Volta Basel 2022 - Taufik Ermas

Volta Basel 2022 – Taufik Ermas

For our debut participation in Volta Basel, Artemis Art is pleased to present a collection of works by Indonesian contemporary visual artist Taufik Ermas. Two dominant styles constitute the bulk of the artist’s body of work, both of which involve canvas augmentation, the Cut-Out and Contoured/Layered series of paintings.

The Sentience of Subtle Intelligence provides a small survey of both styles, with an emphasis on the Contoured/Layered series, a more recent development in the emerging artist’s career. The complete selection of works may be viewed on this webpage below. In addition, the collection of works may also be viewed via our dedicated Art Butler showroom for the art fair.

Artemis Art will be exhibiting at booth D9 during this year’s Volta Basel, which runs from 13 to 19 June 2022 at ELYS, Elsässerstrasse 215A, Basel, Switzerland

For additional information or for artwork enquiries, email us at in**@ar***************.com, or via the other ways of contacting us displayed on this webpage.

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The dialectics of space and investigations into human perception are two central elements embodied within the current body of work by Indonesian visual artist Taufik Ermas. The thought processes contributing to his artistic practice are heavily influenced by philosophy and psychology, two areas of human knowledge that are closely intertwined.

In 2006, Taufik almost lost his life in the tragic earthquake that shook the city of Yogyakarta, where he lives and works. He was rescued from the rubble in which he was momentarily trapped when the structure he was in collapsed. The traumatic experience of being trapped within treacherously constricted space during this ordeal, not knowing whether he would survive, has since become an important driver in the development of his work.

The experience also marked an important inflection point, something that made Taufik reevaluate his outlook to life, and consequently, his approach to artmaking. The Sentience of Subtle Intelligence presents a small survey of works from the artist’s broad repertoire of paintings, most of which involve the augmentation of the canvas surface. There are two broad styles that fall within the augmented canvas works produced by Taufik: the Cut-Out and Contoured/Layered series.

In his Cut-Out works, human silhouettes that outline the blank three-dimensional spaces in his sculptural paintings are symbolic of Taufik’s representation of the constant human quest to seek answers about ourselves, and our place in this world. The emptiness and void in this series of works are reflections of our own feelings of being incomplete, as we struggle with questions about our true purpose.

His more recent Contoured/Layered artworks incorporate a different method of augmenting canvases, a process involving sewing, stuffing, and reinforcing that creates a dual structure on either side of the canvas – linear ridges on one, and analogous mirrored indented lines on the other.

Initially created to visually depict and imply psychological scarring, this technique has been expanded to become what the artist describes as “dual-surfaced paintings”; the reverse side of the canvas depicting a mirrored analog of the central subject, either outlined or indented. Artworks created using the Contoured/Layered technique express the many paradoxes of everyday life, and the many questions often arising from them.

The selection of works for this small survey serve as an entry point to the many complex psychological dialogs that are central to Taufik’s artwork aesthetics. As sentient beings, humans are in constant search for meaning, and it is through perception that we learn more about ourselves as we observe and understand our surroundings, whether the immediate space around us, or the world at large. Through the use of inference in his works, the use of negative space or linear images superimposed, Taufik’s works suggest that to better understand the world, and ultimately ourselves, we need to pause and see beyond the obvious; for hidden behind even the most mundane of everyday events is quite often something quite interesting, if we take the time to investigate closer. 

Taufik Ermas

b. 1984 in Bukittinggi, West Sumatra, Indonesia 

Taufik Ermas currently resides and works in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, where he had attended the Indonesian Institute of Arts (Institut Seni Indonesia), obtaining his Bachelor in Fine Art in 2010. Stylistically a figurative painter, Taufik takes painting to a different level by utilizing various techniques of canvas and stretcher frame augmentation. Two different techniques that dominate his body of current practice are the Cut-Out and Contoured/Layered series of works. Both these techniques have their roots in the artist surviving a traumatic, near-death experience in 2006, during the major earthquake that hit Yogyakarta that year, causing him to be momentarily buried alive.

The analysis and study of human experience, expressed through the lenses of philosophy and psychology, are the key thrusts behind the visually intriguing works by Taufik Ermas. Both his Cut-Out and Contoured/Layered series of works express the many paradoxes of everyday life, raising questions that enable us to understand the world around us better, and ultimately providing insights into our own selves. While Taufik has exhibited extensively both in Indonesia and abroad, his participation in Volta Basel 2022 marks the artist’s first appearance in a major art fair in Europe.

Complete Artist Bio

The eCatalog for The Sentience of Subtle Intelligence may be viewed here or downloaded as a PDF. For additional information, contact us via the various channels shown on the front tab of this posting.

While our booth was quite modestly sized, at around 12.25 square meters, it provided a good survey of Taufik’s works, allowing visitors to appreciate the unique techniques the artist has employed to create his artworks. Many were amazed at the complex technical execution of canvas augmentation that Taufik has used to prepare the canvas before proceeding with the last step, which is the painting.

We’ve included static views of our booth, as well as a short video that provides details about the works we exhibited.

Exhibited Artworks


Contoured/Layered Series of Works

Cut-Out Series of Works

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