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Zola Zolu Gallery
Nugroho Adi - Unveiling The Javanese Enigma
Registry, March 2008
In the last two decades, there has been a significant improvement in Indonesia arts. This improvement brings an exceptional degree of international recognition, and at the same contributes an evocative ongoing for Indonesian art in connection with the modern art. Contrary to their Indonesian masters counterparts (Affandi, Jeihan or Basoeki Abdullah), young Indonesian painters are very expressive in exposing their daring and non-compromising themes. Similary, they also begin to experiment with colouring techniques liberally. This new phenomenon creates a new wave of energy and dynamism that encourages more talented young artists to give their best contribution to bring Indonesian scenes to a new height. One of them is Nugroho Adi Prabowo.

"I want to keep the best. Even if it is in a dream, I do not want to wake up. In the space of a painting, I find goodness, the pure image, the pure stories"

In 1974, the son of RS Soeprapto was born in Ambarawa. At an early age, it was clear that young Nugroho had a natural talent for the arts. Through his father's support, his talents were consistently natured. His talents were apparent not only in his erstwhile courses but also to his neoteric works. In 2004 he was commissioned by the Archbishop of Semarang Diocese to design Via Dolorosa in the Prayer Garden of Kerep, Ambarawa. This success marked an achievement in his earlier career. Using cement as media, most of the sculptures in the garden feature his interpretations of the biblical figures. Following his earlier success, he then began to hone his talent in painting constantly and diligently.

Unlike other Indonesian contemporary artists, Nugroho Adi's approach to colour compositions and forms gained a new figurative images from common objects that possessed a deep philosophical value. For example, he painted a cane of sardine and blended it with another related object in a different way to tickle public, opinion on au courant theme of modernism, that people shall return or at least not forget to their originality. Thus, making him stand out in the local arts scenes as well as abroad. Consequently, most of his works are collected by the art connoisseurs in Singapore and other South East Asian countries. This encourages him to hold an exhibition at the Art Fair Singapore in October 9th - 13th, 2008.

When asked on his motivation to focus on painting. Nugroho pointed out. "I want to keep the best. Even if it is in a dream. I do not want to wake up. In the space of a painting. I find goodness, the pure image, the pure stories."

To Nugroho, arts and dreams are similar, a search for an cutlet of the soul's hopes. In fact, dreaming is a form of self liberation, like opening a window in the spring; letting the fresh air of life come in. Nugroho Adi did not live in dreams; Like Dali, he recomposes his experience as if his works are reproductions of a dream world, it is how Nugroho Adi express his artistic congenital in a form of philosophically metaphoric art pieces. Metaphoric characters in Nugroho Adi's art pieces have developed into an eloquent stage. Critical understanding regarding social issue has become his foundation, which goes stonger every time he overcomes the steps of conscience.

In his Maret, 2007 and Sajian Praktis (Practical Service); 2007. it is clearly visible how Nugroho Adi anxiously responds to the recent urban condition that is constantly influenced by global transformations. In Market he deliberately painted situation of Indonesian traditional market, which dominated the canvas. At the same surface, he inscibed."market" words in orderly manner but in softer colour. This symbolizes that alhough western influence is commonly accepted and practiced by the urban people, nevertheless, they cannot be part from their traditional value. While Sajian Praktis points out his sharp criticism a la Andy Warhol's Campbell Soup on modern situation in Indonesia.

Inspired by Arthur Schopenhauer's idea of aesthetics on art, there is an intimacy of Lowbrow and Symbolism genre that becomes typicality of Nugroho Adi's works in the last decade. At the first glance his work may be considered as Post modernism that is influenced by the up - and - down of the Pop - art movement. However Nugroho Adi further develops and refines both his thinking and work. Thus, bringing about a different outlook towards the way an object can be observed. There is a much more evident inclination towards the material figure. Lines and the use of rich, yet natural colours have become free, with the background becoming an integral part of the the overall composition. The skillful application of thick textured oil paint bring out important key features. When combined with the use of bold and fine lines, the elements flow together harmoniously to create a balanced and aesthetic from of expression.

"Transformation from realism to contemporary in my works is not limited to distortions that symbolized philosophy and free interpretation of the image itself. Distortions that I mean is how I combined realism-naturalism value with the contemporary ideals, which prioritize freedom of expression and interpretation to the image object ." said the young artist who plans to continue his art education in Europe.

At the peak of Nugroho Adi's artistic transition, Nugroho Adi seems to have found the essence of Jean Moreas' manifesto on symbolism; in this genre of art scenes from nature, human activities and all other real world phenomena are not described for their own sake. Here, they are perceptible surfaces created to represent their esoteric affinities with the primordial ideals. To this idea, he has chosen an owl as his presentation of symbolism; a creature that both inhabit philosophical and realism - naturalism values.

"I do not bind one's understanding on owl, which dominates my latest work. In my personal opinion, like eagle, owl is the king of all birds. It has strategy to haunt its prey. People encounter an owl only at night, this creates the dualism that owl is both as symbol of power and knowledge," explained the admirer of Raden Saleh.

The outstanding transformation to grasp the nature of symbolism of an owl is clearly visible in his latest work Selamat Jalan Sang Pemimpin (Farewell to the Leader); 2008. it is his response to the recent humor that captures national deliberation regarding the late former President Suharto's merit. Once again Nugroho Adi is able to satisfy his audiences by exposing the main characters that consist in his serial signature. The method that he applied in his latest works and the image exhibited a metaphoric interpretation of owl, chair, and rat that are confiscated by the exposition of media - these are symbolised by the newspaper by the newspaper - which aimed public to the paradox of Suharto's past governmental administration. Nugroho Adi indirectly said that beyond Suharto's dark period, there were positive virtues that need to be appreciated. Blooming white and red roses appeared to be an expression of sympathy whick are showed by both who favour and oppose him.

His point of view on the owl is not ordinary, since he breeds two owls to possess an intellectual holds on this creature. The result is not only achievement in detailed texture of the owl images, but also stimulates new inspiration to create serial paintings which exhibit this noctural carnivore. By looking at Nugroho Adi's painting's dreams approach us again, stimulate our freedom, create solitude of self contemplation in today's highly competitive culture.

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Unveiling The Javanese Enigma Unveiling The Javanese Enigma Unveiling The Javanese Enigma