Drawing on myth
“The powerful king Bedaulu lost his favourite horse. Broken-hearted, the king sent the men of whole villages in all directions with orders to find the stray horse. The Tenganans went eastward until ... they found the corpse of the horse ... their spokesman said they wanted only the land where the horse was found; that is, the area covered by the smell of the carcass ... Bedaulu considered this a modest request and sent an official with a delicate sense of smell to measure off the land ... Accompanied by the chief of Tenganan, he walked for days, but no matter how far the two went, the smell seemed to follow them. Finally the official ... said he considered the land already covered enough, and the Tenganans were satisfied. When the official left, the chief pulled from under his clothes a large piece of the rotten flesh of the horse.” Miguel Covarrubias recounted this story he heard from a young Tenganese in The Island of Bali.
But did the horse truly exist aside from the myth? At Tenganan, the artist did not see its being. Instead, what Widjaja saw was the constructed reality of the beast: the land, the village, the markings on the map and the story being told to him again and again.
Likewise, in Widjaja's drawings, he wanted to invoke an immaterial beast, to give it form by building it up through dots and lines. The subject was not an animal but rather a virtual idea of it. Any verve perceived through the viewer’s gaze is one that was raised up in his own mind.