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Born June 1971
Talawi, West Sumatra
Movement Jendela

Yunizar[1] (born June 1971) is an Indonesian artist. He was born in Talawi, West Sumatra, Indonesia. He graduated in 1999 with a degree in Fine Arts from Indonesian Institute of the Arts, Yogyakarta (ISI), a school of national pride and the heart of progressive art-making in Indonesia. Creativity and change are the forefront of the school's agenda and this is evident in Yunizar's work ethic. Yunizar's training reveals itself in his sophisticated expressive style, articulated through a playful composition and subtle palette. Executed primarily in acrylic and pencil, his works stand out in terms of texture, colour, brushwork and rhythm. A restrained palette of cool colours- yellows, browns and greens- is deliberately dirtied and smudged in his working and reworking of the canvas. The result is a highly tactile work that entices the viewer to feel the piece.

Born a Minang, Yunizar felt at home at Yogyakarta and decided to remain in the city with his wife and children after graduation.[2] There, he co-founded the Jendela Art Group, Jendela which means window in Bahasa Indonesian, together with his Minang peers namely Handiwirman Saputra, Jumaldi Alfi, Yusra Martunus and Rudi Mantofani. Jendela Art Group is Indonesia's most prominent contemporary art collective and has participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions in Indonesia, Hong Kong and Singapore. In 1995, he was awarded "Best Painting" from the Peksiminas lll Exhibition in Jakarta and in 1998, he was awarded "Top 10" from the highly prestigious Phillip Morris ASEAN Art Award V.

Yunizar's subjects are often close to his heart and everyday life, simple and recognizable. Yet beneath this simplicity lies a deeper theme. To a casual observer, his titles for his works may appear uninspired. But upon delving deeper, one will find that they often provide a hint of mystery to his portraits whilst adding an element of cynicism.[3] He[4] is a painter whose works may be described by an attempt to advance his preoccupation for still-life. Bottles, potted-cactus, apples and other elements are painted singly, and later reproduced in simplified outlines, eventually multiplying exponentially as minuscule elements on a vast canvas, as crammed two-dimensional landscapes choking on its own reproductive capacity. At other times he obliterates this multiplicity, displacing it with a single figure, or a head, unsmiling, disfigured and consumed by a sense of estrangement or exile. In a distinctive series Coretan (Marks), lines and markings are deployed as frantic utterance. Obfuscating and never declaring any form of intent. However, the sense of narrative is kept remaining in the fringes of the frame, is eternally held in anxious tension. One of Indonesia's most dynamic new artists, Yunizar[5] draws from a rich heritage to create images that evoke memories of dreams and myths as well as the mundane.


Catatan Pinggir (2007)
Bunga Silver II
White Scribblings

Yunizar spent his formative years at the Indonesian Institute of Arts in Yogyakarta.[6] This is a school of national pride and the heart of progressive art-making in Indonesia. Historically, Yogyakarta is the seat of traditional, global and popular fused in a fertile and stimulating environment, culminating in an art scene that is bold and original. Yunizar's training and maturity shines through with his palette make-up; faded colours, sun bleached and weather fatigued. The colours reflect his surroundings in Indonesia and remains a constant theme in his works. This restrained palette of yellows, browns and greens is juxtaposed with society's craving for all things new and bright. It hints at his desire to deconstruct the audience's notions of beauty, and how it is composed. For Yunizar, beauty in art comes through complex compositions that introduce different ways of perceiving things.

Preferring to play with empty spaces, his paintings carry his signature abstract style with a focus on texture that invites the viewer to reach out for a feel. He understands and manipulates materials, working primarily in acrylic and pencil, artfully building volume and anti-rhythm with his brushwork and setting forth impressions through contrast and lines, forms and colours.

