Press Release : Srihadi and Landscape in “Man x Universe”

Jakarta, 26 February 2020 – landscape paintings by maestro Prof. Kanjeng Pangeran Srihadi Soedarsono Adhikoesoemo, M.A. will be presented in a solo exhibition entitled “Srihadi Soedarsono— Man x Universeat Galeri Nasional Indonesia, Jakarta on 11 March – 9 April 2020. The exhibition is scheduled to be officially opened by the Minister of State Owned Enterprises Erick Thohir.

Entirely, there will be 44 paintings on display, 38 new paintings while the others are private collections. All artworks, except the sketch of Borobudur (1948), use oil on canvas.

Some of the artworks are Horizon – The Golden Harvest (2018), Borobudur Drawing (1948), Borobudur – The Energy of Nature (2017), Mt. Bromo – The Mystical Earth (2017), Papua – The Energy of Golden River (2017), and Jakarta Megapolitan – Patung Pembebasan Banjir (2020).

The Borobudur sketch was made when Srihadi was only 17 years old, yet in his very young age at that time he showed intuition and interest towards the values of nature, human, and culture. He described Borobudur temple by using a landscape approach through the expressive lines.

The sketch is intentionally presented together with his latest works as a symbol that the sketch of Borobudur is the embryo of Srihadi’s landscape paintings later on.

“Srihadi Soedarsono- Man x Universe” interpreted the beauty of Indonesian landscape as a spiritual passion of the freedom and pride as a nation. As Landscape, on Srihadi’s perspective, is a deeper theme than a mere scenery painting which hypnotizes people to come and visit.

Behind the aesthetic of an artwork, there are social, cultural, as well as political struggle, and those are the points underlined in “Srihadi Soedarsono— Man x Universe.

“Universe is a record of memories, just like a person who remembers his memory before writing a note. This is how I take note of my journey from childhood until now in my 88 years old age. How the very large rice fields in the past became not that large anymore today,” said Srihadi Soedarsono at the press conference held at JJ Royal Brasserie.

Curator of this exhibition, Dr. A. Rikrik Kusmara, M.Sn., divides 44 Srihadi’s works into 4 group, they are:

  1. Social Critics, presents Papua Series, Bandung Series, and Field of Salt.
  2. Dynamic, presents Jatiluwih Series and Energy of Waves.
  3. Human & Nature, presents Mountain Series, Tanah Lot Series, and Gunung Kawi Series.
  4. Contemplation, presents Horizon Series and Borobudur Series.

A. Rikrik Kusmara said that “Srihadi Soedarsono— Man x Universe exhibition is a new approach from Srihadi in expressing landscape because it presents metaphors and symbols which are quite complex. The artistic process can be separated from the Indonesian socio-political condition which has been in a high tension during 2016-2019, the years where Srihadi created the artworks of this exhibition.

“This exhibition is hoped to give knowledge to visitors about the works of Indonesian maestro, especially Srihadi Soedarsono who is still active as an artist today,” said Selamet Susanto as a representative of the exhibition committee.

At the exhibition opening, a book entitled “Srihadi Soedarsono— Man x Universe” will be launched. The book reviews the spiritual relations of human, also his life cycle, with the universe. The writers are Dra. Siti Farida Srihadi, M.Hum. and a cultural practitioner Jean Couteau.

A seminar will be held at Galeri Nasional Indonesia on Saturday, 28 March 2020 as a supporting event of “Srihadi Soedarsono— Man x Universeexhibition. There will be two sessions on the seminar, the discussion about the exhibition and the book with Srihadi Soedarsono, Farida Srihadi, Jean Couteau, A. Rikrik Kusmara as the speakers and a critics/art book writer, Agus Dermawan T. as a reviewer.

The biggest challenge while writing the book of “Srihadi Soedarsono— Man x Universe” for Jean Couteau is that he has to interpret the symbolism complexity of a modest Srihadi.

“Another challenge is to show that the values implied on Srihadi’s works, though with Javanese character, are also universal values. He covers his Javanese messages in a modern form,’ said Jean Couteau.

