One of the interesting things in Masriadi’s artworks is the idea of the figures’ body shape. Most of them are depicted to have big, fat, large, or firm body. Only a small number of the figures are represented in tiny, skinny, or normal size of body. It is impossible that Masriadi suddenly found this characteristic without any process. This article is aimed at analyze the former body shape characteristic, the big, fat, firm body.
What is it behind the Masriadi’s large, big, masculine, firm, or fat body?
Why do the bodies seem to be full of questions and endlessly argued about?
Is it because these bodies that attract the audiences’ attention?
Masriadi said that he started drawing the firm bodies when he was a student. His statement is justified by the appearance of the macho male (or female) figures and the superhero icons in his drawings, for example Batman. He has been falling in love with Batman figure since he was a teenager so that Batman presents in his artworks several times with different styles.
As long as I remember, when he was a student of higher education (1997-1998), he started to visualize his fat figures on his canvas. Even in some of his works, those fat bodies were drawn with unrealistic style. When he was a student, he often visualized his ideas by applying a semi-decorative plus cubistic style. His artworks exhibit the body cuts that are arranged randomly but still end in identified human body (Figure 1).
This fat figures’ visualization was the impressive starting point for us, Masriadi’s friends. Even though there was a feel of flatness and decoration in these early artworks, we could already sense that Masriadi was completed with prospective capacity to be further developed. It was proved that in the next era, Masriadi developed another style that he has been engrossed with until now.
His artworks then turned into the more “solid and united” ones. He began to diminish his cubistic tracks. These shapes gave an impression that they were created based on advanced concepts. They also initiated to perform object dimensions (look at the light that “falls” on the objects), although the body lines were still there and applied strongly. On his canvases, there are more single figures, as the ones that he once exhibited together with the works of IGK. Murniasih in Cemeti Art House and Biennale Jogja, both were in 1999. Some of them can be seen in Figure 2.
The interesting signifier of this in between time is the appearance of paintings with quite complex narrations. Mariadi’s 1999 pieces present non-single figures. The stories told are also affected by the popular life. Sometimes they are created comically but bring about newer tendencies. Up to now, figure deformation has been developed in a light scale.
It was in 2000s that Masriadi transformed his way of thinking in the visualization concepts. When doing his exhibition in Purnabudaya Yogyakarta in 1999, he said to me, “I want to overcome a photograph!” Back then he displayed an artwork entitled Yang Manual dan Yang Digital (1999). It was not a painting of a figure. It was a highway painted realistically on one canvas and digitally printed on the other canvas. This piece marked his thinking movement to the next level. He started to leave his decorative and cubistic trace and moved toward the pure realistic one.
It can be recognized in the figures on his canvases as well. He was no longer satisfied just with neutral colors (black, white, grey, or the splashes of mixed colors) and the play on figure movement. He went beyond the visual impression. In his next artworks he put more complex narrations out of various themes. Since 2000s, his paintings has provoked several things.
First, after 2000, visually he developed a strong and colored realistic style. Some artworks demonstrate a better mastery of realistic style. Although the figures are still fat, large and firm, but the faces are clearer. The eyes, nose, and ears are posed in a more normal way.
Second, visually, his artworks tell more about urban life and sports. These themes provide him with crucial vessel since the themes allow him to draw anything. His hobby in computer-based games (play station, interactive game,or game on line), the image of urban figures, and various international events are his sub themes. Fundamentally, it fits very well: those themes are most appropriately and beautifully illustrated by fat, firm, and large people. Match!
Third, the male and female fat, large, and firm figures are painted as images of universal humans. Take a look at his works and you will find that Masriadi never shows local issues in his paintings. He does not present the life of Bali, Jakarta, or other big cities. He never draws the city icon as the event background. It means that the figures are manifested as the reference of life in general. Thus it is not surprising that his pieces are welcomed in various parts of the world.
by Mikke Susanto –