Made Tubuh  (1942)

I Ketut Murtika (1952)


Art Exhibition in The Oberoi Hotel, Bali.
From 11 January to 11 February, 2017.


Murtika Tubuh


Batuan school was part of the Pita Maha movement. Its artists quickly adopted Chinese ink and the use of paper, yet its artists kept free from much of the formal stylistic influence that pervaded the artists from the Ubud area, where Bonnet's "anatomism" left to this day deep traces. In Batuan developed instead a rich, dense use of Chinese ink in washes, layered to create an atmosphere of dark shades off white highlights.

The paintings depicted Balinese daily life or the strange ghosts and spirits haunting the Balinese people's psyche. This early Batuan school of the 1930s was a short period of absolute expressive freedom.

At its origin was Made Jata (b. 1910), who had been of the Batuan artist who had come of Spies and Bonnet’s influence in the 1930. A sophisticated draughtman, he took up his own son, Wayan Rajin (b. 1945), and two of his nephews, Made Tubuh and Ketut Murtika as apprentices in his workshop. All were highly talented, and were soon competing with each other about who could produce the most intricate paintings, the smallest drawing, and the finest layering of Chinese ink wash. The impressive combination of their talent soon led to the burgeoning of a new school, the Miniaturist School of Batuan. This Chinese ink technique was similar to that of preceding artists, but the drawing was finer and a layer of color was added to the Chinese ink. The themes were mainly borrowed from traditional stories and myths from the wayang kulit puppet show.

However the richest “village” school of the post-independence days is the Miniaturist School of Batuan, that appeared in the late 60’s when a few young painter started competing as to whom could make the most miniaturized works. These miniatures, which mostly depicts complex scenes from the Balinese mythology, consist of a complex system of layered shading; their appreciation require that one lets the eye roam freely on their surface, gaze at a patterned detail, visually dig into it, then dance again on the surface, following step by step the lines of identification of its drawing. Wayan Rajin, Ketut Murtika, Made Jata, Made Tubuh, Dewa Putu Kantor, Wayan Taweng, Wayan Sundra and Ketut Budi are the masters of this school, which is arguably the richest of Bali.


Jean Couteau, Ph.D.


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