Courbet after sudjojono

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This essay considers three paintings that the Indonesian artist Seabad Sindudarsono Sudjojono made in 1964, all depicting the Indonesian Revolution of 1946-49, from the vantage point of realism. If, at first, this triptych appears aesthetically outmoded, with its belated, not to mention awkward, deployment of socialist realism, this essay contests such a linear history of global artistic modernism by using the concept of ‘contemporaneity’. The essay uncovers the disjunctive aesthetic and socio-political specificity of Sudjojono’s realism, and shows how the turn to Courbet’s radical form of realism mattered for Sudjojono in 1964. In turn, the case of Sudjojono challenges the conventional historiography of realism, suggesting the continued relevance of Courbet’s singular example long after the nineteenth century, and outside of Europe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-317
Number of pages25
JournalArt History
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2018


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