Lot 090

b. Indonesia, 1949


Titled ‘Tubuhku adalah Lahan’ (lower centre),
Signed and dated ‘FX Harsono 2002’ (lower left)
Mixed media on paper
32cm x 105 cm

Private Collection, Indonesia.

FX Harsono: Testimonies, Singapore Art Museum,
Singapore, 2010.

ESTIMATE  RM 4,000 - 6,000

A seminal Indonesian contemporary artist, FX Harsono has been an active critic of Indonesian politics, society and culture since his student days. Throughout the years, his artistic language has developed to the current new social and cultural contexts keeping his works fresh and up to date. The basis of his art draws upon his personal life and family history particularly that concerns “the disconcerting situation of minorities, the socially underprivileged against the backdrop of Indonesia’s own history and political development”. He constantly questions and reflects upon his current state of being within the society. He developed new forms of expressions through his works - by deconstructing “the concept of the self portrait, interrogating the conventions of portraiture by deliberately obscuring one of the major components of a portrait, the face” – evident in this graphically enhanced piece.

Created during a residency at the Amsterdam Graphics Atelier in the Netherlands (2002 – 2003), this photo-etching is among the earliest works by the artist to incorporate self-image. This work has been exhibited in prestigious art institutions and an edition has been acquired by the National Gallery of Australia in 2013. In the group exhibition titled Beyond the Self at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, Australia, curator Christine Clark writes: “Tubuhku adalah lahan (My body as a field) is read immediately as conveying a more optimistic premise. With outstretched arms and head tilted backwards, the self portrait appears in the act of supplication or even complete surrender, or perhaps, in a state of renewal. The correspondence with religious imagery is reinforced by the knowledge of Harsono’s religious beliefs. The seeming incongruity between surrender and renewal can be appreciated in view of the artist’s personal repositioning and exploration of the self within an altered national landscape.

The personal body in Tubuhku Adalah Lahan is used as a field – employed as a vehicle, a site for expression. The selfimage is surrounded by symbolic imagery, floating and at times superimposed, and lines denoting geometric divisions, a mix of easily interpreted and ambiguous symbols. There is the mandala overlaid with the lotus flower and references to Mother Earth and regrowth through images of rooted plants. The placement of the plants at the base of the artist’s head and above his open palms, seemingly mystically elevated, is particularly evocative, inviting reflection on life and educing thoughts of hope and potentiality”.

FX Harsono attended Sekolah Tinggi Seni Rupa Indonesia from 1969 to 1974 and later was enrolled in Institut Kesenian Jakarta where he trained from 1987 to 1991. He has been a lecturer at the Faculty of Art and Design, Pelita Harapan University, Tangerang, West Java since 2005. He has held numerous solo exhibitions namely Suara (Voice) at the National Gallery of Indonesia (1994), Displaced at Cemeti Art House, Yogyakarta and National Gallery of Indonesia (2003), FX Harsono: Testimonies at Singapore Art Museum (2010), Writing In The Rain at Tyler Rollins, New York, United State of America (2012), and most recently What We Have Here Perceived As Truth/ We Shall Some Day Encounter As Beauty at the Jogja National Museum (2013). His installation piece titled The Raining Bed (2013) was displayed at the Southeast Asian Platform during Art Stage Singapore in January 2014.

Beyond the Self: FX Harsono, Christine Clark
, National Portrait
Gallery, Australia.