The Affandi Museum, or Museum Affandi, is an eclectic art museum with an indoor-outdoor exhibition gallery located in central Yogyakarta on Jl. Laksda Adisucipto. The museum is dedicated entirely to the quirky, renowned, Indonesian artist Affandi (18 May 1907 – 23 May 1990) who designed much of the 3500 square meter complex himself.

A bronze mural of Affandi and his family at various stages in their lives hangs outside the first gallery.

There are three permanent galleries at Museum Affandi exhibited in three separate buildings. The first gallery, first opened in 1974, houses works that span Affandi’s entire artistic career. It is a retrospective exhibition with works spanning various media, including sketches with China ink on paper and watercolor, pastel, and oils on canvas. Affandi’s bicycle and his Mitsubishi Gallant, reshaped to resemble a fish, are also exhibited in the first gallery. However, the first gallery is currently closed for renovations.

The interior of the second gallery at Museum Affandi. Visitors are allowed only on the first floor.

The second permanent gallery at Museum Affandi houses Affandi’s permanent painting collection. Construction of the second gallery was completed with aid from the Indonesian government. The paintings included here are done in various styles and sizes and reflect Affandi’s growth as an artist. Descriptions of almost all the paintings are written in both English and Bahasa Indonesia. In the beginning, when he could not afford supplies, Affandi would use whatever paint or paper he could acquire. Thus, the varying qualities of the media used in Affandi’s early works can be observed here.

A painting of Affandi’s mother.

All of the paintings of nude women in the second gallery are actually of Affandi’s (second) wife, Maryati. Because Affandi could not afford to pay for an actual model, Maryati agreed to pose for him as long as he didn’t paint her face. Affandi studied in Indonesia, India, and Europe during his lifetime; the evolution of his artistic style can be seen here, as the works on display are arranged chronologically. Affandi began as a photographic realist painter, but tended toward expressionism in his later works.

While visitors are not allowed on the second floor, several works can be viewed from the gallery below.

Many of Affandi’s later, expressionistic works utilize a unique technique which involved squeezing large globs of paint directly from the tube onto the canvas. Supposedly, Affandi discovered this technique by accident. He broke his brush during a painting session and chose to continue his work by using only his hand. Generally, using this method, Affandi’s paintings were completed in only one or two hours. He often spent several days observing a subject before choosing to immortalize that subject on canvas, and many of his works focus on the emotions he felt when observing the subject in life. Supposedly, the painting of the bird cages in this gallery was completed in just 30 minutes!

Left: An external view of the third gallery from the door of the second gallery. Right: A view of Affandi’s house and an empty swimming pool located in the museum complex.

The third gallery, completed in 1999 and officially opened in 2000, is located to the right of the second gallery. It houses an impressive collection of Affandi’s sketches, mostly completed with China ink, which he created prior to completing paintings of the same subjects. There is a short video that presents Affandi’s life and works available in this gallery. If the video is not playing during your visit, you can request a viewing. The Affandi Foundation constructed this third and final gallery to fulfill Affandi’s last wish, which was to have adequate storage for his works and collection. Sometimes, paintings from the Affandi Foundation’s 300-work collection are rotated in and displayed here. The second floor of this gallery is used as a restoration room while the basement is used as storage.

A sample of Affandi’s sketches located in the third gallery.

Affandi’s gravesite is located between the first and second galleries. Affandi chose this to be his final resting place because he wished to be permanently located beside his wife and to be permanently surrounded by the artistic pieces he created throughout his lifetime.

The final resting place of Affandi and his second wife, Maryati.

Studio Gajah Wong is also located within the Museum Affandi complex. It was opened in 2004 as a place for the daily artistic activities of Affandi’s grandchildren. Today, it is used as an additional exhibition hall for their recent works and as a place for artists to both create and discuss art. Additionally, Museum Affandi offers art classes for both children and adults; these classes are held in Studio Gajah Wong.

Some of the many recent works on display in Studio Gajah Wong I.

Cafe Loteng is centered in the museum complex and is located beneath Affandi’s house. One beverage or frozen treat is included with your museum ticket. You can claim that item at Cafe Loteng from a select group of soft drinks, bottled teas, and ice cream bars. There is also ample seating beneath Affandi’s private room, which has been preserved as it once was above the cafe. If you’d like to relax and enjoy the day in the refreshment area after you’ve finished your tour of the museum’s galleries, this is the place to be. Items for purchase are available here if you have any interest in museum souvenirs such as greeting cards featuring Affandi’s works, T-shirts or jewelry.

Affandi’s private room, Cafe Loteng, and a large statue of Affandi himself as they are situated in the center of the museum complex.

Admission to Museum Affandi is Rp. 100.000 for international visitors and Rp. 50.000 for local visitors. All visitors to the museum receive a free refreshment and a souvenir. The museum is open daily from 9:00 am until 4:00 pm.

Stay safe, and happy art appreciation!

2 thoughts

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