415
415
Affandi
COCKFIGHT
Estimate
700,0001,200,000
LOT SOLD. 875,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT
415
Affandi
COCKFIGHT
Estimate
700,0001,200,000
LOT SOLD. 875,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art – Day Sale

|
Hong Kong

Affandi
1907 - 1990
COCKFIGHT
Signed and dated 62
Oil on canvas 
101 by 129 cm; 37 3/4  by 51 in. 
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Provenance

A gift from a friend and patron of the artist
Private Collection, USA
Sotheby's Hong Kong, 6 October 2014, Lot 389
Acquired from the above sale by the present owner 
Private Asian Collection

Catalogue Note

Pulsating with a frenetic sense of energy, Affandi’s Cockfight (1962) is one of the artist’s most evocative works depicting the dramatic tension of the cockfight. Known in Balinese as tajen, the cockfight is an age-old custom in Balinese culture, imbued with layers of social significance and religious symbolism. Upon encountering this practice during his first trip to Bali in 1939, Affandi was immediately drawn to the interpretive depth and richness that the setting of the cockfight offered.  Drawn to situations he could endow with personal signification and symbolic meaning, Affandi saw the cockfight provided the perfect occasion for staging a metaphorical interplay of different signifiers in his work. A testament to his fondness for the ritual, Affandi produced a vast number of portraits and animal paintings depicting the sound and the fury of the cockfight. This present lot stands out as one of Affandi’s most captivating works, synthesizing Western modernist techniques with his uniquely Indonesian humanist sensibilities.

 

Widely renowned as an artistic pioneer in Indonesia, the Cirebon-born Affandi is celebrated for innovating his signature artistic modus of directly applying paint from the tube and smearing it thinly across the canvas by hand. Affandi’s approach—which has been described by some as Expressionist—is uniquely suited to capture the highly charged setting of the cockfight. Depicting the explosive ferocity of the cockfight in medias res, the present work captures a stirring scene between three gamecocks engaged in battle, while bearing all the hallmarks of Affandi’s well-loved artistic vocabulary: the three titular birds are depicted with forceful lines and curves and outlined with bold contours, and the paint is delivered with a heavy, tactile impasto. In Cockfight, Affandi deliberately opts for a vivid color palette, as though to convey the vibrant dynamism of the ritual: the plumage of the fowls are gloriously constituted by mesmerizing swirls of viridian, cerulean, vermillion and amber, delineated by occasional streaks of white. The background, deliberately left sparse to emphasize the focal positioning of the three fowls, bears markings of Affandi’s palm and finger prints alongside occasional streaks of auburn, ochre and midnight blue, lending the work a sense of balance and harmony.

 

Despite eschewing his early Naturalist approach, Affandi retains a keen eye for representing fine detail, motion and posture in this work, uniquely reinterpreting the scene in his signature Expressionist style. The rendering of the roosters’ comb, wattle and sickle feathers are all remarkably lifelike, paralleling the actual motion one would observe in a real-life cockfight and reflecting Affandi’s keen observation of Balinese quotidian life during his stay on the island. The joints of their hind-limbs, similarly, are faithfully reproduced in accordance to anatomical accuracy, from the curvature of the claws to the slightly-protruding spur. Yet, true to Affandi’s  Expressionist-influenced artistic praxis, there remains a persistent emphasis on his own affective and subjective experience of the cockfight. While figural representation never truly recedes from view, Affandi’s use of fluid strokes and dramatic curves suggests that the work intends to draw the viewers viscerally into the heightened emotional charge of the setting of a cockfight—undoubtedly buoyed by the boisterous cheering of gamblers and onlookers alike—rather than acting as a photographic account of the fight itself. Similarly, the swirling motion of the feathers, combined with the the abundant use of warmer tones, alludes to the fitful flickers of a flame, as though the three fowl were set ablaze in an eruption of energy and color, ultimately animating the work with a spirited quality. Ultimately, Affandi’s Cockfight pulsates with a distinctive rhythm while retaining his signature artistic idiom, drawing viewers into the heightened sensorial experience of the Balinese cockfight.

Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art – Day Sale

|
Hong Kong