The artistic face-off between classy Italian cosmopolitan Filippo Sciascia (36) and messy Yogyakartan cultural melting pot Ugo Untoro (38) present a rare collaboration. Of the same generation, these artists are products of an academic education, and as such, are equipped with analytical tools that enable them to understand the “elan creatif” and specificity of their respective bodies of work. Both carry the burden of “otherness”. Both are contemporary artists who are active and recognized names on the Indonesian art scene. And both appear, at first glance, to have the same humorously dejected attitude towards the passing of time and the meaning of things.
The process that gave birth to the works of art in this exhibition was very BIASA: simple and unpretentious. So simple, that it has sophisticated elegance. The artists had no preconceptions. The intention was to work together. The ‘how’ came spontaneously. For six months each artist worked at their own studios, arriving at themes by talking to each other in trivial, ordinary, daily ways: phone calls and SMS. Then Ugo visits Filippo at his Ubud studio where they work together. As host, Filippo offered his finished canvasses as the platform for their collaboration. They work together. The results, as you will see, are amazingly strong.
Ugo’s world is more darkly existential than Filippo’s. Filippo explores the expressive possibilities of readymade images to their limits. Yet, there remains in his works a shadowy idealization of form and beauty. Beginning with a minimalist approach to figuration, Ugo on the contrary dismantles both feeling and meaning, leaving us pondering, mouth gaping. Filippo’s works present us with shadows of reality, Ugo’s, with the reality of shadows.
Based on strict equality, this collaboration is an attempt to find new modes of expression to avoid a possible dead-end in creativity: as a means to reach beyond cultural and national differences to face the challenge of globalization in its numerous paradoxical forms. These two artists reach beyond cultural differences and move towards the definition of a new, better balanced kind of humanism.
Filippo Sciascia is an Ubud-based artist born in Palma Di Montechiaro, Italy, 1972. He has exhibited widely in Indonesia, USA, and Italy. His works revisit painting with the implementation of high tech tools as a way to see, looking into the “how the eyes see” and subsequently transferring the images to the brain. Using a video film as his starting point, Filippo looks for The Real, translated digitally in a photo image, filtered through the classic media of oil painting, in what could be described as his transposition of a video.
Ugo Untoro is a Yogyakarta-based artist born in Purbalingga, Central Java, 1970. He graduated from the Indonesian Art Institute in Yogyakarta. Considered one of Indonesia’s key contemporary artists, Untoro has exhibited widely in Indonesia as well as Malaysia, China Singapore and France. Hailing from a street background related to the boundless nature of graffiti art, his signature style is not necessarily pleasant, but more raw and spontaneous: dirty with finger spots. Wrought full of irony and existential questioning, Untoro’s unpolished canvasses have a tangible connection to society’s margins.