Indonesia (b. 1972)
It Fills My Heart
Mohammad Irfan is known for his large-scale depictions of metal structures and modes of transportation like locomotives, planes, ships, bridges and buildings – symbols of technological progress that highlight man’s desire and need to reunite, to connect, to travel, to find home or to wander off and separate. These paintings also depict the effect that erosion and the elements have on all that is manmade, which is ultimately temporal.
The ephemeral nature of all that man has created is a common thread that runs through Irfan’s artwork, be it a rusted locomotive or an ancient Greco-Roman statue in fragments. Nothing manmade can withstand the forces beyond which regulate man’s existence, including the collective relationship or interaction of the human race and its impact not only on the individual but also on his environment.
In his latest body of work, Irfan has turned his attention to the artistic accomplishments of antiquity, depicting statues from the ancient Greco-Roman world. The sculptures mostly represent figures taken from Greek mythology like Apollo, Artemis and Poseidon. Paintings depicting fragmented and broken sculptures confer upon them not only the passage of time and destruction of the elements, but also many of the evils affected by man himself, as these fragments bear also the testament of the willful behavior of humans, the destruction brought on by war, by looting and illicit trafficking of precious evidence of thousands of years of life. Nothing manmade can sustain the erosion from nature nor the cruelty of man himself.
About the Artist
M. Irfan was born in 1972 in Bukittinggi, West Sumatra, Indonesia. He studied painting in the 1990s at the Indonesia Institute of the Arts in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, where he continues to live and work. He was one of the founding members of the influential Jendela Art Group, Indonesia’s most prominent contemporary art collective, whose members belong to a common ethnic group originating from Sumatra and are known for their experimental work and for wanting to expand the range of the visual and conceptual language of painting.
Irfan experimented with different styles including surrealism, optical art, modern realism, and photorealism. He has exhibited extensively in Indonesia, including at the National Gallery in Jakarta, and internationally in Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Korea, United Kingdom, France, and the United States.