January 2017 – On January 7, 2017, Komaneka Fine Art Gallery on the Monkey Forest Road in Ubud, Bali, will open “Coming Home: Home by a New Road, a solo exhibition of paintings by the Indonesian artist Hanafi. This will be the third in the “Coming Home” series, which presents the work of artists who showed with Komaneka early in their careers and went on to become internationally recognized. Bringing their recent work back to Komaneka is a kind of homecoming.
Hanafi, born in Purworejo, Central Java in 1960, is an abstract painter who conjures the world in atmospheres of great beauty. His canvases are distinguished by spaces of muted but luminous hues, in which events take place in the form of marks that suggest a state of inquiring.
Hanafi is very concerned with the experience of chaos and indecision. “It’s a kind of questioning, a reconstruction.” This is why he calls this exhibition a new road home. “It is important to always take a new road, even to a familiar destination: it will entail indecision and confusion.” To Hanafi, indecision is almost an energy, a state of mind fertile for discovery. Hanafi paints every day, whether he feels like it or not. Part of his discipline is to seek to liberate the line from its function and apply it instead as a pattern. This requires a continual inner interrogation.
Hanafi studied at the Indonesian Arts High School (SSRI) in Yogyakarta 1976–1979. In the 1990s he moved to Jakarta where he still lives and works. Home has long been a theme of Hanafi’s work, expressed in architectural patterns in his canvases. “I don’t like to be far from home,” he says. “I’m concerned about looking after my family.” Nonetheless, he has exhibited in the United States, at the Saatchi Gallery in London and at the Museum of Girona in Spain. His work has also been exhibited in Canada, China, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. He has participated in over 80 art exhibitions including the National Gallery of Indonesia in Jakarta in 2002, and in 2004 at the Gallery Canna in Jakarta and Komaneka Fine Art Gallery in Ubud, Bali.
Among the works exhibited at Hanafi’s “Coming Home” is a long table with carefully placed small paintings framed in mats. This installation is meant to suggest a New Year’s Eve banquet. But near one end is a pile of these works for people to shuffle through. This disorderly (but judiciously placed) pile is meant to introduce an element of chaos. “Not everything that is orderly is right,” says this thoughtful artist. “Or so I suspect.”
Hanafi’s use of color is spare and is inspired from the urban earth of his childhood: terracotta roof tiles, cement. The works are deeply compelling. Asked how it is that they are so beautiful, he says, “Beauty is like an orchestra. It’s composed of many elements: there is cleanness, emptiness, polemics; there is order and confusion, flatness and volume.” But what most illuminates the works is perhaps the artist’s purity of intention — a commitment to paint only what springs from the spirit.
The exhibition, which fills the second floor of this important Ubud art gallery, will run until February 7, 2017.