The works of Antonius Kho, born in Klaten, Central Java, are a synthesis of East and West. The vibrant earth tones of his native Java find life and substance in his carefully structured compositions.
He seeks to resolve the fluid, graceful, mutable philosophy of Indonesia with solid, reasonable, almost cubist forms. His highly decorative and harmonious compositions capture, the soul of Java as they celebrate its mysticism and culture, in Wayang figures, masks and other folkloric emblems. His paintings embody a peculiar concentration and vitality which enables us to grasp their subjects on an intuitive level. The result is pure ornament. A rich feat of decoration that has an almost hypnotic quality. The more we look at these collages of color, the more they reveal.
These rich and various forms are rendered in slashing, vigorous strokes, with generous application of tropical colors. Kho, who studied with Barli, the famous Javanese artist well-known for his energetic images filled with movement, uses cloth, paper and string to give his flat surfaces energy and a three dimensional appeal.
Kho’s images form as a result of his experience in the Institute of Fine Arts (ITB) in Bandung, and his German training. Typically, artists trained at ITB Bandung look to the West for inspiration. They are inspired by cubist and abstract styles, and Kho is no exception. The rudiments of his style, learned in Bandung, were honed in Germany at the Academy of Fine Arts FH-Cologne.
Now, working from his idyllic studio in the quiet hills of Ubud, Bali’s artist heaven, Kho creates seductive and contemporary visions of Indonesia culture and mythology. With this exhibition we gain an insight into the Indonesian spirit illustrated in a language of our times.
Dipika Rai (Art writer)