Sculpture : Composition of Mithological Creatures (I Nyoman Tjokot - 1965)

Title : "Composition of Mithological Creatures"

Artist : I Nyoman Tjokot

Year : 1965

Material : Wood.

Height : 55 cms.

I Nyoman Tjokot’s sculpture entitled “Mythological Being Composition” (1965), is an imaginative configuration of beings from the mystical realm. The forms tend to be visual idioms of demonic nature with frightening expressions. The totem figures in coarse texture are superimposed with free form and movements of the bodies. The voids, aside from delineating the limits of the form, also accentuate the primitive feel. In his works, Nyoman Tjokot tends not to carve with intricacy, much less smooth the finish. Instead, he responds to the existing curves of the wood and explores the possibilities of shapes and gestures of the figures as they appear.

At first, Tjokot’s free flowing and rough works did not get much notice, especially amidst the artistic diversity of the fine and intricate Balinese sculptures. However, after Walter Spies and Rudolf Bonnet gave him encouragement and suggested about the powers they possessed, Tjokot himself became convinced and gained confidence. It was after then that the public began to respond to his works. Tjokot’s style was even further developed by his sons under the label “Tjokot Sons”, an inspired a host of other sculptors who followed suit.

Tjokot was really a natural artists who grew following his creative intuition by letting go of the traditional visual codes, not unlike other Balineses artists around the time of the formation of Pita Maha. However, these artists remained true to the collective spirit and traditional values of Balinese society as their inspiration.

Tjokot, like other Balinese, also believed in Karmaphala and purnabhawa (reincarnation) as essential Hindu teachings about the cycle of life. The causality of human deeds are expressed through folklore that produce mythical or magical symbols, such as the garuda, the mythical bird that Tjokot often uses to express the idea of mythical religious powers. In this work too he depicts demonic figures as symbols of magical powers.