Putu Sutawijaya (b. 1970, Indonesia) is recognised for his vibrant expressions of the human body in motion. While his works often burst with energy and spontaneous movement, they radiate the grace that marks any moving, skillful dance.
Hailing from Bali, Sutawijaya draws inspiration from Balinese religious and tribal rituals, enamored with how they reach communion and enlightenment through movement and trance. Supposedly rooting from the Sanghyang, an ancient Balinese ritual aimed to ward off evil spirits, the kecak dance in particular is a dramatic spiritual dance performed by over a dozen men positioned in concentric circles.
Sekeliling Kehidupan (Around Life) conjures the primal intensity of the kecak dance, as dozens of brass figures are captured in hypnotic movement, with their legs squatting as if to balance themselves while their upper bodies let loose. They are gathered in a circle, yet rather than being planted on the ground, the bodies are suspended in air, as if floating towards a higher plane. The brass medium blurs distinctive features on the individual figures, making them blend seamlessly together into a larger body. Here, Sutawijaya employs sculpture to poignantly capture the sacredness and transcendence felt when dance, ritual and community come together in harmony.