Presse: The Jakarta Post (anglais)

8 March 2009

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Jakarta Post, March 08, 2009.

French artist brings women’s dual lives to canvas

Agustinus B. da Costa, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Having looked at the 23 pain­tings by Bali-based French artist Jean-Phillipe Haure, one is left with mixed fee­lings, ran­ging from melan­cho­lic to proud.

[ Duality I, pri­vate col­lec­tion ]

Most of the works depict Balinese women. They are tra­di­tio­nal female dan­cers from the Abianbase vil­lage of Gianyar. Shown in seve­ral poses, some women are in beau­ti­ful dance cos­tu­mes, some others in daily worn-out dres­ses. There are stri­king dif­fe­ren­ces in how he por­trays young women and old ones. The young women are pic­tu­red beau­ti­fully with flo­wers, dan­cing orna­ments and detai­led tra­di­tio­nal cos­tu­mes, while the older women are depic­ted with detai­led wrink­les.

In addi­tion to being the island of the gods, it seems Bali should also be billed as the land of thou­sands of ins­pi­ra­tions, because from a vil­lage alone, Haure gets pro­found impres­sions that he can retell through his canvas. He’s mostly impres­sed with the tra­di­tion: dan­cing. In Bali, he says, dan­cing is the tra­di­tion that is passed on from one gene­ra­tion to the next. It’s an impor­tant part of a reli­gious ritual to wor­ship the gods.

He says parents send their girls to study dan­cing at nearby tem­ples. Every temple has its dance group. The dan­cers do not only per­form for func­tions held at the temple. Sometimes they per­form at social events. At other times, they dance to amuse the people at tra­di­tio­nal concerts, odalan, at the temple.

Haure says he loves to see dance per­for­man­ces, but what is most inte­res­ting for him are the behind-the-stage pre­pa­ra­tions: when the girls are bust­ling around with their cos­tu­mes and orna­ments, and put­ting on makeup. He tried his best to depict the moment.

“The dan­cers get stres­sed, tense, anxious, while awai­ting their turns. But they still move for­ward to the stage.”

Being in close proxi­mity, he says that he can see there is a beauty in the tran­si­tion bet­ween the dan­cers’ daily lives and their per­for­mance on the stage. To him, it is ama­zing to see how people change their roles or per­so­na­li­ties.

“This is a meta­phor for life itself. Human beings are always trap­ped in the moment of tran­si­tion. This moment is very stres­sing. But we just have to move for­ward.”

Woman at work is ano­ther domi­nant theme in his pain­tings. He por­trays the daily lives of real people. He knows them well because he sees them and lives with them.

“When I lived with a Balinese family, the domes­tic eco­nomy was hand­led by the women. They also rei­gned over the kit­chen domain. That’s why we see women wor­king in cons­truc­tion pro­jects or manual labor around their houses,” Haure says.

“But they never com­plain about it. They never see it as a big burden.”

In Balinese tra­di­tion, women have their own free­dom to choose whe­ther they want to work in the domes­tic sector (sadwi) or in the public sector (brah­ma­wa­dini).

“He makes a strong and detai­led sketch of the human body and the pat­tern of their tra­di­tio­nal out­fits,” art enthu­siast Edi Purnomo says of Haure’s works.

But on the other side, Edi says Haure also gives his pain­tings an abs­tract back­ground, mono­chrome and pastel. The haze is an expres­sion of his emo­tion, like the com­po­ser trying to figure out the sounds of music from the abs­tract world.

Born in Orleans, France, in 1969, Haure went to the Boulle School of Art in 1983. In 1989, he worked on the res­to­ra­tion of natio­nal French fur­ni­ture and joined the monas­tery of Saint Benoit-sur-Loire. The French govern­ment appoin­ted him as a social worker to help boost the Hasta Karya Indonesian School of Art in Gianyar, Bali.

  J-Philippe, Bali Press review Presse: The Jakarta

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