Coretan: Recent Works by Yunizar Exhibition

Coretan, Yunizar's Solo Exhibition at the National University of Singapore Museum in 2008 became the cornerstone of the artist's signature style. The 'coretan' paintings, a series which began from the late 1990s, may be said to be frustratingly elusive, delightfully enigmatic. These works are composed of illegible scribbling, rendered in lines repeated across the canvas. The scribbling appears as fragments of text, a diarylike parchment of thoughts that struggles to find form or intelligible representation.[7]

The repetition and technique in scribbling marks a desire for meaning to be limitless in perspective. The spontaneous lines are a reflection of the artist's inhibition with the constricting form both text and image sometimes takes. The works are composed of illegible scribbling in lines across the canvas, appearing as fragments of text that struggles to find form or intelligent representation. Working with limited color, mostly monochromatic, his works reveal a play of lines and textures coming together to create clear rhythms and strong composition. The simplicity of visual elements within his works, according to Yunizar, is the result of a personal aesthetic judgment. He seeks beauty, especially in the trivial and in what is deemed by all else as useless and unimportant. To capture intuition and impulse, that is the great aim of the artist.

Also, there is a long history of oral traditions or Sastera Lisan within the Minangkabau culture. A need to seek narratives in its various forms has always been at the center of the pidato adat (ceremonial orations) which is at the heart of the Minangkabau culture. This is evident in the Coretan series, where the method space used is crucial to narrative. The position of poetic prose within the swirl of lines overwhelming the canvas belongs to a need to release self from the outlines of what has been constructed before. There is an unwillingness to allow the silence to form markers that leave the audience with a contained reading. Instead the abstraction acts as a sensation without an end.

Collaboration with Yogyakarta Art Lab

YAL is Gajah Gallery’s major initiative based in Yogyakarta; Indonesia’s up and coming art hub, co-founded in April 2012 by Yunizar, and Jasdeep Sandhu, owner of Gajah Gallery. Its first artistic collaboration was with Yunizar itself, the Lab was set up to reach out to all artists based in Indonesia.

While at YAL, Yunizar worked on a new project which included six pieces made of bamboo and banana leaf paper coated with a natural resin. The creation of Yunizar’s works utilized experimental production methods and new material and textural combinations, including molten-metal, thick paper (made by hand at YAL by Hungerford), as well as colors created with local materials, including dyes more commonly used in batik production. In the process of creating these works, Yunizar laid hot metal onto the thick pieces of hand-made natural paper, manipulating the fibers during the drying process, synthesizing the simple depictions of his everyday life in Indonesia with new elemental properties and visual textures. The result is a series of multi-textural works, two of which were presented at Art Stage Singapore 2013.[8]

Yunizar's most recent collaboration with Yogyakarta Art Lab saw him creating a series of bronze sculptures, which described by himself as a natural step to take in his artistic practice, to open up a new avenue for his creative expression.[9] These works were first showcased during his solo exhibition held at Gajah Gallery in November 2014. By harnessing the expertise and equipment rendered by YAL, Yunizar, alongside the technicians at YAL experimented with metal casting which took a considerable amount of time perfecting. The end product is a series of 2-sided bronze sculptures that capture the enigmatic canvas protagonist of the artist.

Yunizar, Pose Boedjang Ajam (Pose Playboy Rooster), 2014, Cast bronze, 102 x 30 x 166 cm


Selected Solo Exhibitions[edit]

Year Exhibition Venue Country
2014 Yunizar Solo Exhibition Gajah Gallery Singapore
2014 Yunizar Ben Brown Fine Arts London
2012 Yunizar: Story Ben Brown Fine Arts Hong Kong
2010 Jogja Psychedelia – Flowers from Yunizar[10] Gajah gallery Singapore
2007 Coretan – Recent Works by Yunizar[11] Gajah gallery Singapore
2006 Biasa Aja[12] Gajah gallery Singapore
2005 Reborn Sin Sin Fine Art Gallery Hong Kong
2002 Chouinard Gallery Hong Kong
2001 New Sensation Gajah Gallery[13] Singapore
2001 Exploring Spacing Mien Gallery Yogyakarta, Indonesia
2001 Room, Space & Wilderness Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Selected Group Exhibitions[edit]

