IMPRESSIONS OF LEMPAD
The deeper you go in understanding his art works, the more the passion becomes febrile. What a complete artist he was, everything he touched ,architecture, sculpture, drawings, reliefs, had that magic or divine inspiration called Taksu among the Balinese which gave all his work a very special dimension. The geniality of the artist is reflected in his drawings in very particular features: the purity of line, the distribution of the space, the expression of the characters or the living plants and trees which seem to vibrate with real life. Everything spans with life and magic and the observer is immediately captured by the talent and spirit behind. Whatever he made, he caught the soul of the theme, weather an action, a creature , a cloud , the mud in the rice fields or even an inanimate object such as the “sarongs”, the traditional Balinese garment which he makes them look almost palpable ,reflecting the animist principle that everything “has a soul or ethos”.When one observes the family shrine sculpture portraying the different generations (Il. n ….) with his self portrait in the right bottom corner , one perceives the love he put into it , the piece shines in front of our eyes !It is full of beauty and positive energy transmitting accurately the way he felt about his family. This work could stand next to the Mona Lisa and they would be smiling in harmony. Or the young soul mask he created while watching his grand daughter which is in itself the description of beauty and youth but also the representation of the fine half Yin of the Balinese microcosm .This mask can be considered one of the most touching works by the Master. Likewise the perfect rhythm found in the dancers in the “Dance Lesson” where harmony, movement and teaching skill are fully achieved at the same time that technical perfection thus making out of it an outstanding masterpiece. He was obviously creating in a state of trance or meditation where he became the channel for the cosmic or spiritual energy. This ability, only found in great artists allowed him to take whatever material and transform it in to a great work of art .His free spirit guided him in the adventure of creating new models for the future Balinese generations. His intention full of generosity was to satisfy the gods as well as to teach his family, friends and colleagues. Lempad ,the person, was a simple man who always wore just a “sarong “ and ate light as holly people do. His eyes, the mirror of the soul, would spark with intelligence and wisdom until the very last day of his long life. He had a strong character but was a balanced person with firmly rooted spiritual principles who would advise his grandchildren not to move when an earthquake was under way since he believed in fate and considered that when God wanted to take one s life, he just did. Likewise his father, he was born and brought up to be an Undagi , a figure who in the Balinese culture is some how “sacred “and assumed as such by all the community but which does not imply to have a privileged status since the spiritual world is constantly intermingled with the daily routines . There is no vanity or ego , of course no commercial intention since the act of creating is strictly related to the spiritual world following Animist ,Hinduist and Buddhist principles. And yet, Lempad was an unusual Undagi who always kept his own personal style ,more free and universal, very modern from the conceptual and the formal point of view which he applied in many of his works except for those commanded to him for certain specific temple needs. One only has to look at the family shrines in his first house in Bedulu and the second one in Ubud to discern that pure simple line associated with Majapahait style which he combines with a surprisingly modern and original touch shown on the way volumes are combined.(See Family Shrine in Bedulu)This is also clearly shown in the Temple Gate at Pura Merajan in Pengalasan which unfinished abstraction of the classical Bhoma head reminds us of the style of the catalan architect/sculptor Gaudi, who also combined abstract figures within the architecture as in La Pedrera building in Barcelona. Gaudi could somehow be considered the equivalent of an Undagi in the western world ;the last work commissioned to him by the Estate and one of hs most important works if not the most, was actually the Christian Temple of “La Sagrada Familia”. The Wilmana figures that surround the Gods meeting Hall in the Temple of Pura Pengastulan is another good example of Lempad s originality.He plays with the double reading concept so they become masks when they are turned upside down , as Indonesian primitive sculptors used to do. The same rule applies to the Pan and Men Brayut sculptures that flank the entrance of the Palace Sareng Kandin Delodan which are depicted with very atypical austronesian facial features. Lempad left many of his works incomplete but unlike Balinese in general who tend to leave architectural creations unfinished since for them newness is equivalent to sacredness and sometimes it take ages until they have the means to do it , Lempad ‘s tendency was wholly intentional since he seem to enjoy the aesthetical look of the unfinished.Equally important if not more, was the didactic function involved since it was a subtle way to teach the art of carving to future generations (See masks, Brayut sculpture, architectural elements pgs…. )and,overall, his principles would never allow him to continue his work when the inspiration was no longer present.If we believe our informants,another possible reason in the back of Lempad s mind was that the incomplete pieces could not be requested by the palace since ,“they remained to be finished “. Lempad s first drawings were probably sketches for atchitectural elements in temples (see ilus S39A.) and did not start to draw on proper drawing paper until he was in his middle age. The first sketch books seems to have been given to him by the German Russian artist Walter Spies who was very impressed when seeing some of his sketches.At the beginning of his drawing period, the scenes were inspired on the Ramayana and Mahabarata Hindu –Javanese fables , classic in a sense, which slowly evolved in a more free style drawings reflecting daily life , a feature seldom seen in Balinese art with exceptional cases such as the Yeh Pulu ancient reliefs in Bedulu which he saw during his childhood and would later on become a source of inspiration. The clean line flowing with firm and precise rhythm that applies in both drawings and sculptures is one of the main characteristics that distinguishes his work.This multi talented artist had an important role in the artistic scene that took place in Ubud in the 1930s and connected with the foreign circle of artists such as Walter Spies, Rudolf Bonnet or Miguel Covarubias who saw in Lempad a sort of universality and openness that was to create the Lempad legend. Everyone went to him for exchange of information and saw in him the medium or bridge from traditional to Modern Balinese Art. Most probably, Lempad, who was very humble person in essence never thought in the idea of having a book dedicated to him since in those days and in contrast to the western world, personal success was not an objective in Balinese culture but was left aside in benefit of the community .Nevetheless ,it has been a privilege for us who love and promote art in the world, to work on the first book ever dedicated to I Gusti Nyoman Lempad, a timeless master with balinese soul but universal mind whose work ,we consider, deserves to be known as part of the World Artistic Heritage .
Format : 265 x 340 MM, hardcover, number of pages 334, text : English