Painting : Theater 5th August (Tisna Sanjaya - 1994)

Title : "Theater 5th August"

Artist : Tisna Sanjaya

Year : 1994

Etching - aquatint.

Dimension : 42 x 52 cms.

In his work entitled “Teater 5 Agustus” (1993/1994), Tisna Sanjaya reveals a side of humanity in critical language. In the foregournd there is a person incarcerated in a cage, in a defiant gesture. Around him are imposing figures with terrifying faces, including two figures in hats and epaulets, suggesting military-men. A grand assembly in a parody of Da Vinci’s Last Supper is the overall setting. A ruler sits in the middle of the table, staring at people in the cage. To the right and left, humans and animals alike listen to him intently. In the balcony, other figures are witnessing the events below. Various figures dominated by dark colours add even more suspense to the scene in this surrealist expressive painting.

Tisna Sanjaya is critical of sociopolitical issues around him. Consistent with the contemporary art tradition, he introduces idioms of parody into his work. With this deconstructive approach, alluding to classical works of past maestros, he presents the contradictions and ironies of the contemporary society. The theme of humanity of various absurd dimensions is his endless source of inspiration, especially in the sociopolitical setting of Indonesian New Order. The aesthetic discourse of contextual humanism that he developed makes him an important contemporary artist.

“Teater 5 Agustus” expresses a critical voice of how the soul revolts in an incarcerated body. An irony of life where justice is shackled under the shadow of an ominous power. Humanity is put aside in the hands of rulers. This work presents a satire of a theatrical court and empathy for the crumbling humanism.