Masks in my hand is power. A magistrate
Antonius Kho was born in Klaten, Java and later pursued his artistic study in Cologne, Germany. He chooses mask as his subject matter and explores it to the full. The result is array of masks that never represent anyone, or for that matter, anything. The mask is in his paintings. The mask has shed its from original intentions, replaced by his own personal reflections. It lost its intended functions as cover for someone or symbol of something. Masks are utilized as the seed for his creativity, as a visual concept before he takes up the brush. Even when Kho could presents Petruk (a Javanese puppet character), he delves deeper into the mask’s basic existence, never Petruk at its face-value.
While the mask is not seen as who anymore. Kho”s explorations on masks has rached into its darkest nock and crannies. Every mask he finds, approaches and then explores accumulated into a creation. A million mask drops from his brush. Only the essence spreads over his canvas.
“Masks in my hand is power. A magistrate”, he said once.
The fact that mask are able to penetrate Kho’s basest fantasy and imagination is heavily influenced by its diversity, ubiquitous and historical complexity. Indonesia proved to be a fertile ground for him for her extraordinarily rich heritage of masks. Thousands of mask has been created for a multitudinous of functions everywhere, from west Sumatra through to Irian Jaya east, since the beginning of time.
And yes, this challenges Kho to always create unique works. Which is his.
Agus Dermawan T. (Art writer)