Under the umbrella of The Sardono Retrospective at SIFA 2016, Indonesian artist Sardono W. Kusumo performed this two-hour piece in front of an audience over two days last weekend. It was lovely weather for an outdoor performance in the late afternoon from 5pm to 7pm.
We watched the artist paint onto an elevated large canvas as seven other dancers move around with four huge canvases at the fountain of the Malay Heritage Center. The canvases began blank and were slowly colored by the spray of the fountain and whatever colors the artist chose to splash on it. I'm so impressed that the venue took extra effort to consider the cleaning up after the show, and allowed for such a form of artistic expression and ink to flow out of the fountain instead of the usual clear water. It made for a enjoyable show.
Sardono Kusumo is a dancer who has danced for most of his life, and now, he's a painter. He has taken both art forms and expressed them on big-frame canvases. He said that it's not so much about the visuals and creating a museum-worthy piece. It's more of understanding how the paints and oils could dance for the artist as well as the audience.
The dancers twirled and rolled about in the thin columns of black spray. The friends whispered, "Hope they're using non-toxic paints." Yah man. We could smell the ink, reminiscent of the type used in Chinese painting. The dancers were thoroughly soaked. Shuddered at the thought of the paints going into the eyes or if the dancers have allergies. UGH. But the dancers' costumes didn't absorb the black ink. The costumes looked like stylized wetsuits. Very cool.
I happened to like one of the paintings very much, especially how it formed its character at the at the 1.5-hour mark. That was fairly complete, I thought. Then more colors were added and I didn't like it so much after all. Picked another favorite in black and blue as the performance ended and no more colors were added to the mix. Loud appreciative applause was given to all the performers for this unique audience experience.