Year Exhibition Venue Country
2014 Bazaar Art Jakarta The Ritz Carlton Pacific Place Ballroom Jakarta, Indonesia
2014 Pandora No. 2 OFCA International Yogyakarta, Indonesia
2014 Art Basel Hong Kong Hong Kong Convention and International Centre Hong Kong
2013 Seeing Paintings:Conversations Before The End Of History Sangkring Art Space Yogyakarta, Indonesia
2013 Lokanat Ground Zero Gajah Gallery Singapore
2013 Lokanat Ground Zero Lokanat Gallery Yangoon, Myanmar
2013 Art Stage Gajah gallery Singapore
2012 India Art Fair with Gajah Gallery New Delhi India
2011 Art Stage Gajah gallery Singapore
2009 Jogja Biennale X Yogyakarta Indonesia
2009 Jendela – A Play of the Ordinary NUS Museum Singapore
2006 Angkor-The Djin Within Gajah gallery Singapore
2006 Exhibition at Vanessa Art Link Gallery Jakarta, Indonesia
2005 CP-Open Biennale: Urban/culture Jakarta, Indonesia
2004 Merahnya Merah (How Red is Red) Nadi Gallery Jakarta Indonesia
2004 Object(ify) Nadi Gallery Jakarta, Indonesia
2004 Faces Chouinard Gallery Hong Kong
2003 Borobudur International Festival H.Widayat Museum Magelang, Indonesia
2002 Alfi-Yunizar-Mantofani Chouinard Gallery Hong Kong
2002 Indofood Art Awards National Museum Jakarta & ARMA Agung Rai Art Museum Bali, Indonesia
2001 Not Just Political H.Widayat Museum Magelang, Indonesia
2000 Indonesian Expressions Singapore
1999 From a Window, Group Exhibition of the JENDELAll Padma Gallery Bali, Indonesia


  • Jogja Psychedelia Flowers From Yunizar[14] (30 July-29 August 2010) Soemardja Gallery Faculty of Art and Design, Bandung Institute of Technology JL.G
  • Yunizar Diary 2010 (10 December 2009 – 10 January 2010) Gajah Gallery
  • JENDELA: A Play of the Ordinary [15] (5 March-19 April 2009) NUS Museum
  • Coretan Recent Works By Yunizar[16] (16 November – 9 December 2007) NUS Museum
  • Biasa Aja: A Solo Exhibition by Yunizar (19–29 October 2006) Gajah Gallery


  1. ^ "Yunizar Article by I–S". 22 November 2007. Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  2. ^ Gajah Gallery. Coretan: Recent Works by Yunizar. Gajah Gallery. p. 29. 
  3. ^ Gajah Gallery (October 2006). Yunizar: biasa aja. Gajah Gallery. p. 3. 
  4. ^ "YUNIZAR-Coretan" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  5. ^ "Yunizar" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  6. ^ "Yunizar: The Letters of expression" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  7. ^ "Foreword for Coretan: Recent Works by Yunizar Exhibition" (PDF). 
  8. ^ "Blouin ArtInfo: Yogya Art Lab to Debut at Art Stage Singapore" (PDF). 
  9. ^ Blouin Artinfo. "12 Questions for Indonesian Artist Yunizar". 
  10. ^ "Jogja Psychedelia – Flowers from Yunizar " Gajah Gallery". 29 August 2010. Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  11. ^ "Coretan – Recent Works by Yunizar " Gajah Gallery". 9 December 2007. Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  12. ^ "Yunizar – Biasa Aja " Gajah Gallery". 29 October 2006. Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  13. ^ Meyvi Widelia's Portfolio (22 November 2010). "Jogja Psychedelia". Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  14. ^ "Jendela" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  15. ^ "Coretan". Retrieved 2012-01-03.