Lot 1094
  • 1094

I Nyoman Masriadi

1,800,000 - 2,800,000 HKD
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  • I Nyoman Masriadi
  • Don't Push Me
  • Signed; signed, titled, inscribed and dated 2009 on the reverse
  • Acrylic on canvas


Private Collection, Indonesia


T.K. Sabapathy, Nyoman Masriadi: Reconfiguring the Body, Gajah Gallery, Singapore, 2010, pg. 221.


This work is in very good overall condition as viewed. Framed.
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Catalogue Note

Nyoman Masriadi is notorious for his fresh and humorous narratives that arrest the viewers with controversial messages being depicted. Principal premises in his study unveil superhuman like figures whose witty narratives are relevant to Indonesia’s history and contemporary life interwoven with global pop culture. Masriadi has been greatly influenced by graphic novels, films and computer games which could explain the comical outlook of his paintings.  He never ceases to entertain his viewers with his sarcastic humor that tackles the realities of life.

Masriadi’s pieces reveal a dynamic personality that speaks to viewers as outspoken and bold. Arguably, this is also reflected in his own character as the artist dropped out from the Institut Seni Indonesia, a prestigious art school in Indonesia, rebelling against the curriculum’s values and wanting to find his own voice. The artist is an individual who actively defies societal expectations, and his collection of paintings can be seen as an exciting and oftentimes satirical analysis of modernity.

Don’t Push Me features a muscled dark blue man wearing white briefs that are embroidered on the fabric ‘DON’T PUSH ME’. The figure performs a lifting action where his arms are pushed upwards, lower body positioned in a squat and face shaped to show the exertion of energy the figure prompts. Masriadi deliberately inflates the classical depiction of the male physique, exaggerating it in an artificial and slightly comical way. He once said, “The figure, the human figure is its own drama, its own theatre; it is both actor and story. That’s how I sometimes see it” the artist sad. “The figure is acting, is seeing and is telling the story too. It’s the figure that carries everything”[1].

The isolated presence of the figure is the driving force behind his oeuvre. He is seen to symbolic strength and dominance as emphasized by the composition which focuses on the whole body. The man could be lifting an object or metaphorical meaning that is narrated in this piece. Masriadi purposefully frames the narrative this way, as means to divide up the picture or even hide what the man is holding up. The narrative is as ambiguous as the man is stoic. His arms are reminiscent of the legendary figure Atlas who was cursed to forever hold up the world. The blue man in the present painting displays similar signs of concentration, while he simultaneously stares down at the viewer, silently interrogating them with his eyes.

Masriadi talks about the pressures of society as such: “But if there is [a lot of pressure], I always have different types of paintings. Sometimes I don’t think about the pressure, and then I can finish [the painting] fast”[2]. The words capitalized, ‘DONT PUSH ME’, could be his personal response towards society, a quiet rebellion from the demands of the external, public environment. He clearly states that he is a person who does not conform to society and works at his own pace, ignoring what the outside world expects.

In most of Masriadi’s pieces, he depicts the male body as a black man. T.K Sabapathy from Nyoman Masriadi: Reconfiguring the Body mentions, Symbolically and generally, black conveys gravity, momentousness and even perilousness. These are powerful sensations and Masriadi is stimulated by their propensities for visual realization. It is in regarding effects such as these that he talks about imparting a sense of strength in his figures, when they are represented dominantly in black”[3]. However, interestingly the man in the current work is depicted as blue rather than black. Perhaps then the present work may be seen as a ‘quieter’ piece compared with the earlier works. The empty background is purposely kept simple to establish a sense of propriety and draw focus onto the figure. The protagonist stares directly at the viewers, engaging with them on an intimate level.

Masriadi is a master of embedding double entendres throughout the pieces, and these messages reflect his outspoken personality that is interlinked with the paintings themselves. Ongoing debates that aim to unravel the roots of his works will always exist. What does it convey? Is it a parody? Is it a tackle on the pressures of society? Is it based on an electronic game? However, the viewers are consequently left to decide for themselves.  


1T.K. Sabapathy, Nyoman Masriadi: Reconfiguring the Body, Gajah Gallery, Singapore, 2010, pg.108

2 Refer to 1, pg.105

3 Refer to 1