Monologue @ Tate Britain, 2005 by Bayu Utomo Radjikin
Bayu Utomo Radjikin is a founding member of the MATAHATI artist collective who found critical and commercial success early in his career. In both 1994 and 1995 Bayu won Honourable Mention at the Philip Morris ASEAN Art Awards, and has also been awarded the Major Prize at the Young Contemporaries Art Competition at National Arts Gallery Kuala Lumpur. Bayu’s artworks have been exhibited across Malaysia and in Singapore, Pakistan, Indonesia and America. Today he runs HOM Art Trans, an important arts space in the Malaysian art ecology dedicated to the cultivation and promotion of young Malaysian contemporary artists.
Bayu’s most covetable artworks are possibly his figurative paintings, particularly those that involve his self-portraiture. His images of himself are noted as personal considerations on identity and experience- often infused with a wry wit. ‘Monologue at Tate Britain’ and ‘Words at the Parc de Cascada Barcelona’ were part of the London Series which Bayu produced during a stint living with his wife in London while she was studying on a scholarship in the early Noughties. As Bayu immersed himself in the culture of London and Europe, particularly the thriving artistic scene, he began to reflect more deeply on himself as a Malay and Malaysian. By painting himself against architectural landmarks in London and Barcelona Bayu was inserting himself as a contemporary Asian figure into the European cultural landscape. Today we can view this as an early instigation into the transnational discourse that has swept the art world, particularly as Asian art ecologies are on the rise and being presented extensively in museums, exhibitions and publications in international intellectual discourse. Finely detailed, ‘Monologue at Tate Britain’ and ‘Words at the Parc de Cascada Barcelona’ are two impressive examples of the painterly skills and philosophical thinking that define Bayu.