Painting : The Boat (Zaini - 1974)

Title : "The Boat"

Artist : Zaini

Year : 1974

Oil on canvas.

Dimension : 65 x 80 cms.

In this painting, Zaini depicts boats with an abstraction that conjures up a poetic mood. With brush strokes creating a soft ambiance, the colours and lines in Zaini’s paintings bring objects into apparent obscurity. With such soft paintings, Zaini has created a strong language of lyrical abstraction. Zaini’s personal style is a result of his long struggle since 1950’s. The painting “Perahu” (1974), like his other works, elicits feelings of mystery from the blurred presence of the objects.

In the same breath as Oesman Effendi, since the time of SIM Studio Yogyakarta, Zaini’s works trended towards simplification of naïve forms. However, he quit SIM in 1949 because the studio became ever more strongly affected by the “populist revolutionary” aesthetic paradigm, which he did not find very agreeable. It was then that he moved to Jakarta and began developing his works with pastels that produced soft lines and colours.

From a long process, the technical exploration and exploration of forms through spontaneous and soft strokes brought out impressive objects. These objects became the obscure figures with a strong feel of stillness. Seeing Zaini’s work in the subesquent periods is like entering a world full of spiritual reflection. Within that world one finds personal responses about longing, loneliness, emptiness, and even death. Objects like boats, flowers, dead birds, or anything for that matter, are an essence presented from various phenomena in the outside world in order to understand this spiritual reflection. In the accounts of Trisno Sumardjo (1957), the spiritual dialogue through these simple objects served as the bridge to understand Zaini’s reflection of the larger cosmos. The crux of this achievement of abstraction and spiritualisation of objects came in 1970’s, when he began powerfully introducing the poetic atmosphere into his works. Zaini became a screener of highly expressive objects through his oil and acryllic strokes, with colours that are soft as fog.