Art and Design

Arin Dwihartanto: Zeitgeist
with resin drips

Cyan/Magenta/Yellow/Black #1,2,3,4, resin, pigment on Canvas by Arin Dwihartanto.

Arin Dwihartanto is one of those young artists whose inquisitive nature is always looking for something new, something different from the usual. But his latest body of works came about in a rather accidental way.

To create new ways of doing from accidental happenings is not for every artist. One has to be extremely attentive, and creative. Arin Dwihartanto is such an artist.

One day he was using resin to smooth the surface of his canvases. Because he was concentrating on whether the resin had improved the canvases’ surface, he didn’t notice the resin drippings on the edges of the canvases.

When the drippings eventually caught his attention, instead of immediately cleaning up them up, as one would expect, he kept gazing at them. Fascinated, he started experimenting, agitating the canvas on which he had put some resin. This could be another way to make paintings, he thought to himself.

So this marked the beginning of his intense exploration with the fluid behavior of resin, the results of which are on show at his 4th solo exhibition at SIGI Arts Gallery, titled “Fluid Friction #2”.

Characterized by extremely smooth surfaces over seemingly capricious shapes, the works evoke a sense of zeitgeist, the spirit of the time, fantasy, the playful and the aesthetic.

But what matters most is the medium and the process used to create his artworks.

Using resin is certainly no easy job. Its fluid character is also very unpredictable, often flowing where it isn’t supposed to. It also dries very fast, and gives the artist just 15 minutes to decide whether to let go or stop the flow.

Challenging, it fits the spirit of our time.

When creating art, using resin evokes a sense of ultimate pleasure to those who love the challenge of uncertainty. With resin, one has to be flexible yet pertinent.

“How I am forced to make compromises with uncontrollable conditions and deal with them by taking a variety of decisions all depends on the situation at hand,” says Arin.

When the resin “shapes” have dried, Arin peels them off, then glues them to the canvas, as in chiaroscuro #3, the layers of which are clearly visible when looking from the side.

But in the works against a black background, Cyan/Magenta/Yellow/black #1, 2, 3, and 4, where several colors flow into each other, a glass plate is pressed onto the half-wet resin on canvas.

Of course he has decided on the colors beforehand, but the free flow of resin makes everything appear almost out of hand, and Arin has to be extremely focused to achieve the color combination he intuitively wants.

Resin is so unpredictable, he said. It flows in directions one has not even thought of, and while he has to make quick decisions, he also has to compromise in ways he had not intended to.

Arin goes further in his exploration with a kind of rubber window cleaner he uses to push the resin around, letting it “glide” freely and resulting in paintings that appear poetic and imaginative, like in Untitled Black White and Untitled White Black – also called Ying and Yang. No doubt, despite the unruly character of resin, Arin is pretty well in command of it, otherwise paintings like Vertical Horizon and Orange White with their faint white “streaks” on orange, would hardly have been possible.

The work 16 Splatter Set shows yet another technique he experimented with. Here, 16 black images, each within a square – which were peeled off as pre-fabricated from resin – are glued to the canvas.

Arin said he was inspired by what he saw on the internet, where samples of paintings had been edited and used to make a certain design. He intended to create a splatter effect, with every little splatter intentionally made and glued onto the canvas.

Arin earlier explored with oil paint, applying semi-watery paint to a flat canvas and allowing puddles to develop.

By agitating the canvas, the paint moves over the surface allowing him to create images within the puddles.

No doubt Arin Dwihartanto will continue exploring and experimenting, finding new ways to push the limits of what used to be considered acknowledged standards.

Trained at the Bandung Institute of Technology and the London-based Saint Martin College of Art and Design, Arin Dwihartanto’s artworks were showcased at the Philip Morris Art Award in 1999 and the Indofood Art Award in 2002, after appearing in the top 25 of the Asia Europe Young Artists Painting Competition in South Korea in 2000.

— Photos by Carla Bianpoen

Fluid Friction #2
A solo exhibition by Arin Dwihartanto
April 7- 25, 2010
SIGI Arts Gallery
Jl. Mahakam I no II,
Kebayoran, Jakarta
Ph +62 21 726 0949

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