Jakarta Java KINI, November 2006

It’s a Matter of Taste | Coretan Rasa: Yunizar's Solo Exhibition
at the Emmitan Gallery, Surabaya
26 November - 12 December 2006

Yunizar is already known as an artist who paints various objects that surround his daily life using a simple sketching and painting technique that allows him complete freedom of interpretation and form making. However, in his upcoming exhibition, Coretan Rasa ("The Strokes of Taste"), held at the Emmitan Gallery in Surabaya until 12 December 2006, the artist presents his most recent works, which are almost devoid of objects.

Most of the paintings in the show include meaningless and illegible scribbles. Yunizar has actually explored the scribbles since 1998, but only recently has he developed them further, "to fulfill a need for expression." This reminds us about Automatism, the surrealist technique involving spontaneous writing and drawing, which is done without conscious aesthetic judgement, but rather pure expression.

Yet, Yunizar's recent works also appear reminiscent of graffiti-like pencilwork in Cy Twombly's works. Indeed, American artist Twombly along with the German artist Anselm Kiefer and the French Impressionist Paul Cezanne are among Yunizar's favorite artists. He proudly admits that he "explores the spirit in their works," and does not deny that his art has been influenced by the development of his taste towards his admired artists. The artist believes that his art is for the most part a matter of taste, in addition to his technical skills and conceptual ideas.

Hence, while Yunizar's often child-like forms and illegible scribbles are often considered to reflect the artist's adamant struggle towards completely free expression, they are often called pure, crude or naïve. Ironically, he himself admits that his art is mostly determined by his tastes, and that his tastes have been influenced by that to which he has been exposed in the world of art. So, is Yunizar's need for expression one that is completely free, or bound by his tastes or even the contemporary trend of tastes for art?

On the other hand, we can also suspect that in the midst of trying to comprehend Yunizar and his art, meanings have been lost in translation. In the Indonesian language, taste can be translated as selera (individual preference formed by critical judgement, discernment of appreciation) or rasa (which can mean flavor or feeling). Which meaning is actually intended by the artist? Again, Yunizar reminds us that it's a matter of taste, not meaning. "Art is a mind's game and indescribable taste, let's see art through your eyes," is his famous quote. His show at the Sin Sin Fine Art Gallery in Hongkong, which opened on November 11, is titled Meaningless Letters. Indeed, his paintings are more enjoyable to view when you don't have to think too much about their meanings.

Amir Sidharta