Dharma, Adarma, etc, an exhibition of paintings depicting symbols from the depths of the subconscious mind by expat artist Philippe Janssens, opens 25th July, 2017 at Bali Bohemia, Nyuh Kunning, Ubud. Our art correspondent Richard Hortsman reports

Born in Belgium in 1946, Janssens was raised in a creative environment. His mother loved to sing and play musical instruments, and from an early age he had a fascination with music, drawing, and painting. “I can never forget the first time I saw art, the famous rock paintings in the Lascaux Caves in South Western France,” Janssens says. “I was just a young boy, yet the prehistoric images resonated with my inner core.”

Aged 16 he left Europe for America, living first in New York City, then later settling in California and working as an apprentice guitar maker. Until today Janssens continues making musical instruments, building his own special designs – hybrids of traditional wooden instruments. In 1995 he first visited Bali and worked as a jewellery designer. In 1998 he returned to live permanently in Bali teaching local silversmiths a Japanese metalworking technique. Having painted since he can remember Janssens has explored numerous styles and techniques, and exhibited has numerous times in America and in Bali.


During recent years Janssens stripped his palette down utilizing mostly black and white, in Dharma, Adarma, etc, however he choses vibrant colours. Each of his 13 paintings are presented within hand carved wooden frames that he has created himself. Often minimal in structure, his compositions feature flowing black outlines that contrast with planes of colour, that combine to form eye-catching and suggestive shapes. Mysterious organic and mechanical forms with facial features, distorted limbs and torsos come to life, and express an array of emotions.

Drawing on tribal, abstract and surreal imagery his spontaneous and intuitive depictions are expressive feelings from his inner world. Having no wish to create pretty pictures, some of Janssens imagery is not for the faint hearted. His raw and honest paintings touch on the darker angels of the human psyche.

“As a westerner living in Bali, I do not pretend to understand all the nuances of the Balinese culture, and I probably never will. Therefore, to feel the ‘balance’ in my own life, I have created my own mythology, which is certainly influenced by the Balinese culture,” Janssens said.

“I feel we are trying to escape the never-ending cycle of re-incarnation, and through my paintings I’m trying to depict the ever-changing myths of our world.”



Dharma, Adarma, etc

Opening 7pm 25 July

Continuing through until 25 August 2017

Bali Bohemia

Jalan Nyuh Kuning, Ubud, Bali

Open Daily: 9am – 11pm

Tel: 081338884756

Words & Images: Richard Horstman – Art activist Richard Horstman (b.1964 Melbourne) first visited Ubud in 1986. The former sculptor is a journalist, writer, art tourism presenter and behind the scenes doer in Bali art scene. Dedicated to contributing to the development of Balinese and Indonesian art, he regularly contributes to the Jakarta Post on a range of art related topics and may be contacted at: lifeasartasia@gmail.com