Table is to put thins on: things that should be made objects: being eaten, worked upon, read, or else. It is not to keep something passive. Table is for swarming over works, not fighting over position.
Unlike chicken and egg of God’s creation, chair is, relative to table, the first of man’s cultural creation. It is not that table is unimportant, but many other things can function as table: a flat-faced stone, cut-off trees, one’s lap, or simply the ground. Some contemporary interior designs even project very big pillow as tables. But chair is a conscious invention that is given priority in being refined. It is therefore much more symbolic than table. A table without accompanying chairs is truly disturbing, unless it is so low that people know to squat on the floors at it. A chair without table is even a more powerful symbol of power. Someone with a chair without a table means hat he needs to work, needs not to do anything but to make decisions and say words. God is, of course, the most powerful. He creates neither with table not chair. He is independent of time and place.
He, who needs a chair, is independent on place, is place-bound, mortal and mundane. He needs to assert himself, to acquire legitimacy. Therefore it is indeed natural the ‘seat’ means both a place of something and a space to sit in.
Giving space to a table is, therefore, an act of counter-culture. It is not THE culture as establishment. It is not refinement. It is basic. Why would people fight for seats of the chairs, and not works on the table?
But perhaps table is a culture of the other? To think of a chair, is to think of oneself, of individuality. To think of a table, is to think of ourselves, of collectiveness.
Well, Hanafi, who is now carrying a table on his shoulders, indeed does more works –after his place is established in Depok, and his seat more secured in the landscape of Indonesian fine arts.
Here and there he, of course, still finds new technical problem as ways of improvement and casual adventures: paints that dry differently in different corners of his estate, stronger texture of the new canvasses, lights falling differently on his paintings, etc.
Old idioms, impulses and concerns -pure momentous expression, tension, plasticity of the paints, space, light and energy along a stroke- always pop up again and again amidst his more programmatic (or should I say: thematic?) works, he admits. Repetition paradoxically becomes a legitimate and liberating routine when one has taken off into thematic exploration. It might be his only survival before his cheering audience. The space formed between the thematic and the expressive Hanafi could as well be an inspiring tension to grow beyond both.
21 August, 2001
galeri: keheningan sayan