Nyoman Sujana Kenyem

The Ultimate High

Nyoman Sujana Kenyem – one of Bali emerging painters that holds a resilience of his own in dealing with the change of time. He does not inertly reside in the traditional space, but neither dose he merge himself totally into the ‘spirit of his era’. For Kenyem, creativity is not a rigid option for a complete and ultimate identity of a creation! He is flowing in the track that he tries to create which is evident in the uniqueness of his paintings.

This solo exhibition coincides with the 8th anniversary of Philo Art Space on 9th September 2013. It is such a delightful unison. To hold an exhibition is a convergent of ideas, vision, and imagination. Philo Art Space, that focuses on urban culture issues, is warmly welcomed by Kenyem, though he at first seemed to be a bit timid as he considered himself not a person that is not totally drenched in such culture.

Practically, Kenyem indeed does not touch the issues daily, but he is not that far away. As a figure that lives and was raised in Ubud – Bali, Kenyem is experiencing a unique cultural ambiance. Ubud represents a condition that is ‘everything there is’: traditional, modern, super-modern, quiet, calm, glittering, brown, yellow, white, black, et cetera. Ubud is a cultural condition that is beyond definition.

In his exhibited paintings, Kenyem expresses the threshold phenomenon between the urban world icons such as building jutting at the skies and big, tall trees as icon of the ‘noble savage’ (the awe-inspiring wild cosmos), between city and village, between progression and calmness, and the likes.

The uniqueness of Kenyem icons are themselves like active figures: small flower, sun, moon, hill, mountain, street from which we can sense the presence of nature. Specifically, these icons take us to the realm of ‘subconscious’ as they are confronted with the construction of modern consciousness that is presented as order of high-rise building to illustrate the urban people superego.

In his paintings, Kenyem expresses his admiration for the urban phenomenon while also inserting subtle criticism. Kenyem aesthetic can be seen from the obsession of urban people with ‘height’ which actually is a part of life realm mystery: the moon, sun, mountain, et cetera. Such obsession is obviously the depiction of urban people ambition to flaunt ‘height’ as daily issues that may be considered as ‘the power’ to control life as a whole.
Height as obsession or superego of urban people? How can we explain this? Urban people are perhaps no longer care about origins as they can easily break a problem link as they are threatened by the complexity of such problem that appears in front of them. From tender age they are faced with a variety of properties to own, and it was not easy to own them without having to pass certain struggle.

However, height is a concept that refers to the competition to achieve ‘the ultimate high’. Modernity is triggering such competition though a narration of human history which eventually will end at the perfection point where they find ‘the absolute self’. ‘Absolute self’ may only materialize in a relation amongst other selves that form a society, whether based on location or not. City becomes a representation of social relation where their citizens come from various places and with their own hopes. And it is the place where all those hopes converge into an obsession to reach the highest place driven by superego, that we then call ‘city’ of the urban people.

Some of Kenyem’s paintings display the un-avoided urbanization: how the awe of a city with its high-rises represents a part of our own psychology that beckons us. But perhaps, it is a part of our potential self that accuses us of being an underdeveloped person unless we pursue our dream in the city.

City is made of a variety of existences that do not touch each other, as with the movement of particle without door (monad), but on the other hand, the city is presenting strong communities which to Kenyem, these communities are the place to hang hopes from the remains of the spirit of solidarity to reach the highest. Thus the spirit of solidarity that is generally considered irrelevant in urban setting as it is seen as a typical rural spirit is presented here boldly, and indeed it is worth to be noticed.

Kenyem seems to be optimistic that the glam of a city indeed offers promises that may very well channel our potentials to reach the ultimate high, but we must be also aware that, our own subconscious realm which holds the wild nature that is astonishing as well, is a condition that attaches to us and become a part of our existence, be it urban or rural people. Remember, the concrete jungle of a city is only an extension of a jungle with its trees. The most important thing is to have the self awareness that the spearing superego has the subconscious as its base.
Happy exhibiting, Kenyem!

Tommy F Awuy


Curriculum Vitae

Born 9 September 1972 in Sayan, Ubud, Gianyar Bali
Studied at STSI Denpasar (1998)

The Best Artwork Tugas Akhir STSI Denpasar
The Best Painting Kamasra Prize, STSI Denpasar

Solo Exhibitions

Highest, Philo Art Space, Jakarta, Indonesia
G13 Gallery, Kelana Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

The Bicycle Diaries, Komaneka Art Gallery, Ubud, Bali

Embracing Nature’s Poem, Ganesha Gallery, Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay

The Bridges of Nature, D’Peak Art Space, Singapore

Symphony of Life, Kemang Village, Jakarta

Fulmoon in Bali, Sawah Art Gallery, Singapore

Heading for the Heart’s Way, Gaya Fusion of Senses, Ubud, Bali
The Art of Nyoman Sujana ‘Kenyem’, Montiq Art Gallery, Jakarta

Dance of Life, Conrad Bali Resort & Spa, Nusa Dua, Bali
The Abstraction of Leaves, Jenggala Gallery, Jimbaran Bali

