The Expressionists Indonesian Maestro Painting

Written by Nurel Javissyarqi
Translated by Agus B. Harianto

Koesoema Affandi who was born in Cirebon, West Java, 1907 – died at May 23, 1990 in Yogyakarta is Indonesia Maestro of Painting. He became famous in the world by his distinctive expressionist style. At 1950s, he had a lot of solo exhibitions held in India, UK, Europe and the United States. The painter who produced more than two thousand paintings. Before he became a painter he was a teacher and the ticket man, or even the cinema billboard maker. At 1930s, he joined to the group “Lima Pelukis Bandung;”Hendra Gunawan, Barli, Sudarso, Wahdi and Affandi”, and Affandi was credible to leadership position. He has great contributed to the development of Indonesia’s art. At 1943, he had the first solo exhibition held in “Gedung Poetra Djakarta”, during the Japanese occupation. And at that time “Empat Serangkai” consists of Ir. Soekarno, Drs. Mohammad Hatta, Ki Hajar Dewantara and Kyai Haji Mas Mansyur, directing the Cultural Section of the “Poetra” (Poesat Tenaga Rakyat, the Center of People’s Power). Affandi acted as jobholder, S. Soedjojono was in charge. When this republic was proclaimed at 1945, many artists took part. Train carriages, the walls inscribed “Merdeka atau mati, Freedom or death!” The words were taken from the peroration of Bung Karno, the Birth of Pancasila at June 1, 1945. Affandi’s duty was to make posters. The Bung Karno’s idea was pictures of people in chains are disengaged; its model is painter Dullah. The words on the poster? What coincident then poet Chairil Anwar appeared. Soedjojono asked to Chairil, casually he said: “Bung, ayo Bung!” Then historic posters accomplished. Affandi like to wear sarong when he was summoned to the palace during Soeharto government, his intuition is very sharp. Despite he was living in the modern era identified, he was close to flora and fauna of the universe. When Affandi was discussing about “Perikebinatangan, Animalism” at 1955, the people attention to the environment was still low. Together with Basuki Resobowo, Henk Ngantung, included central executive of Lekra (Lembaga Kebudayaan Rakyat, People’s Cultural Institute, the arts section), the largest cultural organization which was dissolved by Soeharto regime. And until the death came to him, Affandi was still painting that has become part of his life. He is buried near the museum he founded.
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I heard Affandi came from Cirebon by cow-drawn carts. Drawn by bulls reddish white toward the city of Jogjakarta.

Rolling wooden wheels crushed the pebbles, threw the gravel sharpens to the eyes. The dust attacks the light, became the burst of stars in his eyes.

Surpassed the uneven asphalt streets, he pushed it when it walked through the muddy ground after the rain falls. Nobody smells his sweat, but his beloved.

The man has tough minded kept step on the path by lovely smiled, extraordinary delighted. As if his dream had signed, has proclaimed by the universe.

Together with the confidence of his artistry is indisputable. All of the wind and the space and time he forded to bless the starfish of life for the sake of the color of life to be more meaningful.

Then he arrived in the northern part of Yogyakarta, on the edge of river at the bridge. At there he was resting with his lover, while he reviewed a tiring journey and excitement as well.

That is the reflection of free human beings on the ideals, no regret except stupidity doesn’t hurry to execute intentions. The first twilight called, he was still not close his eyes, felt the glorious testimony.

The amazement of ancient gendings (Javanese playing instrument) and the shadow of wayang plays, was filling his eyes. It was clearly that he was born to as clear as flared up passion, a wood scratched on coastal sand, when the wave was gone off from the beach.

Or the thrown into the ocean swallowed by the waves, in order to deliver to meet his heart. Affandi was a moment to make sketch and read natural phenomena considered his feeling. He tested the old possibility of around nuance estimation, crowded around his big ideas.

Before I got too far, allowed me first to collect the comment of the figures on the character and personality of his works. From the book “Affandi 70 Tahun,” compiled by Ajip Rosidi, Zaini, Sudarmadji, published by DKJ, 1978:

If Van Gogh had ever said, a painting should be a party of color and paradoxically makes dull-colored paintings, Affandi makes dim paintings becomes full “brightness”, the works that reveals the impression of a love victory of life, even when it is describing the theme of “corpses and bones of the victims of Mount Agung “(Sitor Situmorang).

His generosity “… he did not dare to consider himself as an artist, at most he consider himself only as a painter. For Affandi, the meaning of artist is higher than the painter. “(Ajip Rosidi).

