33 Auction Singapore, 11th October 2014, lot. 3011 fetching a hammer price US$141,462 (SGD 180,000), excluding buyer’s premium (see fig. 3). However, the present work is different nuance and hue colors from the pieces sold in auction houses. The current piece entitled to “The Rustic Lakeside Village” was painted in 1971 and it artfully plays on elemental joys with a pleasantly villager and dynamic activity that is as original rustic lakeside village in his country, Indonesia.
The Journey of Indonesian Painting: The Bentara Budaya Collection, Efix Mulyadi (Editor), Bentara Budaya, Jakarta (Organization), 2008, p. 277.