The Kayu-Kayu Gallery is the result of close collaboration between Balinese art lover Tri Susila and Italian architect Giovanni D’Ambrosio. The aim was not only to form an exhibition space for presenting beautiful works by contemporary Balinese artists but also to achieve an environment that is an exhibition in itself.
D’Ambrosio worked primarily with two sets of elements: slatted teak backdrops and geometric forms. In counterpoint to these features and poised within the contemporary arena, the black-painted floor-to-ceiling bamboo poles are a cultural reference to the ecology of the island. Both groups of components work together to set off the traditional art pieces-pliant Balinese sculptures and eye-catching Indonesian paintings- to the full. The finished gallery is a remarkable fusion of a skilfully designed modern setting and the intense sinuosity of the wooden Balinese artwork.
The visitor is immediately conscious, as he enters at the entrance, of a fantastic fusion of the modern setting of the place with the intense plasticity of the traditional Balinese figures created by the Indonesian artists. The blend of broken yellow and green stone pieces, in the floors, and white stone in the walls, creates an appealing contemporary backdrop for the sinuous pieces of supple wood art. Ahead, a big sculpture representing the Hindu deity, Dewi Ratih, by I Ketut Gelidih was carved from the root of a frangipani tree. Against the back wall is a painting of a mystic figure by Balinese painter I Made Djirna.
A backdrop of multiple colours and contrasting shapes and textures grabs at the senses-spotted yellow of the wall in the foreground, warm brown of the slatted panel against the back, green of the stone used in the flooring, straw colour of the mat, and white of the stone walls. Taking centre stage is a sculpture by Balinese artist Wayan Subrata. In the foreground, the arching forms of a dancing figure by Balinese sculpture Mangku Wetja gives the viewer pause.
Cleverly positioned black bamboo poles create attention-grabbing detail and set off the artworks on display. Against the slatted wooden back wall is a painting of three ladies (partially shown in the picture) by Nyoman Sukari (Karangsem, 1968), while on left is an amazing figure of a dancer by Balinese sculptor Mangku Wetja. The eye is then drawn to the two wall niches, which hold two small Wayan Pudja sculptures in bentawas wood, from Bali.
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