The breadth and diversity of the cumulated artwork of Sunaryo Soetono, which spans a career of more than 40 years, is breathtaking. Prolific in scope and concept he has experimented in countless media and styles including monumental sculpture, abstract and figurative painting, complex multi-media works, installations and conceptual art.
Sunaryo is not only one of Indonesias most important living artists, but he is also one of the countrys most important inspirations, nurturing succeeding generations of young artists as lecturer and dean of the department of art at Bandungs prestigious Institute of Technology. Even in retirement he plays a major role in the Indonesian art scene, not only as a working artist, but also as the force behind Selasar Sunaryo, a dynamic Art Space he founded in 1998.
Sunaryos art is united by the core belief that an artists vision and identity must be grounded in his cultural and environmental roots. This philosophy, first declared in 1975 by DECENTA, a seminal movement of young artists, which he joined, rejected the mindless aping of foreign art and urged its followers to seek their own paths. It left an indelible mark both on a young Sunaryo and future Indonesian art.
Sunaryo has never shied away from difficult subjects. While emotionally and sometimes politically charged, his artwork is never sentimental or cynical. In one iconic abstract work - "Lost Comfort in My Village" - his distress over haphazard industrial development and its incursion into his home is simultaneously an elegy for a lost friend and a cry for environmental protection.
His artworks are often profound expressions of a whole spectrum of emotions, from joy to pathos. They are also meditations on identity and borders. Time and time again we see the juxtaposition of contrasting fields made of all manner of materials - marble dust, aluminum sheets, circuit boards, bamboo spears, mirrors and jute bags - often symbolizing tension and potential conflict.
The work is imbued with a dream-like quality and mytho-poetic symbols. He is fearless of taking on profound subjects, such as his installation "Borderless Universe", which is a de facto proclamation of artistic freedom.
In "Seamless Points - One vision, many perspectives" Sunaryo leads us on a personal tour of a borderless world that reflects his concerns about social responsibility, civic integrity, philanthropy, environmental protection and identity.