Monday, 6 December 2010

Bite 5: I Wayan Atjin Tisna - Loss of Innocence, 1976

Loss of Innocence, 1976, oil on canvas, 57 x 62 cm
Balinese artist I Wayan Atjin Tisna reimagines Füssli's The Nightmare (c. 1781), a nude dusky maiden reclining diagonally across the picture plane, the figures of her dreamings appearing around her.

While she may be dreaming of romance, the flames and fondling couple referencing her growing passions and burgeoning emotions (following her 'loss of innocence'), the dark pits of her eyes and the winged-lion (a royal symbol) suggest something more sinister. The horse, associated with the erotic in Hinduism, leaving the frame drawing a chariot, brings with it connotations of warfare and death.

Arms pulled back, the figure is presented available to the viewer, sleeping and vulnerable. Her right arm, however, becomes a wild blur at her hand, indicating something untamed within her, a force she has not yet come to terms with.

The combination of elements, however, remains mysterious, and although the idealised nude female comes from an, arguably chauvinistic, art historical traditional, it is the subject's thought-life which is the main theme here - one populated by strange creatures and unmentionable acts.

Suteja Neka & Garrett Kim, The Development of Painting in Bali, Neka Art Museum, 2000.