Teddy & Me
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