Progressive rock music, poetry, experiences and memories are driving forces for Indonesian artist Jumaldi Alfi’s never ending creative conquests. Alfi’s new body of work “Melting Memories”, embodied in raw visual power of iconography, painterly immediacy and stunning colouristic expressivity, is simply astounding in its voice of the human condition.
Through the chaos of lines, colours, and symbols, Alfi explores life, death, the spiritual, the supernatural, and the physical in a concrete, visual space. Departing from the familiarity of painting, Alfi’s experimentations with paper- and print-making processes at STPI led to the creation of illusionistic but highly realistic “paintings” of blackboards, frenzied collages of crudely drawn figures, skulls and cactus, to the solemn, restrained line drawings of Sisyphus, whose eternal struggle of moving a boulder uphill repeatedly, is a story the artist strongly relates with.
These works of Alfi’s epitomise emotive gestures and symbolism, his depiction of a cactus on an arid plain personifies survival and the struggle to live, in contrast to his portrayal of the lotus inspired by Buddhism which represents reincarnation and the purity of mind. He presents the rock derived from the Greek mythology of Sisyphus, as a carrier of narratives about the beginning and the end of presence and stairs symbolise the accession for hope. Alfi’s “blackboards” filled with repeated handwriting and fleeting scribbles are representative of the artist’s internal mantra for clarity.
“Contemporary artists from Indonesia are fast gaining international recognition and Jumaldi Alfi is one of the leaders of the pack, capturing the consciousness of critics, curators and collectors with a creative range that is both unique and universal,” said Emi Eu, Director of STPI, which had continuously produced new, ground breaking artworks with established and emerging contemporary Indonesian artists.
In the 80s, Alfi burst upon the art scene of Jogja surrealism with artworks that quickly developed into a complex and highly diverse style, marked by innovation, sophistication, skill, and a stirring emotional depth. Alfi admires the artistic verve and technical virtuosity of post-war German artists such as Anselm Kiefer, Martin Kippenberger and Georg Baselitz whose meditations on German militarism haunt him as deeply as West Sumatra’s sanguine past. Born in West Sumatra in 1973, Alfi completed fine arts education in 1999 at the Indonesian Institute of Arts in Yogyakarta, where he lives and works.