Back

Subconscious Evolution

Subconscious Evolution

Subconscious Evolution, a solo exhibition by Indonesia-based artist Erizal As, highlights the artist’s dynamic evolution over the past five years, from 2017 to 2022. Within this timeframe, Erizal expanded from portraiture to landscape, and would oscillate between purely abstract and representational paintings—at times blurring boundaries between these neat artistic categories.


Subconscious Evolution, a solo exhibition by Indonesia-based artist Erizal As featured exclusively at Art Fair Philippines 2022, highlights the artist’s dynamic evolution over the past five years, from 2017 to 2022. In an interview with curator Tessa Maria Guazon in 2019, Erizal revealed that shifts in his artistic style happen in cycles of five years. Within this five-year timeframe, Erizal expanded from portraiture to landscape, and would oscillate between purely abstract and representational paintings—at times blurring boundaries between these neat artistic categories. This solo show reveals how these changes in his artistic practice mirror the characteristics of his movements on the canvas: “spontaneous, almost subconscious”.

Erizal As is renowned for his vibrant abstract paintings that break free from traditional representation. Painting directly on his canvases instead of premeditating a fixed image, he sees intuition and organic improvisation as crucial to his process. Moreover, experimenting with diverse artistic forms and the complexities between them has always been a mark of his oeuvre. Early in his career, one could detect recognisable figures in his paintings: fantastical animals in motion, human figures gracefully playing a musical instrument, for instance. But his instincts towards abstraction were already revealing themselves through his wild, gestural strokes and forms. In his 2016 solo show Refiguring Portraiture and in the subsequent years, he delved deeper into these tendencies and abstracted the faces of human figures completely—a metaphor for humanity’s eroding values and the fragility of our truths and identities.

In 2019, Erizal decided to eliminate the figure entirely and venture into pure, non- representational paintings, which he presented in another solo exhibition, Formless Existence. While he continued to challenge humanity’s conflicted values and truths, expanding these concerns towards the deceptive nature of people in power, he expressed such concerns through a distinctly abstract language. Bold, impasto strokes; dynamic textures and vibrant, contrasting colours serve as vital expressions of realities that are constantly in flux, and thus, formless. Yet, embarking on an unexpected yet natural stylistic shift, Erizal has recently begun experimenting with landscape painting. From 2021, recognisable forms—rolling hills, lush greens, lakes and cliffs—have once again emerged on his canvases.

This new series of landscape works follows his recent return to his hometown in Padang, West Sumatra, after having lived and built his artistic career in Yogyakarta for several years. In depicting Padang’s raw, unspoiled beauty, Erizal brings us back to the colonial era, where Padang was prime for painters who focused on landscapes. Yet, as Erizal returns to his roots and embraces its heritage and history, he simultaneously grounds this new series in the contemporary—imbuing Padang’s landscapes with the signature expressionist style that he honed in Java. Filling his canvases with bold colours and urgent, vigorous strokes, Erizal employs the organic processes and emotional force of abstract-expressionism to capture the poignancy of gazing at one’s hometown with fresh eyes.

Time & Location

Gajah Gallery

23 Mar to 1 Apr 2022

39 Keppel Road, Tanjong Pagar Distripark #03-04, Singapore, Singapore 089065