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RECITE! / IQRA'! by Agus Baqul Purnomo
12 Aug – 05 Sep 2009
press release | essay | biography |
press release

It can be said that Agus is a visual artist that has the potential to effect growth in abstract painting, particularly through his ability to eloquently express four main elements in his work: rhythm, texture, colour and repetitive shapes. His choice of shapes is strengthened by an expressive use of texture, that are at times heightened with alphabets, light control, and solid colours that convey meanings of their own. Agus’s artwork presents a refreshing departure from current abstract expressions in Indonesia, which have lately been dominated by 'pleasing' and sterile formalism, by employing visualisations inspired by abstract expressionism, but in a context all its own. 

This new series of work will be exhibited in the exhibition entitled Recite! The title of the exhibition was cited from the most significant verse in the Qur'an for every Muslims. Taken from the first five verses recited to the Prophet Muhammad, from Surah (chapter) Al-Alaq: "Iqra bismi rabbikalla dhi khalaq. Khalaqal insana min alaq. Iqra wa rabbukal akram. Alladhi 'allama bil qalam. 'Allamal insana malam ya’lam, " which means "Read in the name of your Lord who created, created man from a clot. Read, for your Lord is most Generous, Who teaches by means of the pen, teaches man what he does not know." (96: 1-5).
This series is a continuation from the artist’s previous collective exhibition entitled ‘Yasin: The Unstransable’ in Yogyakarta, where he was working closely with curator Farah Wardani. The exhibition brought forth various visual interpretations of the Surah Ya-sin, whereby Agus’s work was one of the most striking of all in the show. The collaboration between Agus and Farah lead to his solo exhibition here at VWFA, where his works continue to embrace Indonesian Islamic culture, with Agus combining calligraphy and abstract styles in painting.
The concept of this exhibition is based on the dialogue between Agus and Farah Wardani, on their identities as the average Indonesian Muslim. After the Ya-sin exhibition, Agus was inspired to explore other doas (prayers) to be interpreted visually. The prayers highlighted are a collection of those most crucial to the daily lives of Indonesian Muslims, such as prayers to be recited before a meal or bathing, a prayer to find a life partner, a prayer for travelling and others. These prayers are derived from Qur’an verses, the teachings of the Prophet, and prophetic traditions collected by Bukhari and Muslim. Typically, parents teach these prayers to their children, to instil the values of worship and Quran recitation.
Copyright © Valentine Willie Fine Art 2008