m.simons is proud to present IKAT by Nazif Lopullisa (1991, NL), the first solo exhibition of the artist with the gallery.
In this new series of works Nazif Lopulissa brings together diverging perspectives, childhood memories, and cultural contexts in the playful method that is his signature. The title of this exhibition, IKAT, refers to the Indonesian word for “bind(ing)”, and is derived from the exhibition at Museum Maluku, where Lopulissa showed works alongside Jaya Pelupessy in the summer of 2021. This exhibition marked the first time the artist reflected on his own upbringing and the cultural influences and memories of his own childhood. Brought up by a Turkish father and a Moluccan mother, it were their diverse and sometimes contrasting influences that sparked Lopulissa to work from contradictions. This lead him to investigate the relationship between eastern and western perspectives, but also more fundamentally between colours, shapes, designs and interpretations.
Since his graduation in 2016, Lopulissa has been steadily working on a comprehensive body of work that reinterprets the structures of his urban surroundings into rich, colourful and playful, two- and three dimensional works. A major topic in Lopulissa’s work is the structure of the playground and its architecture, tracing back to a sense of freedom and curiosity most of us experience in childhood, when the world around is not yet framed, crystallised or spoiled by the tropes of adult responsibilities. While investigating how form, material and colour allow us to find playfulness and joy, the playground has also become synonymous not only for the playful character of Lopulissa’s works, but also for his approach to making art.
Like the contradictions between the joyful architecture of the playground and the strict regulations that determine its design, contrast plays a crucial role in Lopulissa’s current work. Much like the freedom of childhood can only be understood in contrast to the obligations of adult life, the structures, shapes and colours in Lopulissa’s works gain their individual meaning when combined together. This goes as much for the abstract shapes and colours in his contrasting paintings, as for the combination of cultural references and the personal sense of nostalgia in the collages shown in IKAT.
text by Menno Vuister