Keroncong Series: A new form of physical listening
Sabri Idrus

Sabri Idrus was born in Kedah in 1971. As a painter, he began his early career in art studying Graphic Design and later enrolled at UiTM to study Fine Arts.

Using design as the foundation of his artwork, Sabri expresses himself using a wide spectrum of mediums and techniques. Doing away with the proverbial canvas and brush, he uses galvanized irons, aluminium, zinc, wax and epoxy resin to express himself. In his fourth solo exhibition entitled Keroncong Series, Sabri Idrus explores the indeterminate labyrinth between painting and music. This exhibition showcases three sets of artworks, which have resulted from the moulding of different layers of epoxy resin.

Keroncong is a musical style that originated from Java in the 15th century. The music has since played a large role in the development of local and traditional contemporary music. Keroncong is also considered an idiomatic response to a feeling, which is sublime, yet unresolved. The artwork shares a mutual atonality with the music through the resonance of layered monochromatic tones that are frozen in time. This is depicted by the fluid compositions of epoxy resin. The layers intertwine as if in a natural environment reacting and changing through time, gravitational forces and chemical reactions. But, like oil and water, they will never amalgamate. Sabri’s works therefore represent that split second where painting and music fuses, frozen in a momentary lapse of time. His works have reached a stage where he allows chance and coincidence to play their own role.

In using a material like epoxy resin which has a ‘mind of it’s own’ Sabri has allowed his works to take a course of their own. Keroncong Series tries to liberate the social and cultural dogmas associated with new forms of art. There lies the soul to his works and to the ambivalent term of ‘physical listening’.