Today, Eco Aware Art Gallery introduces Artist Antonius Kho, who was born a "Chinese-Indonesian" in Klaten, a tiny town in central Java, and a "foreigner" in his own country. Wayang, Batik, and other images of the Javanese world came to him piecemeal through the clutter and roar of street life when he was a boy. Rather than living symbols and transmitters of meaning, they serve as references. The Tao wisdom and Buddha were the source of meaning. It was the incense-burning candle placed in front of the family shrine. And, like the flame, it was fading, as were other Chinese conventions and mores. As a result, Antonius Kho's true tradition was simply a mosaic of beliefs and visual symbols: the paradoxes origins of Modernity.
While the mask is no longer recognisable as who. Khos' mask researches have reached the deepest nooks and crevices. Every mask he comes across, approaches, and then investigates becomes a creation. From his brush, a million masks fall. Only the essence of things flows across his canvas.
"Masks in my hand are a source of power. He previously described himself as a magistrate.
Masks' ability to infiltrate Kho's most primal fantasies and imagination is significantly impacted by their diversity, pervasiveness, and historical intricacy. Indonesia's immensely rich mask legacy proved to be fruitful ground for him. Since the beginning of time, thousands of masks have been made for a variety of tasks all throughout the world, from west Sumatra to east Irian Jaya.
Yes, this pushes Kho to develop original pieces on a regular basis. Which one is he?
In his beautifully organised works, the bright earth tones of his home Java find life and depth. He aspires to reconcile Indonesia's flowing, elegant, flexible philosophy with solid, rational, almost cubist shapes. In Wayans figures, masks, and other traditional symbols, he captures the essence of Java in highly beautiful and harmonious creations that honour its mysticism and culture. His paintings have a unique focus and vigour that allows us to intuitively understand their topics. The end product is just decoration. A lavish display of ornamentation with a mesmerising charm. The more we stare at these colourful collages, the more we see.
Slashing, powerful strokes are used to create these rich and varied shapes, with tropical hues liberally used. Kho employs fabric, paper, and string to give his flat surfaces vitality and a three-dimensional appeal. Kho trained under Barli, a prominent Javanese artist known for his vibrant paintings full with movement.
Kho's pictures are the consequence of his time at Bandung's Institute of Fine Arts (ITB) and his German education. Typically, artists trained at ITB Bandung seek inspiration in the West. Kho, like many others, is influenced by cubist and abstract art. The foundations of his style, which he learnt in Bandung, were fine-tuned in the Academy of Fine Arts FH-Cologne in Germany.
Kho now produces alluring and modern views of Indonesian culture and mythology from his lovely studio in the calm hills of Ubud, Bali's artist nirvana. We obtain an understanding of the Indonesian spirit through this show, which is presented in a contemporary language.
This modernity was conceptualised and shaped first at the Arts School of the Bandung Institute of Technology, which has influenced most of Indonesian modernism to this day, and then at the Academy of Fine Arts in Cologne, Germany, where he was introduced to the historical logic of the Western art scene on the ground. Antonius Kho, who has always been pulled between his numerous layers of identity, currently splits his time between Cologne and Ubud, Bali, and shows regularly both in Europe and in Indonesia. His life, like the masks he enjoys painting, has two sides, and his identity is based on this ambiguity.
Kho is noted for being an organiser in addition to being a painter. As a marketing alternative to traditional galleries, he established "Tata Ubud" in 1995, a one-month "open studio" display. He's also produced a number of events bringing together Indonesian and Western artists.
Kho's paintings, like his culture, are mosaics of yellowish tones strewn across the canvas in an obsessive patterning of human figures and masks. When gazing at it, however, it is hard to focus on these specific patterns or sub-patterns; one's attention is dragged away, making one's eyes dance around the canvas from one tone to the next, until this visual search identifies signs: eyes. Eyes may be seen in almost all of Kho's paintings; "They represent the ultimate presence or reality," he argues, implying the life behind the mask—and, from an aesthetic standpoint, the metaphorical meaning of otherwise highly organised works.Kho's paintings are frighteningly lifelike while yet possessing abstract formal elements. As a result, they may be read at both levels without interfering with one another. Allow yourself to be hypnotised by the mesmerising nature of the colour patterns or tormented by the strange presence of the "eyes" and masks.