“Sensitivity of the intuition is the true power of Affandi in all his paintings. A response from life, for Affandi it is not the result of an analysis with an analytical sense, but the result of “its response” that directly and intuitively. “(Nashar)

“… Actually he does not paint, he gives himself into the canvas, with tubes containing the paint on his hands, his fingers are functioned as brushes …” (Dr. Rodrigo de Andrade)

“Affandi is the person who did not talk much. But instead of a matter of working, I always wonder, where is in his body’s part the source of overflowing energy out from”(S. Sudjojono).

“… Maybe in terms of ability, Affandi gained culmination in the modern painting, he was too high handled that can be accomplished scholars and our professors, those are also thanks to some of our old culture, especially Javanese culture that its aesthetic power is so strong.” ( S. Takdir Alisjahbana).

“His humanity is very solid, indispensable condition for peace,” [Canberra, June 1977, responses Achdiat K. Mihardja for International Peace Prize acceptance, Dagh Hammarshjoel (1977) to Affandi].

“Affandi a man fully desire of life, human love around him. He should be a good example for young Indonesian artists, about his diligence to work, his loyalty to his art and his commitment is so totally to his art “(Mochtar Lubis)

“… He didn’t make dialogue with his objects, he didn’t really respect to his object, he gave himself the main role, he did not create the problems with objects, but with himself; he was a little selfish. This egoism also reduces the power of epic in Affandi. “(Trisno Sumardjo)

Read Affandi’s painting entitles “Tapak-Tapak Kaki” signed 1978. It is not much different with watched seriously to his other works. The character of creation is felt very strong in the canvas.

His fingers striping already knew the object on the search efforts of the object he was working on. The mind of rebellion is transformed by the party of colors fully mature computation; there are no meaningless points.

The tiny speck of unintended bias creates different destiny. And choosing of the brightness and darkness of paint, echoes the breaths of shadow of the observer.

The energy that is so big is the reflection of his loyalty gives the soul of the body of testimony. Behavior of expressionist class which he inserts in the issue of subjectivity.

This is reverse with the same power. Exit and entry of the painter Affandi watching his fingers dance likes the longing of waves that is repeatedly.

There is a kind of experiment that was repeated carefully, from a distance he had clutched like a certain law of life.

Such as remembering the rain breeze in front of the house, drops a kiss on the leaves of understanding.

Or the pile of stones neatly arranged naturally, from the natural movement without any human touch. Or even the humane rules that are formalized as ideology.

His reason was so hard to look at every object, makes his days did not have any useless conversation. Especially when he concentrated with the whole expression of his soul immersed in a sea of canvas with the passion of colors.

His ability paints with clear lines, make the observers feel eerie. This is a serious matter of the artists, distinctively to behave with the heart without any doubt or even flabby.

Each of his striping diffuses loudly voices; tones of pain heartbroken are very tense. Ghost clutched his fate is vomited to be present, and then cut through the nefarious staring.

What a bitter experience and underestimated when he proceed, infuriated him with mature control to be focused in spaces of sincere.

Finally the patience broke narrow observation, the eyes ob observers glanced and before it.

In the passionate of conviction all are resolved, while the interception adds the strength. Or defects of people doubts to him characterized him to be more qualified more than enchantment.

Proficiency to combine the colors that is truly contrast. Then Affandi had read to be mature as much as his soul dealt with the paint.

This is a big challenge for other painters, how he set a certain dry spot in a matter of time per second, in order its melting to be able to create the mature color that he wanted.

It is really hard for beginner painters or who are still struggling narrow issue of its techniques.

Hence, this term is right; the experience is the best teacher. Affandi devoted all his ability in every finishing works before he signed up.

And dissatisfaction is the gods that always flirts to paint and to draw, to observes, to examines, to process the events that seemed made mature object. Or diffused his inner, the works with specific characteristic and no others like it.

Affandi is as if inherited the power of spirituality of Sunan Gunungjati (1448-1580) in the processing his feeling. Perhaps, because of them both derived from the land of Java, Cirebon.

There are the spheres of rejection. The spaces that should be illuminated by a color of composition, drowned by dark nuance so brings a burst viewpoint with odd dimension.

Although irregular, but that’s his strength, as such a thunderous of space-time gathered with a soul he felt.

Then it seems he painted the souls of things, an arbitrarily expression is expressed, because he had experienced the colonial period.

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