Although he began painting as early as the 1980s, dancer, choreographer and environmental activist Sardono Kusumo committed himself fully to the craft only in the early 2000s. His painting style is strongly influenced by his own highly expressive physical habits, informed by his well-trained dancer’s body and a 50-year career in dance. Today, in an exceptional transformation in his life, he paints more than dances.
Sardono, who started training as a dancer when he was eight years old, explains: “Painting is related to the way I trained as a dancer. I use big-frame canvases and lift them to make the paint go up and down or dance. I don't make visuals. It is more about understanding the paints, the oils and not just the finished product hanging in a museum.”
His expansive moves, muscular strength as well as expressive hands and fingers often give rise to a series of micro-movements, much like vibrations. Sardono uses these movements to produce abstract expressionistic paintings, using a rhythmic spectrum of paints and colours dripping down in vivid lines and textures.
The result: large-scale paintings, ranging in length from three to 20 metres that are the quintessence of visual motion. This includes the 2x20m abstract painting of the 2004 Asian tsunami’s devastation on Indonesia’s Aceh province.
Reminiscent of Jackson Pollock yet totally original, this encounter with the master choreographer himself, staged within the magnificent, intimate compound of the well-sited Malay Heritage Centre, is a sublime experience not to be missed.
Commissioned by Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA).