Teddy & Me

Harper's Bazaar Art (Indonesia) - - In Memoriam - By Wenny Pra­mesti

Fri­day, 27th of May 2016, pre­cisely at 07.45 P.M., S. Teddy Dar­mawan, a fine artist from Yo­gyakarta, was pro­nounced passed away in Re­gional Pub­lic Hos­pi­tal of Se­marang.

He fi­nally gave him­self out of his cancer for the last four years.

The news on S. Teddy Dar­mawan death gave a deep sad­ness among In­done­sian pain­ters. Yet, pre­vi­ously, in some years lately, it was known that Teddy had to go in and out of hos­pi­tal to cure his ill­ness. He also had to fly to Sin­ga­pore and was hos­pi­tal­ized for the sake of med­i­cal treat­ment, how­ever, when he had to strug­gle on his ill­ness, he still let him­self get pro­duc­tive at works. It seemed he was in a good con­di­tion and there was noth­ing to worry about him. He still kept his spirit up, in­stead. He ig­nored his con­di­tion which was get­ting

worst by al­ways spend­ing his time for cre­at­ing works.

Along his ca­reer in art, Teddy, who was born in Padang, West Su­mat­era, in 1970, had par­tic­i­pated ac­tively in paint­ing ex­hi­bi­tion and in­stal­la­tion abroad. He had staged his works in France, Hong Kong, China, Switzer­land, Italy, Nether­lands, Ger­many, and Ja­pan. Some of his works and par­tic­i­pa­tion were noted, such as in Lud­wig Art­work Fo­rum, Aachen, Ger­many (2000), Mu­seum of Fash­ion­able Art­work in Tokyo, Ja­pan (2008), and his mon­u­men­tal in­stal­la­tion “The Tem­ple (Love Tank)” in Sin­ga­pore Art­work Mu­seum (2010). Not to men­tion, an­other mon­u­men­tal in­stal­la­tion en­ti­tled “Be­yond the Self: Con­tem­po­rary Por­trai­ture from Asia” was pub­licly un­veiled in Na­tional

Por­trait Gallery, Can­berra, Aus­tralia (2011) and Wall­works Ga­lerie in Paris, France (2011).

The last work of Teddy be­fore he passed away was a paint­ing un­der Bud­dha’s char­ac­ter­i­za­tion. The paint­ing with a blood-red back­ground por­trayed an im­agery of Si­darta Gau­tama who was closely em­brac­ing Teddy. Teddy named his work as “I Made a Friend with Bud­dha since Long Time Ago.” Be­sides his paint­ing un­der Bud­dha’s theme, he also cre­ated mini work art un­der self-por­trait theme in col­lab­o­ra­tion with other artists, Yus­toni Vol­un­teero, To­h­jaya Tono, and Bob “Sick” Yu­ditha, who were known as his best mates. Teddy asked each of them to pro­vide 25 can­vases in size 30 x 40 cen­time­ters. He also claimed that this col­lab­o­ra­tive art would be the most world-fa­mous work. Even though the cancer was get­ting vi­cious, Teddy worked very hard to pro­duce 21 paint­ings which were suc­cess­fully ex­hib­ited in Syang Art­work Room Mage­lang, Cen­tral Java two months ago. His paint­ing ex­hi­bi­tion un­der self­por­trait was en­ti­tled “Grants Turn­ing Yel­low”. His last ex­hi­bi­tion in Mage­lang with his three best-mates, Yus­toni Vol­un­teero, To­h­jaya Tono, and Bob “Sick Yu­ditha, was as­sisted by A. Anzieb, a best mate of Teddy, as the Cu­ra­tor.

Teddy was an artist who fan­ta­sized his works ‘be­yond your wildest dream’ – if it was not sup­posed to say ‘be­ing so wild’. He did not be­long to those who fol­lowed the usual path of aes­thet­ics to pro­duce cre­ativ­ity. His ‘wild’ soul truly ran wild. Spend­ing time in col­lege un­der Art depart­ment fo­cus­ing on paint­ing could never stop him ex­plor­ing other medium for his works. Fur­ther­more he lately took much con­cern on sculp­ture and in­stal­la­tion arts. This con­cern has led him to cre­ate a Tv-shaped sculp­ture made of sed­i­men­tary rock which was derived from Gu­nung Kidul. He stretched his Tv-shaped sculp­tures in a row on the sand. His Tv-shaped sculp­tures were not just some­thing mean­ing­less - stood up as the way they were; they im­plied mean­ing, in­stead. To him, those sculp­tures im­plied a satir­i­cal mes­sage how mod­ern peo­ple changed them­selves eas­ily as a sculp­ture when

they had been sit­ting in front of their tele­vi­sion.

Teddy to­gether with his class­mates in In­sti­tute of In­done­sia Art (ISI) in 1992 – Ugo Un­toro and Bob “Sick” Yu­ditha, car­ried on a breath of fresh air in fine art. They broke down the ex­isted rule of the pre­vi­ous artist by which most lay­men be­lieved in. Teddy said he turned out his choice since he did not want to go with the flow of the sur­re­al­ism and ex­pres­sion­ism which were boom­ing at that time. This all showed what Teddy was like – he never stopped ex­plor­ing ideas and dis­cov­er­ing some­thing fresh in art. Now, Teddy might just re­main a mem­ory, yet his spirit at arts should be highly ap­pre­ci­ated and con­sid­ered as an in­flu­en­tial in­spi­ra­tion that lasts long.

Bear­ing you by pil­grim­age to grit… good bye, Teddy.

“Ok, Ted ... ... en­joy the jour­ney ..... we can bear any­time by our pil­grim­age to grit...”

“In terms of phys­i­cal, ap­pear­ance, and char­ac­ter, Teddy seemed “wild” and spon­ta­neous. How­ever, apart from this view, he was well-known for his courage in do­ing ev­ery­thing, es­pe­cially the way how he made the artis­tic break­through. He trans­ferred a great en­ergy, de­voted him­self with a high to­tal­ity, and did ev­ery­thing se­ri­ously in driv­ing his ‘soul’ as his artis­tic ride. These had some­what made him full of var­i­ous theme and medium within his works.

In his works, he mostly por­trayed var­i­ous themes from the triv­ial one to the hard­est ones… high­light­ing fam­ily re­la­tion­ship, daily ac­tiv­ity in con­nec­tion to the sur­round­ing en­vi­ron­ment. Fur­ther­more, he also brought up so­cio-po­lit­i­cal is­sues in na­tional up to in­ter­na­tional scale. Per­son­ally, Teddy was a car­ing per­son. He al­ways put oth­ers be­fore him­self, both for the ones he was emo­tion­ally at­tached and the ones who were not. He was stern, firm… and in­flex­i­ble…, yet re­gard­less to these char­ac­ters, Teddy did ev­ery­thing with love and peace… and his in­ner-per­son­al­ity had in­evitably in­flu­enced his works. As a re­sult ev­ery­thing he pre­sented through his works sensed peace and love…

He was good at get­ting along with ev­ery­one. He be­longed to the one ac­tive and un­will­ing to do noth­ing… that is why he might en­counter many great things, es­pe­cially in term of so­cial in­ter­course. Teddy and I had been friends for more or less twenty years. I did not know what made us this close to each other. I guess it was due to our cul­ture of ori­gin (I am from Jepara and Teddy was from Kudus). Be­sides, both of us had the same spirit, goal, and par­a­digm at arts. He was a fine artist and I am a writer – this in­ter­re­la­tion led us to keep up our dis­cus­sion in line with­out be­ing the one who knows it-all. Both of us never felt su­pe­rior to oth­ers, yet, we com­pleted each other, in­stead. It's a bit dif­fi­cult to tell or de­scribe how our re­la­tion built up as this close­ness lay in our emo­tion.” “Re­gard­less know­ing him as the one who hit the bot­tle, I have a good thing to tell you about him. Teddy was very po­lite when speak­ing pri­vately. He was like my own brother. I used to visit him when I was in Yo­gya. He was a very creative and strong fine artist. He kept par­tic­i­pat­ing in col­or­ing the devel­op­ment of In­done­sian con­tem­po­rary fine art.”

“Teddy was firm, stern, and had child-like soul which en­cour­aged him to be some­one cu­ri­ous at ev­ery­thing. How­ever, his such char­ac­ters of­ten missed him out since not ev­ery­one could ac­cept or un­der­stand him.”

“Teddy deemed ev­ery­one in any kind of pro­fes­sion as his rel­a­tive. On one side, he was funny and hi­lar­i­ous, while on the other one he was so crit­i­cal and smart. He was also a com­mu­nal one while fac­ing per­sonal prob­lems even his in­ter­est in art. Our re­la­tion could last long since we had the same sense in ex­press­ing the soul of arts. We al­ways con­nected arts to­gether with re­li­gion, pol­i­tics, and ide­ol­ogy as well. Teddy was the one who put re­spect to those who up­held in­tegrity in cre­at­ing works.” “Cre­ativ­ity - that was Teddy’s strong point. He was great at in­ter­pret­ing a com­pli­cated thing into the pre­cisely sim­plest one.teddy and I ad­mired each other a lot. He was amaz­ing, crazy, smart, and per­fect at cre­at­ing arts. What I learned from him was all about tenac­ity, spirit to cre­ate works in what­ever con­di­tion, in­clud­ing dur­ing his ill­ness till his last time. I was amazed at his ‘out of the box’ cre­ativ­ity and his skill in pro­cess­ing ma­te­rial, his de­tail in list­ing and doc­u­ment­ing, and ex­actly his mis­chievous­ness. That unique­ness united us; we of­ten met and worked to­gether. Not to men­tion due to his great per­for­mance, I used to in­volve him when I got an idea to form a band and held per­for­mance to­gether. Due to this all, we of­ten or­ga­nized an event to stage our works as well. He was my best part­ner in bad crime, good thing, do­ing thing, and now he left me alone. I still re­mem­ber how he called me as messy, too ide­al­is­tic, trou­ble­maker, ig­no­rant, crazy, in­sane, to­tally mad guy, and to me it was all about his com­pli­ment. Hon­estly all those miss­ing things grieved me over him, I was still speech­less and even could not believe that he was no longer with me now…

I badly miss him.

I could clearly re­mem­ber the last time we had a tight de­bate. At that time we planned to pub­licly un­veil our works, yet in the last min­utes Teddy changed his con­cept. I was ter­ri­bly an­gry. He also kept his stance and de­bated me back. Fi­nally I had to ad­mit that I fol­lowed some of his ideas. I per­suaded him… how­ever he also some­how agreed and went with my idea even he ad­mit­ted its ex­is­tence. If only I had known that it was my last meet­ing and my last ex­hi­bi­tion with him, I would have never de­bate him that bad.

I never think that Teddy was gone, left me here. I al­ways say to my­self that he is now in Jakarta or may be go­ing some­where.”

“To me, Teddy was an avant-garde fine artist, specif­i­cally in In­done­sian mod­ern-fine art. If only he had taken a role as a cu­ra­tor, he would have been the top one. No­body could change his po­si­tion. His spirit will al­ways stay in our heart, his best part­ners. If I was asked to de­scribe about Teddy, I would say that he was Pi­casso of In­done­sia.”

Ed­die Hara-fine Artist From left to the right: To­h­jaya Tono, S Teddy,

Bob "Sick" Yu­ditha & Yus­toni Vol­un­teero

Ugo Un­toro-fine Artist

A. Anzieb-cur­ra­tor & Writer

Bob “Sick” Yu­ditha-fine Artist

To­h­jaya Tono-fine Artist

Yus­toni Vol­un­teero-fine Artist

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