Antonius Kho draws inspiration from a variety of places. The sense of pattern was most likely instilled in his visual memory by batik designs and the figures of the "Wayang" puppet performance theatre. For a period, the artist worked as a batik painter. Wayang, the primary vehicle for Javanese ideas and storytelling, has its puppets defined as well, allowing a quick identification not by the symbolic substance of these traditions, which are "ideologically" foreign to him, but by their form.As a result, his approach is unmistakably contemporary. He claims that it is the visuals, not the symbols, that he borrows. For my own purposes, I invent a new meaning. As a result, my patterns have been formalised into current compositions. " When it comes to colour, though, it's nature that inspires him the most: "I prefer to take my inspiration from the life of nature," he adds, "and I really adore the butterflies, for their fluttering character of colour."
To put it another way, Kho's finest works are akin to musical creation. Forms evolve into meaning, and meaning into colour, inexorably. A song is born via the magic of creation.
Antonius Kho is an Indonesian-born Chinese artist who has been heavily inspired by Javanese culture, allowing him to appreciate the nature and qualities of Bandung sculpture. This implies he inherited the characteristics of a hardworking Chinese guy, Javanese determination, and Bandung intellectuality, all of which aid him in adopting Western-style analysis. These traits undoubtedly distinguish him as one of the country's most renowned performers. Antonius Kho is also interested in getting active in organisational activities relating to sculpting, something I was unaware of before. In Bali, he is promoting Tata Ubud, an initiative aimed at fostering networking among Balinese artists.
I hadn't seen Antonius Kho since the 1980s, and I assumed he had vanished. Surprisingly, I discovered that he was interested in batik making in Yogyakarta and went on to study it in Cologne, Germany. We were able to meet more often throughout the 1990s. Two of us got together in Cologne towards the end of the 1990s. Antonius Kho's studies were clearly seen in his work of art. I know this because he consistently provides me evidence of his job, allowing me to learn more about him. In essence, Antonius Kho attempts to alter several factors like as materials, processes, the nature of the materials utilised, and the evolution of media.
I observed that materials become more significant in Antonius Kho's latest work. He attaches various materials such as paper, rags, and jute together not only to add aesthetic flavour but also to generate a sense of force and aim. His methods are a mix of painting, batik creation, and collage arranging, resulting in field intersection. The decoration is done with competence and zeal, suggesting a great desire to create aesthetic possibilities. Finally, his distinguishing feature is the compilation of fields while keeping line effects and colours. In terms of colour, I saw Antonius Kho mixes the European colour influence with the batik influence. I also saw that he strives to bring the West and the East together (I'm not sure what the correct phrase is for this!). This shows that the tree have analytical capability. At the very least, he recognises that his life is separated into two cultural realms, i.e., he has been exposed to European and Indonesian culture in the span of a year, causing him to merge the two in his mental framework. Antonius Kho may appear to be a peaceful artist, yet there is a continual strain within his head. This is not only manifested in outward forms, but it is also individualised via the topics of his artwork. As a result, he appears to be certain to discuss a certain topic, such as the portrayal of shapes with eyes and historical decorations. However, the subjects he has in mind might cover a wide range of topics, from everyday humanity to his critical attitudes toward social issues affecting people all over the world. Antonius Kho's most intriguing mental conflict is his affection for the world of myth and his restlessness in the mundane world. There are interesting symbols, but their usage is not limited to deciphering meanings; they may also be used to present the essence or to say nothing at all.
I believe Antonius Kho's mind has a never-ending global game to be discovered. He has taken his research seriously and accepts that life flows indefinitely, but he chooses certain flows to catch the currents that lead him to a serious game. At least, that's how I've come to know Antonius Kho, a sculptor and painter with a strong work ethic, devotion, and intellect.