Born in Purwakarta, Handrio (1926-2010) is best known in Indonesian art history for exploring the musicality of painting. The recognisability of his work lies in their organic, interweaving forms that exude a sense of dynamic rhythm. Once an adept cello player, he was sensitive to the connections between the visual and auditory, and used cleanly delineated lines, repetition, and saturated colour-fields to create a lyrical effect. This manner was distinct from other Yogyakarta artists whose styles leant towards realism, expressionism and decoration.
Handrio referred to his process as “constructing paintings”. To him, the term “constructing” was more appropriate than “painting” because the latter connoted the growth of his creative process. Instead, he believed that line and colour should represent themselves. Accordingly, Handrio did not want his work to overwhelm the viewer. As opposed to creating a “shock factor”, his method focused on building an equilibrium between art and the audience. With interacting visual elements that support one another, his works hint at utopian realities founded upon the orderliness of geometry.
Handrio began studying painting under Basoeki Abdullah (1915-1993). During the Japanese Occupation, he also studied under S. Sudjojono and Agus Djaya at Keimin Bunka Shidoso (Institute for People’s Education and Cultural Guidance) and Putera (Centre of People’s Power) in Jakarta. Having spent his early artistic years exploring realism and surrealism, Handrio gradually grew an affinity to geometric abstraction in the 1950s. His artistic ability was demonstrated by his membership in the selection committee for the third Jogja Biennale in 1993.