Arin Dwihartanto Sunaryo on Materials and Process

4:32 | Published on November 1, 2013 | 1,134 Views

Arin Dwihartanto Sunaryo, who comes from a family of artists and designers, describes having become increasingly aware of the significance of medium and process while studying in London—an evolution inspired in part by painters like Alexis Harding, Peter Zimmermann, and Ian Davenport. On returning to Indonesia, Sunaryo was attracted to the flowing, paint-like quality of industrial resin and, in 2008, started to use it in conjunction with methods such as photographic printing, and materials including volcanic ash.

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No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia
Arin Dwihartanto Sunaryo on Materials and Process

The whole family is artistic: my dad is an artist, my brother is a graphic designer, my sister is a textile designer, my uncle is an architect and interior designer…so, it’s kind of a family industry!

I studied in London—the reason is that I wanted to develop my knowledge of painting. When I studied in London, I underwent a huge transition because I became more aware of what I was doing. I gained awareness of the medium, awareness of the material, and awareness of the context, in terms of concept.

When I studied in London, I read a lot about Alexis Harding, Peter Zimmermann, and Ian Davenport. When I came back to Indonesia, I had a few connections to industrial distributors, and I started to use resin in 2008 because I realized that resin is an industrial material. I’m interested in exploring the character of the material. Resin is a liquid, and paint is a liquid, so it’s flowing. The gesture, the splash, and the abstract are in the character of fluid. So, when I use resin, I experiment with a lot of images, and a lot of colors.

I merged photographic images with the resin. I found that there’s a complex relationship between industrial materials and digital printing. The color palette that I use is actually restricted to CMYK. Also, photographic images are printed using a CMYK color chart.

For the Merapi series, the reason I decided to do more monochromatic color palettes is the color of the ashes is gray. And when the rains came, the ashes became more brownish. When I decided to use volcanic ash, it was actually when my friends came to my studio, and brought the ashes to me.

In the studio, I have a glass table. And then I have a jug of resin. I pour the resin on the top of the glass table. When the resin is set, I peel the resin off the glass table, and then mount it on a wooden panel. So, when I make the work, I don’t know what’s going to happen. The end product is mysterious because the painting that you see is actually underneath the one that appears to me. The image that appears underneath and what it looks like on top is totally different. So, it’s quite challenging. Sometimes it’s very stressful, and sometimes it’s quite surprising. It’s an unpredictable process.

I’m not restricting myself to one particular approach. If someday I find another material, I’ll probably use another material, and another subject. But there must be a connection to what I did before.

I think the material [materiality] is still the most important thing in the whole artistic experience to me.