Oil on canvas, simply framed in wood, the canvas measuring 35 1/2" by 30" (90 cm. by 76 cm.) on the stretchers, signed at lower right in the wet paint and dated there "10-4-1996". This is a work by a popular and well regarded Indonesian painter, DJOKO PEKIK (1938-). The works of Pekik (sometimes spelled Pekek) have sold to at least the $40,000 level at auctions of Southeast Asian paintings in Singapore and Hong Kong. The artist was discussed, curiously, in an "Art in America" 1996 article: "Djoko Pekik (b. 1938, lives and works in Yogyakarta) paints the lives of the common people in villages and urban neighborhoods: farmers and prostitutes, bicycle rickshaw drivers and street performers. paintings are far more sober, even tragic. With distorted figures in simplified and flattened landscapes, his genre scenes depict the difficult economic conditions of ordinary people today. His 1989 painting of trance dancers portrays one of many extraordinary moments when the dancer performs superhuman feats, such as eating glass without being hurt. Since the tourist industry is beginning to use trance dances as exotic attractions, this work may also refer to the commodification of Javanese culture. His "Girl at the Crossroads" reveals the perplexing junction where tradition and urbanization meet. In this 1992 oil, a barefoot girl stands with her bicycle at a street comer, looking frightened and confused. A red car is stopped behind her. She faces away from it toward empty streets leading out of the picture frame to the unknown. Her simple dress and bicycle suggest ordinary fife, while the car symbolizes Western modernization and technology. Djoko Pekik's landscape paintings differ from Western concepts of "landscape" or "pure nature." He regards those as commodities for esthetic pleasure, or what Sudjojono calls "the mental world of the tourist." For Djoko Pekik the countryside's beauty is irrelevant. His mountains and ocean are not places to look at but derive their import as places where people are born, where they labor, where they marry and have children, where they die". See the net for much more on this keen observer of daily life in modern day Indonesia. CONDITION: Despite being less than 15 years old, the painting has evidence of poor storage history. There is a lack of varnish, a great deal of craquelure, and some areas of missing paint flecks. ASK FOR MORE CLOSE UP IMAGES of the condition issues, as I am allowed only 9 images here and cannot fully describe the painting. See the net for much, much more on Pekik and his art. Email me about international shipping options.
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