Oototol  (Ca. 1943 - 2012)


At the Oberoi Hotel, Bali.

From 06 October to 06 November, 2016.


 Oototol low



Oototol was born ca.1943 during the Japanese occupation in the village of Pengosekan, to the South of the famous Ubud. He never went to school, both because his parents could not afford it and because he was somehow “different” from his village peers.

He did not fit, nowhere, behaved as if being the host of some “outside” forces –what the Balinese call bebainan– and reacted in strange, compulsive-obsessive ways, that soon had him turn into the village fool. He came of age during the heydays of Indonesian nationalism, when Sukarno’s speeches, heard on radio, were turning crazy crowds in the smallest Indonesian villages.

The great leader slammed the West in imaginative words and acronyms that carved themselves in people’s memory: vivere pericoloso, Nekolim (Neo-Colonialism-Imperialism), Ganefo (Games of New Emerging Forces) etc. Later on came the military, who took up a definitive visual shape with the arrival of TV sets in village houses. This did not escape Oototol’s attention.

So, the mythical nation, Sukarno, its founding father, and the military, all became “presences” that imprinted themselves in his poor “village fool’s” mind. Sometime in the 1980s, the Italian artist Mondo, gave Oototol a brush and Chinese ink, those “presences” burst out into the real to become art. An outsider art, full of military uniforms, dark-glassed characters, with Sukarno and his typical hat standing in row in a strange, uncanny demonstration of power. We can say that Oototol works are an involuntary testimony to the power of power in Indonesian short history.


Prof. Jean Couteau Ph.D.



I Dewa Rerod alias “Oototol”


Born during the 2nd world war, right in the moment in which a Japanese
airplane was roaring very nearby, was named “Rerod”.
In the late 80s and early 90s, he was busy flying kites along the rice fields with the village children’s during the windy season and alone during the season with very little or no wind. During the season without wind, he used to run to lift the kite, he was successful in make it fly, but he had to keep running all day long in the rice fields in order to supply wind to the flight.
He used to wear a typical military jacket and Javanese Muslim hat, as if he was from Java and not from Pengosekan from a Hindu family as everybody in his village. Sometimes he changes his military jacket and wore an old white admiral jacket with metal silver stars sewn on the shoulder or in the heart.
For some magnetic coincidences, he started to come every day to mine and Murni’s house, to do what we were doing: paint on canvas with bamboo pen and brush.
Most of Oototol's works are composed by “generals” or animals with a general’s hat. In the first few years his works have the influences from
Balinese traditional art imagery, inspired specially somehow to Ramayana
He did not speak so much, he asked only for water. When we asked something, he would always responded “yea, yea”, even if we asked to choose, he always only said “yea, yea”. When he was more in a talkative mood, he like to talk about the color of travelling to Singapore and the color of the black doll and the color of the color ( “Warna - color”)… but he kept always using black ink on canvas as in the 30's at the Batuan School.
He always signed his works as “OOTotol”.
In ca.2002, he participated to his only art group exhibition at the Dalila Hotel art gallery with I Dewa Putu Mokoh, Murni, Lanussa and Mondo, curated by Willy Valentine.
He died in 2012, in his native Pengosekan.


Edmondo Zanolini Artist


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