Dede Eri Supria’s “Tukang Daging”

Dede Eri Supria Tukang Daging 1981

Dede Eri Supria’s “Tukang Daging” (also known as “Menunggu Pembeli/Waiting for Customers”) dates from 1981 and is amongst the earliest of the artist’s mature work.
Although painted in the ‘super-realist’ style of this period, it is not a  mere photographic record of reality.

Rather it appears as a telling documentation about the atmosphere of the times. The table, the awning, indeed the meat, depict elements of a roadside market which could be found anywhere in urban Indonesia, whereas the the dried cracked earth of the background is entirely unplaceable.

It is unemotional or even cold. The seller sits impassively; there is no interaction with his environment. The painting may appear ‘difficult’ in that it takes an easily recognizable element of the urban landscape so often portrayed by Dede and transposes it to a bleak setting as if to emphasize the anonymity, loneliness and alienation of the city.

The subject matter was certainly carefully chosen. The flesh of the meat that is being sold becomes a interesting metaphor for ephemerality or might even suggest sacrifice.

The painting is distinguished by fine brushwork and intense colors with the background rendered in a series of vertical bars each not quite aligned with the next. With the flat empty space leading to the far horizon it is compositionally similar to the well known “Isteriku/Portrait of my Wife” also dating from 1981.

It was painted during the formative period of Dede Eri Supria’s career as an artist. It is a very significant period in his artistic development, as the subject matters he painted were all deeply rooted in his thoughts and the cultural zeitgeist of the times.

“Tukang Daging” has been in the collection of the owner /vendor since 1984 when it was purchased from the artist. Regarding the painting, he mentioned that he “was attracted to its ‘uncompromising’ quality and how the main elements of the paining are so effectively juxtaposed.” He hopes that other collector would be able to also appreciate the work of art as he did, and provide a new home for the painting.

The piece will be featured in our Fine Art auction 29 May 2011.

Exhibition History, “Into the Labyrinth”, One-man show, 1997 (Jakarta Stock Exchange 5th anniversary)


• Nirwan Dewanto, ed. “Into the Labyrinth”, Exhibition Catalogue, Jakarta Stock Exchange, 1997, (Titled “Menunggu Pembeli/Waiting for Customers”. Generally known as “Tukang Daging”), p. 38-39

• Agus Dermawan “Elegi Kota Besar” (Jakarta: Yayasan AiA), p. 42.


About senirupa

I write about Indonesian art and culture

Posted on 9 May 2011, in Fine Art Auction 29 May 2011. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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