For Dipo Andy, technical exploration is an artist’s endless journey
One indicator used to appraise an artist is through his or her technical mastery. It can be concluded that technical mastery enables an artist to explore various themes and create good quality of artworks. Dipo Andy aims to showcase this, by emphasizing on technical exploration in each of his works of art, including those exhibited in Salihara Gallery from March 2 to April 2.
In 111 artworks showcased in Kundalini Bumi exhibition, Dipo displays a technique to explore mud and resin mixed with canvas, paints and satellite photos digital prints on the faces of the world’s key figures.
Dipo exhibits visual contrasts by mixing the smiling, confident images of the world’s celebrities with drips of Lapindo mud symbolizing the earth deterioration. The Lapindo mud case has not been resolved up until now, resulting in hundreds of villages drown by mud.
To use social problems as inspirations for artists are quite common in arts circle. This applies to Lapindo case as well. This includes senior artist Tisna Sanjaya who produces a series of installation on Lapindo by integrating Lapindo mud materials into his artworks. One of this Lapindo-themed installation art made by Tisna Sanjaya is exhibited in Art Stage 2013 in Singapore in January 2013.
“In my imagination, people I paint in my works are campaigning for the beauty of the earth as well as the earth’s damage,” explained Dipo in his conversation with Sarasvati a moment after the opening of his exhibition in Salihara.
Dipo then explained this new technique in these series of painting. When Google Earth was first widely discussed in 2006 because of its capability to capture any moving and non-moving objects on earth through satellite imaging, Dipo seeks to use this technology to create his artworks.
“This coincided with United Nations Conference on Climate Change Conference in Garuda Wisnu Kencana, Bali, in 2007,” explained the painter who is amongst five Phillip Morris Awards winners in Indonesia. So his intention to create with Google Earth resonates with the spirit to protect the environments from the global leaders.
Dipo captured the earth through the satellite’s eyes, then he poured black paint onto it. He then scanned and printed it digitally. This process created a separate layer on flat surface. Dipo then scan the image and covered it with resin to tie together Lapindo mud poured onto a flat surfaced with pictures of the global leaders.
“I need to measure things precisely. I have to measure when and where I can pour paints and mud. I have to measure which surface to be left empty. After the mud dried, I still need to pour resin on top of it.” This needs mathematical calculation so the contrast between earth’s beauty and earth’s damage can be displayed in exact composition.”
Even though this seemed highly technical, Dipo believes that this exploration helped his artistic intuition to mature. “This separates artists and thinkers.”
Dipo argues that artists should have ideas as well as skills to integrate issues into their artworks – with technical exploration as key. Thinkers may accumulate knowledge, yet they are not familiar with artistic details. “Technical exploration is an artist’s endless journey.”
For Dipo, technical exploration is very important. “I think, an artist can never produce this one perfect masterpiece, that’s why I keep on searching. Once an artist stops searching, he is dead. Stop searching means that my artistic intuition has failed to touch other people’s hearts.”
Curator Asikin Hasan believed that technical exploration Dipo selected throughout his career is a process of dialog between Dipo and his art lovers. “An artist should have the courage to do so. It is because the people may not agree with him then leaved him, or the other way around. Established artists may fear to explore as their fans could leave them. Dipo Andy does not care about that.”
According to Asikin, Dipo’s technical exploration resulted into something new. This is different from some who viewed technical explorations as mere ornament. “Technical exploration relates closely with the medium and for artists, medium is their language. For me as a curator, medium exploration is very important for an artist.”
Asikin exemplifies Mark Rothko’s high technical exploration that enables them to comprehend their language without having to talk about the paint’s theme. “Rothko only plays with color, for example red and just red. But without having to say a single word, red already speaks volume about contemplation.”
According to Asikin, Dipo’s technical exploration resulted in something new for painting. As common materials in sculpture, resin and mud are introduced to canvas, which contributes to the development of painting as an art form.
All images: Courtesy of Komunitas Salihara/Witjak Widhi Cahya