The Purity of Esthetic


Adriaan Palar (1936)


Art Exhibition in The Oberoi, Bali
From April 16 to May 16, 2018.


Flyer web Adriaan

Adriaan Palar Symbolic Abstraction


When one sees Adriaan Palar’s paintings, what does one think about?
Mondrian and De Stijl of course, but with a difference. It is not color or Nature in themselves, reduced to their basic geometrical structures, as in Mondrian’s works, that are being investigated. It is instead Indonesian color, and Indonesian nature.

Let us locate Adriaan’s place in the landscape of Indonesian art. Born in 1936, he is no contemporary artist. Educated at the “Design Department” of famous ITB (Bandung Institute of Technology) Art School, he belongs to a generation of Asian artists which endeavored, against staunch criticism from purist critics such as Greensberg, to spread to Asia, and Indonesia in particular, the innovations of the Modern Art movement. To him and his peers, when Modern art turned abstract, it was not to remain an exclusively Western movement, delving into the systematic investigation of form and color. It could also convey, in a revisited manner, the symbolic and spiritual quest of Asian cultures—in his case the Indonesian one.

Andriaan Palar was in 1973 one of the founding members of the Decenta Group (Design Center Association) with A.D. Pirous, Gregorius Sidharta and Sunaryo, all of them well-known figures of the modern Indonesian art world. In Decenta, Adriaan Palar mainly worked on projects linked to the Indonesian government, and initiated in this context the use of modernized indigenous motifs, often large-scale, for national projects. His paintings of this period are characterized by a similar essentialization of forms, along the lines pioneered by Ries Mulder’s students at the ITB. Yet, if most of Bandung artists evolved from cubism to some sort of figurative symbolism, Adriaan Palar went one step further: he became abstract.

This transformation was not immediate, though. In 1967, he married Runi Palar, who soon became Indonesia’s most famous jeweler. Their love, based on a similar attraction to things of beauty, soon evolved into a business partnership.

Like that of Mondrian, Adriaan Palar abstract geometry expresses a vision of the world. “The world is structured along two lines, he says: the horizontal and the vertical. The horizontal expresses the complexity of natural and social reality reduced to its essence, whereas the vertical expresses one’s attempt to escape and relate to the unknown and godly. Why do I express those ideas in green, because I live among horizontal rice fields. Green horizontality occupies my visual world. As for verticality, it comes to me through the presence of the altars which one sees everywhere in Bali in the middle of rice fields”. Indeed, Adriaan’s quest is similar to that of Mondrian, but he expresses in in the color language of his country. In Adriaan’s works, abstract geometry genuinely becomes Indonesian.

So, enjoy the green, in all its meaning. Think of rice fields and offerings to the gods.


Jean Couteau Ph.D.


Follow Us

Indonesian Fine Art - Facebook instagram gplus pint

Get The Updates From Us



©2016 Indonesian Fine Art - All rights reserved | Proudly Designed by digibali - Web Design Bali