About Putu Bonuz Sudiana
A multi disciplinary contemporary artist well known for his powerful abstract style. Putu Bonuz Sudiana is a dynamic and progressive artist with a creative charisma that attracts a wide range of audiences. His contributions have been in painting, installation, music, performance art and poetry.
Getting to Know Putu Bonuz
Abstraction is not separate from the figurative. Abstraction is a process of searching not that different from looking into the character within a face, to capture the essence.Putu Bonuz Sudiana
Putu Sudiana alias Bonuz is an artist born in Nusa Penida, Klungkung, Bali, December 30, 1972. Since childhood he has been interested in painting. While in his village, he was often asked to paint the walls of the fishing boats (jukung). After completing junior high school in his hometown, he continued his education at the Fine Arts Middle School (SMSR) in Batubulan, Bali. In 1995, he continued his art education at ISI Denpasar, until he graduated. Apart from painting, he also makes installation art, plays music, and writes poetry. Bonuz has exhibited many of his abstract-style paintings.
Solo Exhibition List
2022 Sound of The Mountain. Komaneka Gallery.
2020 Samasisi at Orbital Dago art gallery and kafe. Bandung.
2019 Soundsibility at Komaneka Gallery, Ubud Bali
2019 Lyrical Abstraction at Hadiprana Gallery, Jakarta.
2018 A Land to Remember. Santrian Gallery, Sanur Bali
2017 Tetabuhan-Tatabumi, Bidadari Art Space. Mas,Ubud-Bali
1015 Because Life is Delicious at Kubu Art Space. Lodtunduh, Ubud.
2014 Magic Sound at Maya Galerry. Singapore.
2013 Be Happy, water color paintings at Sand Fine Art Gallery. Sanur-Bali.
2012 Harmony, at Rumah Seni Maestro Art Space. Sanur-Bali
2011 Inside of Bonuz at Tony Raka Gallery. Mas, Ubud-Bali
2011 Refleksi Nafas, at Hitam-Putih art Space. Sangeh-Bali.
2008 Pleading Life’s Tenacity at Kemang Village. Jakarta.
2006 Journey of the Soul at Relish Café and Pool. Jakarta.
2003 Esensi Abstrak at Art Centre Denpasar. Bali.
2003 Universal Spirit at Jenggala Keramik Jimbaran. Bali.
2000 Melintas Batas at Merah-Putih Forum. Denpasar Bali.
A Conversation with Putu Bonuz Sudiana
There have been quite a few conversations with different people, where they ask me, what is our area of specialty? as a gallery? what type of art? and you could say that is a reasonable question. The most reasonable question to ask a gallery. What type of art do we specialise in? I am at a loss to answer Because it is in everything around us. Perhaps it is not the artworks that we specialise in.. it is in the relationships we build with our community and the artists within it. Their thoughts, feelings and experiences enrich our appreciation of art.
A Little About Art and a Lot About Life
When a person is good at reading characters, it is perhaps the same as reading art. Perhaps understanding people is like understanding the journey for abstraction.
An Artists’ Colours and Nusa Penida
“I come from an island called Nusa Penida. This island is known for its hardness, an environment that has to be strong to survive. Where I come from perhaps contributes in a significant way to these preferences of colour, and my expression as an artist. I like dark colours because I see them as an expression of strength. My character is not dissimilar. I identify with this hardness, a form of aggressive expression. When I see black, I like it it is a long-standing preference. I do challenge myself in my work and use different colours, raising it to be perhaps brighter or softer. But in most cases, my work evolves and naturally becomes darker with lines that are aggressive and bolder.”
“Our beliefs manifest within abstraction, I believe in life you need this strength, boldness and at times aggression, you need this for survival. The strength of dark lines marks a point of survival. Perhaps this is one of the key beliefs of my consciousness that I am expressing there.”Putu Bonuz Sudiana
Abstraction an Elemental Visual Language
“It always still comes back to our daily experiences. The lives we live day to day. I love Nature. I do not like people cutting down big trees for instance. My background in my village is a big influence on me, so when I am painting it is always about nature. Abstraction in my way of thinking is natural elements. A way of expressing elemental forces within our lives. When I have tried to express this elemental energy in a more figurative way or even verbally, the wildness of the power is not captured. It is through abstract expression that I feel it is captured.”
A Process of Searching
“When I began to paint it was not abstract.. but even though there were figures. There were already signs of abstraction. When I draw figures it is for me also abstract. Abstraction is our way of connecting what we see to our imagination.”Putu Bonuz Sudiana
Putu Bonuz Sudiana’s abstract expressionism is immediately identifiable through its energy. Powerful, dynamic, fluid all of which are part of the element of aggression the artist speaks of, tempered through his visual language. Though he is most known for his abstract work, it would be remiss to categorically restrict him within this segment. He is an artist whose scope is wide with equal boldness in other forms even as they veer drastically away from abstraction.
