DAYDREAMS TO MATTER :
The Artist and the Creative Process
Arkiv Vilmansa’s solo exhibition, Reachable Distance, Vivi Yip Gallery, Jakarta (Indonesia) October 2011 Reachable Distance marks the evolutionary process of Arkiv Vilmansa, where he reaches
artistic landmarks that had previously only beckon from a distance. In his latest solo show, Vilmansa’s works display an innate understanding of historical time; as he notes, “These are really the paintings of our generation”.
An artwork is a product of its era. Time and place frame the work, sparking its inital idea, nurturing its many transformations until that idea solidifies and turns into form. This spatio-temporal frame implies that the work is a historical being: it is a living being, breathing and vibrating, intimately entwined with the pulsations of its era. Through experiencing time and place, we make sense of our everyday world, a world full of forgotten images. The everyday is a container filled with overlooked mental images: dreams, memories, reveries. Unlike dreaming, daydreams are anchored firmly to the actual: in order to daydream, we must be fully ‘awake’. Tied to the real world but goes beyond it, daydreams are both real and unreal. This paradoxical nature of daydreams is its richness. For Arkiv Vilmansa, the creative process begins with daydreaming. It is where his cartoon figures come from, before they inhabit the world of matter, of canvases, brushes and paints.
Looking at his paintings, can we still say that daydreams and reveries are mere escapism, incapable of leaving a mark on our everyday world? Vilmansa’s works scream ‘no’. Escaping the real, journeying to the unreal, only to return to that initial world, daydreams leave powerful impressions that lead Vilmansa to put a dot in that canvas, turn those dots into sinuous lines, and enliven them with bold, brazen colours. From daydreams to matter; from childhood fascination with cartoons to artworks that succesfully capture the vitality and unapologetic surreality of popular culture.
An artwork responds to an era by telling us of the artist’s own history. In Vilmansa’s paintings, past endeavours as an architect and a graphic designer reveal themselves clearly. The present never stray far away from the past. An earlier interest in vector graphics manifest itself in energetic curves that now signify his style. It is the mark of an artist evolving in a significant way, when traces of his past are plainly visible in his current work.
His new treatment of colour also reflects this evolution. A single image of a butterfly that is rendered in five different colours, and the peacock painted in different shades of grey – never before used in Vilmansa’s previous works – represent the artist exploring his media. If evolution is shaped by experimentation, then it is clear that Vilmansa is fast on his way to creative progress.
Reachable Distant is an impressive achievement, a collection that boldly shows Vilmansa’s relationship to time as an artist. By drawing inspiration from the time that he lives in, Vilmansa takes pride in the era that makes him, which, as his works show, is also an era of his own making.
Jakarta, 17 Oktober 2011
Published: October 27, 2011