Perception Analysis and Creation:
Perceiving Wayang Beber
“My father used to say that stories are part of the most precious heritage of mankind.”
Tahir Shah, in In Arabian Nights: A Caravan of Moroccan Dreams, says that stories are essential as the part of heritage for human life. As father tells stories orally to their child, this custom has been being in the eastern world for centuries. In Indonesia, story is being told uniquely by wayang or shadow play. Wayang Beber is one of the famous shadow plays in Java Island. It is a screen wayang drawed upon fabric or paper and scrolled to depict the local stories. Gunawan Kartapranata, an Indonesian artist, succeeds in produce a masterpiece art work of Wayang Beber, The Battle Scene of a Wayang Story. Unspeakably, that traditional artwork is implementing the contemporary concept which covered perception and sensation and Gestalt Theory.
Viewing The Battle Scene of a Wayang Story, viewer perceives the Javanese cultures inside the battle. There are two sides against and attacking each other, involving the man and woman. Those visual elements and the colors used are combining and creating the chaos perception of the war. Violation, greediness, and ambitions to kill conclude that the battle never be good, it shows the bad side of the mankind. Hence, the viewer will justice that Javanese whose are in the battle are in conflict and having desires to win. Gunawan Kartapranata, deliberately, draws the characters in emotional condition. The condition of the characters and the battle itself lead the viewer receive stimuli and make them response in the form of comment.
In addition, Gestalt theory is implemented in Kartapranata’s artwork. This proved by the law of proximity, continuation, and similarity that consisted in that Wayang Beber. The perception mentioned there are two sides against each other based on the law of proximity. Characters that are closer together are perceived as more than objects that are further apart (shows the proximity principle). Besides, continuation supports that statement, characters arranged on a line is perceived one and the same side. Moreover, similarity marked there are two sides in the battle because when a viewer sees these similar characteristics, they perceive the elements are being related due to the shared characteristics.
In conclusion, Wayang Beber as a traditional artwork from Indonesia gain the contemporary concept. The Battle Scene of a Wayang Story able to delivered the perception and sensation of battle in the emotional and chaotic way. Instead of it, that masterpiece made perfectly by implementing Gestalt theory covered the law of proximity, continuation, and similarity.
Madden, E. H. (1953). Science, philosophy and gestalt theory. The University of Chicago Press: Philosophy of Science Association. Retrieved from http://www.jstor..org/stable/185037