Dulu Kini @ Curate

Henry Butcher moves quickly to secure itself as the pioneer in Malaysian art auctioneering – establishing its own gallery space, championing collecting, and coordinating private sales. Introducing new desirables is imperative in the small local market, which the auction house has done recently by promoting contemporary Malaysian art, well-kept Chinese porcelain and Malay weapons, and now Indonesian art. Exhibited here are pastoral scenes from the modern era – Sudjono Abdullah’s red leaves and Koempoel Sujatno’s busy waterways are easily recognizable, while Balinese landscapes draw a yawn. Two works by Lucien Frits Ohl present skilful painting from a European tradition; Sudjana Kerton’s ‘Fish and Cat’ denotes its influence towards Indonesian artists.

Djoko Pekik - Buruh (1998)

Basoeki Abdullah’s ‘Gadis’ proves his unparalleled mastery at portraiture, while Djoko Pekik marks a turning point with the socially-conscientious ‘Buruh’, three distorted miners occupying a background reminiscent of Eugène Delacroix’s lesser-known landscapes. A curious observation is the clearly drawn outlines obvious in the newer works on show, from Arifien Neif’s naïve bedroom scene to the curled up figures of Putu Sutawijaya. Sourced from Indonesian collectors and auctions, the selling exhibition covers a wide range of artists whose works regularly trade in the secondary market, including previously bought in pieces at Sotheby’s and Christie’s. Like FX Harsono’s triptych print ‘Welcome Drink’, any social commentary the artist wishes to express is drowned by the contemporary art market, as auctioneers continue to embrace new collectors and speculators alike.

FX Harsono - Welcome Drink (2008)