R. Yuki Agriardi: Into the blue
The Jakarta Post
Jakarta / Thu, April 13, 2017 / 12:00 pm
Bandung artist R. Yuki Agriardi’s unique style is easy to spot.
Whether working with ceramics, various installations or on paintings, his main creative medium, Yuki’s highly detailed pieces are likely to have some kind of blueish hue adorning them.
A graduate of the Bandung Institute of Technology’s interior design program and the Central Saint Martin art school in London, Yuki finds inspiration in nature and childhood memories.
His latest project was a co-exhibition with fellow artist Wedhar Riyadi and Wisnu Auri at the Ark Galerie in Yogyakarta, called “When I Think about the Death of Painting, I Play.”
On whether the title has any personal meaning to him, Yuki said death was something he often thought about. “In general, I still have no clear idea about death. It could be a big black wall you have to face one day, but it could be also a big black wall you have to face with a hammer or shovel on your hand — something you have to work out,” he said.
However, he has no intention of talking about the “death” of painting in the contemporary art world.
“For me, painting is one medium I like to work with to visualize my ideas. My work feels alive to me, but in the end, I leave it open to the viewers’ interpretation [as] they have their own values and thoughts [and] their own experiences,” he explained.
For this exhibition, he worked on his paintings in parallel, waiting for a layer on one painting to totally dry, before working on the other.
As an artist who works with different mediums, Yuki doesn’t find it hard to decide which medium to use at different times.
“My professor once told me that I didn’t have any religious attachments to any particular materials or medium,” he said, laughing.
“I work with any medium I think would best present my ideas — either ceramics, wood, paper, drawing, painting, furniture, installations or anything. When I work on an idea, I give it a try and experiment with several mediums, and decide later which one best represents the idea. So experimentation and process plays a big part in my work.” As for that love of blue, Yuki said that between 2009 and 2011, his work was largely generated by “intuition.”
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He did not begin using blue as his main color until working on his Dive Series in 2011, “because my intuition told me blue had this special, visual value that worked with my art, but I can’t describe or put it into words.”
He simply followed his “gut,” allowing his fingers to draw ocean creatures with a lot of blue.
When he obtained his masters degree from London’s Central Saint Martin art school, Yuki came up with what he considers his calling card, the Native Island series. It was, among others, influenced by a time visiting the London Zoo.
“This idea of a Native Island is like a habitat from which my works are collected. This ‘island’ is a space I observe, a space within borders, an island between domestic life and wildlife. It’s like, if you were standing next to a fence, and on the other side of it were these wild, lifelike figures — like animals and shrubs,” he explained.
“Well, the space I’m observing is the one inside the fence, the space within two borders where our curiosity is transferred onto the object of our curiosity. I discovered this space when I was at the London Zoo and spent most of my time in front of the gorilla enclosure, observing [the gorillas’] behavior.”
His research made him realize that although the human eye recognizes a wide spectrum of the color blue in nature, blue doesn’t actually exist as a pigmented color.
"Almost every naturally occurring blue tone qualifies as a structural color. Structural colors occur because of the miscroscopic structure of an object's interference with light. It's like the sky or the sea; they're blue, but if you look at them closely, the blue does not exist," he said, realizing that does this was a “eureka moment.”
Yuki uses this project to talk about the barrier, density, conflicts, curiosity and also the process of identification and observation.
For him, all of his art is a deeply personal process. Through it, he observes and reflects his environment “as a journey to pursue self-awareness by looking at nature.”
“Personally, this is also reflected when we see something that looks simple but was built from dense, intricate elements. It’s like when you see yourself in the mirror. First, you see what’s on the outside — the fence, the barricade,” Yuki said. “But when you start to know yourself, you realize that you were built from lots of smaller ‘fences’ raised by your life experiences. That’s why, if you observe my paintings closely, you will see the inhabitants or hidden details inside. We are built to observe and to be observed.”