Masriadi , I Nyoman b.1973 / Untitled
about this work
I Nyoman Masriadi has been hailed as a leading figurative painter in Asian contemporary art by art historians, critics and collectors alike. Born in Bali, Masriadi moved to the artistic hotbed of Jogjakarta to complete his painting studies, alongside Handiwirman Saputra, Rudi Mantofani and the other members of the acclaimed 'Jendela' group. The 1990s was arguably the time during which Indonesia produced its most fertile and creative young talents of contemporary art, amongst whom Masriadi was indisputably a rising star. During this time, he consolidated his interest in figurative painting, and gradually developed a keen ability to depict bold muscular figures caught in the fray of daily life. Witty and direct, his work often displayed themes of confrontation, group identity and behavior, and societal archetypes.

The early works of Masriadi were dominated by a series of socio-political works that focused on the collapse of the New Order regime of President Suharto in 1998. The immediate effects of this devastating political crisis saw the near breakup of the Indonesian nation; this instability was to rock the country for the next four years. Over this period Masriadi produced an explosive series of works including his critically acclaimed "Bantul Series", which set him apart as one of the leading artists from the region. His works often featured heavily muscled, dark skinned figures, reminiscent of the artist's influence from elements of contemporary visual culture, such as comic books and video games.

'Untitled', 1998 is a formidable early example of these works, depicting a surreal mythological creature with wings and a human face. The figure here is already executed in what remains Masriadis typical monochrome palette, with strong black contour lines. The post-cubist manner is typical of early works of this period, yet the patterned, multi-colored background and rich motifs of the present work are quite rare, creating an enhanced dreamlike quality which is gradually forgone in later works, where instead greater emphasis is placed on the central figure. 

These figures evolved gradually over a decade-long career from the neocubist figures of the 1990s and early 2000s, to a more graphic rendering of the lines and contours of the body in the mid-2000s, until the hyperrealist characters which viewers are most familiar with today. They are an integral part of his artistic idiom; forming lasting impressions, exceedingly rich in meaning and expression.

Masriadi often addresses the issues of tradition versus modernity, the pace of development in third world countries, and the commercialization of all aspects of human existence - an inexhaustible list which allows the artist to delve deeper into human nature and cultural issues. Masriadi's artworks cover a range of scenarios and situations, rarely revisiting the same precise context twice. Yet his protagonists and key themes remain ever-constant, and most importantly, maintain a relatable aspect for the ordinary viewer familiar with Indonesian and Asian society. 

The poignancy of Masriadi's works arises through the gleeful self obsession and materialism portrayed within his characters - the gleaming smile against their dark skin, their vacant eyes and vapid expressions. If Masriadi's art can be seen as a mirror for society, it is also invested with a certain amount of self-reflexive dry humor. Each situation taking shape under Masriadi's brush acts as a double edged sword - allowing the artist to act as the mouthpiece for society's conscience, but furthermore as a means of allowing us to laugh at and reflect upon the human foibles and weaknesses born from contemporary culture.

Born in 1973 in Gianya, Bali, Masriadi studied at the Institute Seni Indonesia in Jogjakarta and dropped before he finished his degree. Major exhibitions of the artist include: The Simple Art of Parody, Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, Taiwan (2009). Recent Paintings, Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York, U.S.A (2011); India Art Fair, GaJah Gallery, New Delhi, India (2012); Art Basel, Switzerland (2012) and Art Stage, Gajah Gallery, Singapore (2012). I Nyoman Masriadi currently lives and works in Jogjakarta, Indonesia.

I Nyoman Masriadi (b.1973, Indonesia)

Untitled, 1998

Mixed media on canvas
70 x 80 cm.
27 9/16 x 31 1/2 in.
Henry Butcher Art Auctioneers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia / Private Collection, Singapore / Borobudur Auction House, Singapore Current Location:
Hong Kong - G4Si PaintingSouth Asia


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View Publication »

T.K. Sabapathy, Nyoman Masriadi: Reconfiguring the Body
Gajah Gallery, Singapore (Book), 2011

Artwork History
  • artist origin
  • provenance
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  • exhibitions
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