Painting : Self Touch (Ivan Sagita - 1988)

Title : "Self Touch"

Artist : Ivan Sagita

Year : 1988

Oil on canvas.

Dimension : 72 x 90 cms.

Ivan Sagita’s painting entitled “Meraba Diri” (1988) has a surrealist feel, emphasising the expression of psychological problems through symbols. In his other works, he often addresses the theme of searching for humanist values using existing sociocultural symbols and attributes. The theme of humanity often appears in an absurd depiction, in irrational juxtapositions or arrangement as in the three empty figures in this painting who seem to be engaged in learning of some sort. With his strong realist technique and colours that tend to be heavy, Ivan’s works are even more imbued with an air of mystery.

In 1990’s, from the personal lyrical style, a new surrealist tendency also appeared in Indonesian art. Its followers are Yogyakarta painters who continued to be influenced by developments in other cities. In this genre of painting, Ivan is one such painter with high creative intensity and strong loyalty. Even more so, this exploration is strongly related to Javanese sociocultural signs, more specifically, the Yogyakarta cosmology.

In the painting “Meraba Diri” one can see the symbollism of a process in the three figures trying to find their identities, while in contrast, these bodies are actually empty. In the emptiness of these figures there are only moving clouds from which hands extend trying to feel their faces. The figure in the middle has her hair done in sanggul (the Javanese bun) and ears of a woman, suggesting the gender of the person. However, these figures can also be interpreted as introspecting and searching for their selves in emptiness.