Leafscape, Danes Art Veranda, Denpasar, Bali
Moving with in the Shadow, Ganesha Gallery, Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay

Galeri Nakita Stockholm, Swedia

Group Exhibitions
The Arts Island Festival, BatuBelah ArtSpace, Klungkung, Bali
Sprites Art Project, Kintamani, Bali
The Straight Contour, Kupu-kupu Artspace, Jimbaran Corner, Bali

MahaArt Gallery, Denpasar
Gallery 7Adam, Singapore
Bersyukur Kita Tunggal Ika, Hadiprana Gallery, Jakarta
Sudamala: An Artistic Journey, Sudakara ArtSpace, Sudamala Suies & Villas, Sanur, Bali
Artists Museum Weeks, BatuBelah Art Space, Klungkung
On Going Echoes#3, Myanmar-Indonesia Art Exchange, Cemara 6 Gallery, Jakarta
Dialogue II, Gaya Art Space, Ubud, Bali

JakartaBienalle, Jakarta
Dialogue, G13 Gallery, Kelana Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
Bertiga, Ambiente, Jakarta
Abstract Moment, Galeri Elcanna, Jakarta
On Going Echoes#2, Myanmar-Indonesia Art Exchange, Tanah Tho Gallery, Ubud, Bali
Bali Making Choices, Mondecor, Jakarta
Nusantara di Atas Kanvas, Bank Mandiri Denpasar & Jakarta

Solitude of the Earth II, Bentara Budaya Bali
MindScape, Galeri Nasional Indonesia, Jakarta
Solitude of the Earth, Bentara Budaya Yogyakarta
Beijing International Art Biennale, Beijing, China
Integritas Jiwa Tampak, Bentara Budaya Bali
On Going Echoes#1, Myanmar-Indonesia Art Exchange, New Zero Art Space, Yangon, Myanmar
Return to the Abstraction, Toniraka Art Gallery, Ubud Bali

Apa Ini Apa Itu, Djagad Art House, Lepang, Klungkung, Bali
Ar(t)iculations, Hanna Art Space, Ubud, Bali
Bentara Budaya Bali
Gallery M, Daegu, Korea
Sampoerna Strategic Square, Jakarta
Borderless World, Srisasanti Gallery, Yogyakarta

Silent Celebration, Toniraka Gallery, Ubud, Bali
Ahimsa, Bentara Budaya Jakarta
Bali Art Now, Jogja Gallery, Yogyakarta
Pada Sebuah Pesta, V-Gallery, Yogyakarta
Entitas Nurani, Art Center, Denpasar, Bali
Green, Sanur Village Festival, Denpasar, Bali

Ar[t]mosphere, Sanur Village Festival, Denpasar, Bali
Global Warming Kunstkamera, GWK, Jimbaran, Bali

Reconsculture, ARMA Museum, Ubud, Bali
Change Seasons, Komaneka Art Gallery, Ubud, Bali

Pre-Bali Biennale, Raka Gallery, Ubud, Bali
Bali Biennale, Danes Art Veranda, Denpasar, Bali
Art Singapore 2005

Tree of Life, Sembilan Gallery, Ubud, Bali
Dasa Muka, ARMA Museum, Ubud, Bali

TAI-Black, STSI Denpasar
Canna Gallery, Jakarta

Puri Lukisan Museum, Ubud, Bali

Kuta News, Titik Dua Building, Denpasar, Bali
Jenggala Ceramic, Jimbaran, Bali
Sembilan Gallery, Ubud, Bali
Bali Art Contemporary, Bentara Budaya, Jakarta

Plawa Bali Resto, Sanur
Face from the Mount, Sidik Jari Museum, Denpasar
Reflection II, Darga Gallery, Sanur, Bali
Five Painters, Ina Gallery, Jakarta

Tiga Nam Gallery, Ubud, Bali
Mandala of Life III, Purnabudaya, Yogyakarta
7 Painters Bali, Cipta II Gallery, TIM, Jakarta
Three Painters, Komaneka Gallery, Ubud, Bali

Canbera, Australia
Duo Sujana, Novotel, Tanjung Benoa, Bali
Bali Hyatt, Sanur, Bali
Mandala of Life II, Art Centre, Denpasar, Bali
Abstract Festival, Duta Fine Art, Jakarta
Reflection I, Darga Gallery, Sanur, Bali

Bali Art Festival XIX, Bali Art Centre, Denpasar, Bali

Mandala of Life I, Sika Art Gallery, Ubud, Bali
Three City, Monas, Jakarta

Expo 95, Jakarta
Nyoman Gunarsa Fine Art Museum, Klungkung, Bali
TATA Ubud, Bali
Peksiminas III, Jakarta

Sidik Jari Museum, Denpasar, Bali
Bali Art Festival XVI, Bali Art Centre, Denpasar, Bali

STSI Denpasar
Peksiminas II, STSI Denpasar, Bali

Art Centre, Denpasar, Bali