Handiwirman Saputra

Handiwirman Saputra, is a visionary artist from Indonesia who challenges viewers’ expectations of common items by transforming the mundane into new visual arrangements. Saputra’s latest body of work created in collaboration with STPI breaks new grounds by testing the material limits of print and paper through unconventional means. Saputra’s sensitivity to form and light is conveyed in the translucent lightness of paper, intensity of colours and ephemeral sculptural pieces - interplaying polarities inherent in physical and psychological states.

Stepping out of his rustic studio in Yogyakarta and entering Singapore’s dense urban landscape for the six- week residency at STPI, Saputra’s acute observations of his new surroundings led to the creation of life size print casts of passageways. ⅓ Dari Lorong Ini (⅓ From This Corridor) reveals traces of the concrete surface that eludes one’s eyes and prompts the artist to question, “Why follow the path set before us? Why not take the road less travelled?

Unusual constructions of the artist’s curious imagination manifest in works such as Hisap – Keluarkan (Inhale – Exhale), where Saputra creates a pair of “paper lungs” where audiences can “breathe” into the work by stepping on wooden paddles to inflate flesh tinted, “paper lungs” built into an elaborate mechanical structure.

Saputra’s innate ability to convey a peculiar perception of reality, translates the visual traces of discarded paraphernalia, such as trash bags, zinc sheets, H-beams and tree trunks into austere, minimalist, paper pulp drawings in Ujung Sangkut Sisi Sentuh (Suspended Forms). Inversely, the artist incorporates fabric scraps, clumps of sponge, thread and rubber into pristine, white paper cast pieces in Tutur Karena-Melihat (Seeing).

Juxtaposing the relationship of positive and negative visual elements are Jalan Berbalik (Moving in Reverse) where “paper birds” thrust out of heavy “graphic slate” made of densely layered, black pigmented paper and the mysterious presence of black and white heads of Tutur Karena – Air Mata #01 & #02 (Tears #01& #02) constructed out of paper mache using strong but highly malleable Japanese Kozo paper.

In bringing his unusual, instinctive and tactile way of working on this project, Saputra together with STPI workshop team successfully transformed the conventional use of paper exploring its rich physical potential as a medium and object. Through Saputra’s interplay with light, form, textures and colours with paper, this new body of work aspires to evoke beauty and wonder in overlooked, everyday experiences that are taken for granted.

Born in 1975, Handiwirman Saputra who lives and works in Yogyakarta is co-founder of the Jendela Art Group, arguably Indonesia’s best contemporary art collective. An adept sculptor and painter, he straddles comfortably between two- to three dimensional medium, questioning viewers’ perspectives of seeing the world around them. A fine arts graduate from the prestigious Indonesian Institute of Arts (ISI) in Yogyakarta, Saputra is gaining international recognition with noteworthy exhibitions; “Everything You Can Imagine is Real #1”, Galerie Christian Hosp, Berlin, “Collectors Stage: Asian Contemporary Art from Private Collections”, Singapore Art Museum in 2011, “Contemporaneity: Contemporary Art in Indonesia”, Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai and “Pleasure of Chaos-Inside New Indonesian Art”, Primo Marella Gallery, Milan in 2010.