Our artist of the week: D.P. Pupuk
Born in Yogyakarta, Indonesia in 1964 was an artist who may not enjoy absolute superstar status by the high standards of the elite contemporary art world, but who has nonetheless gathered steady appreciation over the years from the most tasteful and sideways-thinking of collectors. That artist is D.P. Pupuk.
D.P. Pupuk's name has been styled in various ways - such as Pupuk DP or his full name, Pupuk Daru Purnomo - but there is much more to say about his painting style, which has been described as somewhat more classical than the typical contemporary painter. He differs from many of those in his era in his focus on the objects, community and surroundings of ordinary life, which he depicts in his own, delightfully light-hearted way.
Pupuk has never been one for the most intense levels of artistic celebrity, as seems reflected in his work with its depictions of the intimate lives of the residents of his hometown of Yogyakarta. Whether he portrays a warm-hearted moment of a mother fondly embracing her firstborn baby, or instead a mysterious scene of the entrancing Borobudur, he is a truly 'down to earth' artist, deriving joy from life's simple beauties.
D.P. Pupuk graduated from the Indonesia Institute of Arts' Faculty of Fine Art and Design in 1994, by which time, he was already an award-winning artist, a piece of his gaining recognition as the Best Painting in the college 7th anniversary celebration (Dies Natalis VII) and Pratisara Affandi Adhi Karya. He exhibited solo just a year after graduation at Bentara Budaya in his hometown, in addition to participating in group shows at such venues as Singapore's Gajah Gallery, Santi Gallery in Jakarta and H. Widayat Museum, Magelang in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
A particular career highlight for Pupuk was his selection as a finalist in the Philip Morris Art Competition in 1997. He has continued to attract admiration from art world higher-ups ever since, as evidenced in part by the presence of several of his pieces in the Singapore Art Museum collection. He has also exhibited at Gedung Kesenian and Moom Gallery, Jakarta and Benda Art Space, Yogyakarta.
Much more impressive than his exhibiting career, however, is a signature oil and watercolour painted style that remains unmistakable, combining a broad range of strong colours - from scarlet to umber - with imaginatively sensuous, impasto strokes and lines. There is an undeniable feeling of innocence and simplicity that will always define the masterpieces of D.P. Pupuk, even as his art market prices continue to climb.