Lot 1052
  • 1052

AHMAD SADALI | Bidang Keriput Dasar Hitam dan Emas (Ridged Plane Against Black Background and Gold)

400,000 - 600,000 HKD
bidding is closed


  • Ahmad Sadali
  • Bidang Keriput Dasar Hitam dan Emas (Ridged Plane Against Black Background and Gold)
  • Signed and dated 72
  • Mixed media on canvas
  • 80 by 65 cm; 31 1/2  by 25 1/2  in.


Acquired from the family of the artist
Private Asian Collection


Jakarta, Edwin Galeri, The Hidden Works and Thoughts of Ahmad Sadali, October 17- 26, 1997


Ahmad Sadali, Jim Supangkat, Edwin Galeri, The Hidden Works and Thoughts of Ahmad Sadali, 1997, Edwin Galeri, Jakarta, p. 24, color illustration


This work is in good overall condition as viewed. This work could benefit from a light, professional cleaning. There is some very faint paint shrinkage to the work, but this is consistent with the age of the work and only visible upon very close inspection. There is a very tiny loss to the pigment at the upper left quadrant (in the background). There are some light scuffs/abrasions at the background on the right side of the work, but these are only visible upon very close inspection. All other inconsistencies are due to the artist's working method. Examination under ultraviolet light reveals no sign of restoration as viewed. Framed.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

Executed in the Indonesian modern maestro’s characteristic style, Bidang Keriput Dasar Hitam dan Emas (Ridged Plane Against Black Background and Gold), sees Ahmad Sadali ingeniously interweave colour, medium, content, and form, to masterfully create a three-dimensional plane. Through what was considered an avant-garde practice at the time, the work defies traditional rules and methodologies that pertain to painting; by placing matter and medium as the primary focal point of his work. Sadali revolts against a practice centred around a supposed ‘subject’, and employs his technique to explore the infinite potential of material. With much of the artist’s oeuvre informed by his spirituality, as well as emotional connection to nature, Sadali’s unique pictorial vernacular is informed by more than his specific art historical context. In its aesthetic abundance, this visually arresting work is constructed using unconventional art materials such as cloth and fabric. Through thoughtful placement, Sadali affixes these materials at the centre of the canvas, forming three-dimensional geometric shapes akin to ancient hieroglyphs. These pillow-like, yet angular forms are offset by spheres which can be seen towards the right side of the composition, harkening to balance: angular is to circular, as hard is to soft.

In Bidang Keriput Dasar Hitam dan Emas, the artist can also be seen to employ linear forms, which can be identified through the midnight blue stripes painted on either side of the canvas. This creates an implied viewing plane: top to bottom. The object of the painting, the materials, can then be read, perhaps as Sadali instructs our eyes to do so. As the viewer’s eyes are guided, one can begin to trace the intricacies of the non-art materials the artist uses to construct the object of the painting. The ridged plane, in all of its immediate harmony and balance, the viewer begins to become aware of the slight difference between the upper and lower halves on the piece, as divided by a clear point in the materials. Again, the linear composition reinforces one to almost construct their own division through east-west. Sadali has artfully guided the viewer’s eye through his use of line and dimensionality - with each look, he forms a modest mirroring across divisionary planes, which disappears as quickly as some slight difference arises.

The lustrous piece also works to challenge the viewer's perspective. Sitting between the boundaries of painting and sculpture, with an ambiguous title, the viewer is left to their own devices, and the artist’s subtle hints. Employing a colour palette that is markedly more earthen than in many of his other works: the mossy greens and walnut browns that span the canvas guide our minds to looking out over a plane of land, interspersed with flora. Through Sadali’s radical techniques, this is further emphasised: the abstract mounds become beautiful naturalistic raptures and openings: the lines in the composition are transformed into elements of the earth, perhaps the crevices and canyons along the plane. The oppositionary circles, and flashes of illuminating gold create non-conformity in the work that further stand out. Their presence recalls the rarities one sees when looking out over a vast, desolate landscape.

A notable graduate from The Bandung Institute of Technology, Ahmad Sadali was amongst a school of abstractionists, in a time where others essayed to distil the world through Realism. However, what separates Sadali from his contemporaries is his unrivalled use of dimensionality, created through his unconventional materials. His artistic vigour, stemming from intuition, channelled through the emotive techniques of gesture and colour, set precedence of Indonesian art to follow. His winning of The National Art Award by the Indonesian government in the year of composition of the present lot shows great accolade for a piece that is decidedly different.

Upon viewing his pieces amongst those of his time, and even atemporally, we are captivated by a mesmerising work that stands off the canvas, that has body and form, whilst being abstract to its core. Bidang Keriput Dasar Hitam dan Emas’s earthen palette, which breaks from Sadali’s usual artistic practice, helps to build the image of a vast landscape, which creates a sense of appreciation for design and creation, like when one looks up at the sky, or over the edge of a precipice.