Outside of Abstraction
Putu Bonuz’s creative energy is voracious and is exercised often and routinely. Making him a prolific artist with multi-disciplinary contributions through music, poetry, illustrations and figurative expressionist works. Within these other forms, you can say his works carry social, spiritual and cultural commentaries that swing between deep reflection, whimsical humour and satirical criticism.
Image: Pig on the Rise (‘Babi Naik Daun’) by Putu Bonuz Sudiana
Within abstraction, he journals the elemental forces in his life and creates powerful visual poetry. Outside of abstraction reveals a side of the artist that is engaged within the social context of his surroundings. Speaking through his art far more succinctly. In witty repartee with contemporary issues and witty social banter.
A Natural Satirist
Putu Bonuzs’ social conscientiousness finds voice at times humorously, pointing out ironies within the controversial topics that arise across our social and political landscape of Indonesia. However, mindful of boundaries, and possesses a principle of diplomacy whereby art may be a vessel of commentary to pose questions but is mindful not to incite division.
This balanced consideration of arts’ consequence is also one that makes his private works a necessary part of his creative folio when we look at the art of Putu Bonuz. Because it is here that we see a more complete representation of who he is as an artist. What is left unsaid and what remains hidden reveals the balance of the artist’s intellectual process that merges with his intuitive creative one.
An artist who understands the landscape of art not only within his private process but also in its place within a political and social landscape.
Image: What Did I Do Wrong? (‘Aku Salah Apa si?) by Putu Bonuz Sudiana
A Sidenote, Nagas and Boars
Amongst some of Putu Bonuz recurring figurative themes, there are a few that stand out. The subject of Nagas and Boars are prominent across decades of his artistic portfolio.
About Nagas… “Sapta Patala is the seven levels of the underworld and Sapta Loka is the seven layers of the world above. This is something described within Hindu Cosmology. The Nagas are in the deep layers of Nature and when they move, this causes earthquakes and changes in Nature. Naga is iconic in Bali. Visually the Naga of Bali is static whilst those of Chinese traditions are more dynamic and fluid. Looking back, I’ve always been drawn to the Naga visually. Because I was drawn to it, it inspired me to read and learn more. Perhaps this is what they call love without cause.”
About Boars... “Why do I like to paint pigs? This is likely from where I come from. I am a member of the Tutuan people. Our people, when we have our cremation ceremony (Ngaben) we use the wild boar, Bawi Srenggi as the shape of the transport that carries our spirit. This is a characteristic of our village. There is an avatar of Lord Vishnu that is in the shape of the wild boar and this is our vessel that carries us on the last rites of cremation to the next life.”
Simplicity of Ink carries the Complexity of All
Despite being most prolific in his abstract work, Putu Bonuz has a long standing devotion to the simplicity of black ink. These works in ink are perhaps what I consider the most enigmatic.
Throughout many of the artist’s illustrations and works in ink, there is also a leap into a visual style that bears classical Balinese tones. The traditional resonance of his cultural roots is the last but not least of the stylistic deviations we can recognise away from his popular abstract style. And it is in these works that I find the unity most complete of the many sides of Putu Bonuz’s art. It is where abstraction meets figurative, where ancient meets modern, complexity is simplified and the mysteries of the spiritual are made tangible.
Putu Bonuz and Batu 8 Studio
Putu Bonuz established his own studio gallery, called Batu 8. The concept behind Batu 8 Studio is founded on the importance of the creative process. A studio is where artists create and develop their processes. Which is why it is not named mainly as a gallery. The first exhibition we held here was amongst friends. For over 3 days we gathered and created art together and exhibited what we made together. That was the first concept and it is still my concept today. The vision of Batu 8 Studio, and the purpose of its existence is to contribute and connect to the young generation of artists emerging and be part of the support that will help creativity flourish.
The Meaning Behind Batu 8
Batumulapan is a village in Nusa Penida. It translates to ‘Rock 8’. Batu 8 carries represents strenth and longevity. I gave the name Batu 8 in honour of my home as well as in the hope that we will have the blessing of Nature to have strength and longevity.
Image: Putu Bonuz in Batu 8 Studio
Batu 8 Studio provides its space for solo and group exhibitions by a wide range of visual and performance artists.
Batu 8 Studio is located at Pondok Batu Alam, Blok Nusa Lembongan No. 2, Jl. Pasekan, Batubulan, Kec. Sukawati, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80582
The Brightness of Black
A special collection of works by Putu Bonuz Sudiana.