The Theater of Life


I Wayan Gede Budayana (1984)


Art Exhibition in The Oberoi Hotel, Bali.
From 06 October to 06 November, 2017.




When you write about art, the artwork you are dealing with, sometimes is so banal that the writing has to be good to save it.
Everything is good in the matter. You can talk about something else, anything but art: the artist has exhibited abroad or he insults people in his installations, etc.
So I raise a question. What about artist who just strike you right away as good? Excessive subjectivity of the art critic, will say the critic’s critics. Yes, of course, but if you happen to be, like me, someone whose pen is respected in the art world. What do you do?

Let me give you my answer: you just say that the artist is good. This is what I am telling you right now.
Budayana is a good artist, simply because he has a world of his own. A world that he conveys with a sense of what is essential in an unordinary original combination of color.
But what is this world? His works consist mainly of human faces? One next to another, filling the whole canvas. In those haunting figures, he is not making a statement about “going back to the primitive core” in the way Dubuffet, Cobra or informal artists did. His purpose is different. He is not investigating the limits of expression by trying to uncover its “pracivilisational” core. No. There is nothing intellectual in his endeavor. What he does is talking, more or less consciously, about what haunts him most: the world of his ancestors.
Those to whom he is addressing prayers in this temple of origin, those whom expects to come down and re-incarnate in his grand-children. In short, the ones who are at the core of his belief system-even though he may doubt about its reality.
His manner is modern, you will say. Certainly it is. There is no concern for reality. But this modernity is not a burden. On the contrary. It enables him to deconstruct the stilted patterns inherited from tradition and then turn his representation into one of haunting ancestors, gods and probably demons. We are taken into the world of the beyond, the reality of the intangible in its oppressive mystery. To best convey this unreal reality, he does not simply draw ghostly forms; he brings them to life by slight touches and contour of color that as contrast magically against their background. A world of its own, I said above. It remains to see how this artist evolves. But I would bet that a good future is in wait for him.


Jean Couteau, Ph.D


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