Ida Bagus Putu Purwa

The man's body keeps on moving and dancing, even when he is not moving his body's gestures through the strong muscles always suggest movements. For the past few years IB Putu Purwa is indeed enjoying presenting burly male figures that always move and dance with their unique gestures and body language. Purwa is a  young artist from Sanur in Bali, restless with the various problems he sees around him. Through these male figures Purwa presents the problems he feels, using body language and gestures showing screams, sadness, fear, hunger for freedom and so on.   

In the realm of art, physical bodies are closely attached to the dimension of history, and for centuries they have been explored in various works of art.  During the golden age of the Greek civilization, man was incessantly obsessed with presenting realistic visualizations of the human body. It started with Samaticus inviting stone carvers from Egypt, who crossed the Mediterranean and gave birth to the sculpture Critean Boy, until finally Polly Cletus made an important discovery namely the anatomy of the human body which gave birth to the Reanche Bronzes.  During the Renaissance we have seen a revival in Michael Angelo's explorations and in an in-depth study of anatomy by Leonardo da Vinci.

The Reanche Bronzes were two sculptures of men, made very realistically in ancient Greece; these sculptures presented for the first time a realistic representation of the human body in dynamic positions of athletes. Although these were standing statues, their design was not static at all, they were very dynamic and suggested movement.  Exploration of body movement, particularly that of male bodies, is closely related to the historical development of art; the human body had always had a strong attraction for artists who like to present them in their works. Throughout history, the obsession of the human body had been closely related to the development of civilization, and usually men attempt to present their bodies more human than human.

I think that Purwa, too, finds himself in the middle of such position, through athletic male figures with burly bodies, sometimes decorated with a clown mask, playing a role, acting out fragments of life. Athletic figures represent perfection and a tendency to position the body, which in fact is full of shortcomings. Bodies in Purwa’s works play a role in representing the restlessness they feel, these bodies take the role of actors to translate Purwa's intention.

The representation of male bodies in sociological context also indicates the issue of power that is mostly patriarchal, but the issue of power is not what Purwa intends to put forward. The male figures in Purwa's works depict an ambiguous dimension, men who do not demonstrate power, but instead wear clown masks.



Title In Blue II
60 x 140 Charcoal, Oil and Acrylic on Canvas