Previously, in 2016, a book entitled Srihadi Soedarsono: 70 Years Journey of Roso was launched with the opening of exhibition 70 Tahun Rentang Kembara Roso. This book implicitly told us the relationship between Srihadi and God also his relationship with other human.

“This exhibition is an appreciation towards Srihadi Soedarsono’s achievement through his artworks. Srihadi is a very consistent and productive artist who continues working until his almost 9 decades age. Srihadi is not only a painter who merely exhibits works, he has a quite long art journey passing through various times which becomes a valuable experience that can be an inspiration and motivation for public,” said the Head of Galeri Nasional Indonesia, Pustanto.

The solo exhibition of Srihadi Soedarsono this year is a collaboration between Srihadi Studio and Sugar Group Companies for the third times for the last decade, they are “Retrospective 80th Anniversary Exhibition” in 2012, “Srihadi Soedarsono – 70 Years Journey of Roso” in 2016, and Srihadi Soedarsono— Man x Universe” in 2020. The last two exhibitions also cooperated with Galeri Nasional Indonesia, Ministry of Education and Culture. The cooperation is a form of commitment from Sugar Group Companies for the development of visual art in Indonesia.

 

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ABOUT SRIHADI SOEDARSONO

Born in Solo on 4 December 1931, Srihadi Soedarsono has been painting since childhood. When he was a student, he joined the Ikatan Pelajar Indonesia (IPI) in the Defence section in 1945 having the tasks to make posters, graffiti, as well as writing slogans provoking the fighting spirits on city walls and railway carriages.

He then became a staff of Information at Badan Keamanan Rakyat (BKR), Tentara Keamanan Rakyat (TKR), and Division IV of Army in Solo. His duties of making military brochures and sketching important events for documentation were very significant because there were no cameras available at that time.

In 1946, he joined Seniman Indonesia Muda (SIM) in Solo and studied painting from Indonesian pioneer painters such as Sudjojono and Affandi. While joining the Ministry of Youth, Republic of Indonesia which was located at Taman Siswa School, Yogyakarta, Srihadi was there with Sudjojono to fight for Indonesia through art.

The Dutch colonial were withdrawn from Indonesia on December 1949. Instead of continuing his job in military, Srihadi continued his school and got a scholarship. He studied at Margoyudan 1 Highschool, graduated in 1952.

After high school, he studied at Balai Pendidikan Universiter Guru Seni Rupa Fakultas Teknik UI which was temporarily located at Fakultet Teknik Bandung (later became ITB). In 1959, Srihadi Soedarsono designed a logo for ITB and the logo is still used until now.

He chose to not study in ASRI Yogyakarta because he already knew the lecturers when he was a teenager who was active in several sanggar in Yogya and Solo. In SIM, Srihadi experienced Mahzab Yogya from the first hands, Sudjojono and Affandi. Another reason was that he wanted to learn something new in Bandung. Srihadi’s interest on landscape approach was defined clearly around 1954-1959 when he visited Bali several times.

The most important visit was in 1954. He lived in Sindhu beach, Sanur, Bali which was still quiet at that time, and there were only boats, ceremonies, and Balinese women on the beach.

From these contemplation moments in Bali, Srihadi comprehended the direction of his artworks. Also while observing the beach, Srihadi found a natural phenomenon that between the sky and the sea there is always a connecting line which is straight, clean, and beautiful. A horizontal line. A kind of ground zero which is ready to develop.

Srihadi Soedarsono retired as a government employee in 1997 and continues to create artworks until now. Some of his achievements were Tanda-Jasa “Bintang Gerilya RI” (1958), Satyalantjana Peristiwa Perang Kemerdekaan I dan II (1958), Charter and Medal of “Satyalancana Kebudayaan RI” (2004), Charter and Medal of “Anugerah Sewaka Winayaroha”, Award of Higher Education Devotion, Directorate General of Higher Education Department of the National Education (2008), also an international award of The American Biographical Institute 2005 Commemorative Medal “Man of The Year” (2005).