Abstraction and Empathy


I Made Mahendra Mangku (1972)


Art Exhibition in The Oberoi Hotel, Bali.
From 13 February to 13 March, 2017.


I Made Mahendra Mangku


I Made Mahendra Mangku was born in Sukawati, Gianyar, Bali on December 30, 1972.
He graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Indonesian Institute of the Arts Yogyakarta in 1997, and has been actively exhibiting his works both domestically and internationally since 1996.
For three consecutive years (1996-1998) his works were finalists of the Indonesian Art Awards. Mahendra Mangku now lives and works in Sukawati, Gianyar, Bali.

For Mahendra Mangku, to reflect life through paintings is not identical as transferring life's realities from actual spaces to pictorial ones. He is not merely trying to transfer or translate life's realities onto the surface of a canvas. Instead, his artistic reflection of life is more of an attempt to bring forth his existential experiences as they connect with realities—when the self is completely open to observe the world.
His works reflect an existential movement of the self as it struggles to embrace life's phenomenon as authentically as possible.
Rather than being fascinated by the external appearance of things, Mahendra Mangku is more interested in treading the intellectual and the spiritual spheres, the foundation of reality, to unravel their fresh and new layers of meanings. The orientation of his creative motion is not a reality that has been captured by the limited capacity of perception (sights, for example) but a reality that has been intimately pondered with the fullest of heart and mind.
His works offer abstract visual compositions that he constructs from exploring the formal elements of paintings like lines, forms, spaces and colors.' Sometimes there are vague allusions of certain image of realities like landscapes or cityscapes. Rather than representing realities, those images tend to project his attention and interest in structural systems that work behind certain constructed realities. His works quietly remind us that our perception of reality is never sterile; instead it is always imbued or in fact determined by all sorts of abstract formulations like scientific conventions, cultural codes, political ideologies, etc.
Expressive sketches add dynamic and warm accents to the painting's harmonious color system, balancing out the simplistic, seemingly cold yet elegant color fields. The harmonious yet full of nuances color scheme, applied in fine gradation on the painting's space, creates a serene, contemplative, meditative atmosphere. It simultaneously echoes Heidegger thesis that "Serenity posses a unique and pure strength not by isolating us, but by projecting our whole existence into an intimacy with the essence of all things”.


Arif Bagus Prasetyo


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