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Museum Musings: Slices by Wedhar Riyadi at Yavuz Gallery

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This May, Yavuz Gallery presents Indonesian-artist Wedhar Riyadi in his first solo exhibition in five years. Titled Slices, the show comprises nine paintings from his new body of work that explores the psychological depths of popular cultural imagery and its implications on the production of reality and the ideal body.

Based in Jogjakarta, Indonesia, Wedhar is part of a group of Indonesian artists whose work is strongly influenced by the era of change, having seen the fall of the Suharto regime, the subsequent transition to democracy, and an increasing influx of Japanese and Western popular culture in local entertainment. The impact of these socio-political changes found expression in his work, which appropriates and draws upon various forms of mass media to create surreal, absurdist worlds.

In Slices, Wedhar focuses and expands upon on the influence of the digital age and mass media, through paintings that distort, rearrange and carve up imagery of the human figure. Starting his process with a collage made from images gathered from various magazines or fashion advertisements, the artist cuts up, tears, layers and manipulates the figures into new phantasmagorical compositions that simultaneously highlight and omit parts of the body. These collages are then reproduced and translated into textured and lush oil paintings, seamlessly blending realism and fantasy through his appropriation of familiar forms and objects.

These new works and its process allude to the phenomena of the contemporary internet age, where anything is easily attainable through applications and gadgets, easy to be manipulated, modified and reproduced as we see fit. The everyday portrayal of the human figure as a result has been distorted from reality, polished and manipulated to the extent of fantasy.

Says Wedhar: “I see [my works] as a reflection of the world we live in. Culture clashes, emotions, and human beings with all their varied problems and tensions.” Slices then reflects the best and worst of our digital lives – a world where the bizarre, twisted and manipulated are manifested and normalised.

Slices runs at the Yavuz Gallery at Gillman Barracks from 25th May to 16th June 2019. Admission is free. For more information, visit their website here

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