Born in 1973, living and working in Yogyakarta, Besta Bestrizal is working mainly with painting. Graduated at the High School of Fine Arts Padang (Padang SMSR) in 1993. His works have been exhibited in numerous solo and group shows held at international institutions and museums such as Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Roma, Italy or Indonesia National Gallery, Jakarta, Indonesia.
“(…)The charcoal works of Indonesian artist Bestrizal Besta form a series of landscapes where nature, people, and objects come into contention with one another in monochromatic black and white. These landscapes seem to invite us into a detailed world a la “Alice in Wonderland” or Hieronymus Bosch’s surreal hybrid worlds—only more scorched, as though they have just endured inferno. Besta describes various shapes, different kinds of animals and plants from macro-organisms to minuscule creatures, different kinds of objects, human body parts, and so forth. He layers elements, stacks and piles them one on top of the other, making them jostle for space on his canvas.
The subjects in Besta’s works as shown at this solo exhibition mainly imply a relationship between people and nature, depicting an array of plants, animals, and sundry objects. He reveals how each artwork began from small things; and though small, they carry with them an energy that can propel others through a constellation of minute elements reminiscent of microorganisms that exist intertwined with our lived realities.
Small things may still affect modern human existence in adverse ways. Take climate change, for instance, which originated from our collective carelessness, or from our intentional trivializing of or disregard for nature, and which through an unstoppable chain reaction have led to enormous catastrophes. Or viruses that mutate into horrifying nightmares, such as the one that emerged out of Wuhan, China, only to extend its reach to the rest of the globe. They are examples of minuscule things that have the ability to turn into frightful beasts.
(…) With his drawing skills and sensibilities when working with black and white, Besta succeeds in creating different and unique images of the inferno. Enin Supriyanto, who curated Besta’s 2013 solo exhibition, muses on how Besta’s thick dark charcoals enable him to present a semblance of darkness that is secretive, enigmatic, and one which occupies a tenebrous space.
(…)Through this series of works, Besta presents the various issues surrounding the nature of the relationship between humankind and the environment—a relationship that stretches far beyond what is logical, a relationship that has become increasingly unfathomable. Besta looks at these phenomena from a viewpoint of a person who finds himself rather helpless in the face of present issues and of things yet to come. Beyond our lived realities are tiny things that, while unseen to the naked eye, do hold great power. Yet, implied within this message is also a hope that small things may grow into immense good. Besta’s works coax out narratives of ambiguous relationships that are forged in the interactions between modern civilization and its environment—like heaven and hell, love and war, the familiar and the as-yet-unknown, order and chaos. Every element coalesce into a constellation of diverse things that we can find in our daily realities.
extract from the essay “Inferno” by Rifky Effendi