"Painting, canvas, colour, lines, shapes… they are not tools anymore. They have become me."
- Nashar, 'Surat Malam' (Night Letters), 1976
A central figure in the Jakarta School, Nashar is best known for his naïve approach to painting. This sensibility is informed by his "Three Non-s" philosophy (non-technical, non-preconceptual, non-aesthetic) which reject the trappings of academic skill and political ideology. The resulting body of work stripped painting to its core, with the use of simple techniques, organic shapes and bold colours. Connecting Nashar's writings and painting practice, the exhibition title draws inspiration from three key terms the artist used in discussing his work: I, Nature, and Soul (Aku, Alam, Jiwa). This framing aligns Nashar's intuitive process with his reflections on consciousness and the individual's relationship with nature.
Rather than reproducing an object or scene, Nashar was more concerned with being in its presence and capturing what he called "a shadow of life". As such, his paintings evoke a sense of fluidity and rhythmic vibration. In these pictures, abstraction also entailed distorting forms and stripping them of their identity. Playing with scale and jarring unnatural colours, the shape of a leaf could be exaggerated to resemble the outline of a rabbit's head, or a human body might merge with the terrain. An image is brought out of the domain of logic and returned to the realm of sensations and imagination.
Staying true to his credo, Nashar's enigmatic canvases express the desire to "have life and nature in him".