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Interview with artist Antonius Kho

Updated: Mar 2

Antonius initially learned from well-known Indonesian artists Barli. After his

graduation from the Academy of Fine Art in Bandung, Indonesia in 1982, he went to

study in the Academy of Fine Art in Cologne, Germany majoring in glass painting and

textile arts, after which he went to Master School of Art where he was under the

supervision of Prof. Schaffmeister & M.Brinkhaus and finished his study in 1991.


Antonius’ paintings contain a high level of complexity that attract art critics’ attentions. Originated from Chinese parents, Antonius was born in middle of Java,

Indonesia. Figures of the Wayang puppet shows and patterns of the batik designs, as

well as human figures he observes in daily life provide huge source of images reproduced on his paintings in a way that the original meanings of these cultural

elements no longer exist; instead, such folkloric emblems, mostly appear as masks,

turn into just visual symbols arranged in collages, mosaic and cubism-like patterns which were also read by art critics as a representation of modernity and abstraction.



We want to be happy, 90 x 90 cm, 2024, mixed medium on canvas, love robot series
We want to be happy, 90 x 90 cm, 2024, mixed medium on canvas, love robot series

Antonius, your background and artistic training span both Eastern and Western traditions. How do you navigate these diverse cultural influences in your art, and how do they manifest in your unique style?


Western and Eastern influences on my work, firstly I was born in Klaten, Central Java, Indonesia, from a Chinese father and a Javanese mother, where Chinese and Javanese culture is inherent in me, seen in the Eastern, Chinese and Javanese symbols. always visible in my work, and secondly, I went to art school at FH - Academy of Fine Art in Cologne, Germany, majoring in glass painting and textile art, after finishing my studies, I lived in Germany for 14 years, then I returned to Bali, Indonesia and has persisted until now, this has had a huge influence on my life, especially on my works, in terms of creative techniques, as well as western artistic views, which appear in my subsequent works, namely the combination of west and east.



Loyal listener, 70 x 60 cm, 2023, mixed medium on canvas, love robot series
Loyal listener, 70 x 60 cm, 2023, mixed medium on canvas, love robot series


Your work incorporates a fascinating array of symbols and imagery, from Wayang puppet shows and batik patterns to the omnipresent 'eye.' Can you elaborate on the significance of these elements in your paintings and what they represent in the context of modernity and abstraction?


Ornamental symbols in eastern culture, especially Javanese and Chinese culture, such as ornaments on shadow puppets, batik, temples, monasteries, always stick in my mind, these ornamental symbols for me are very artistic and full of meaning regarding the philosophy of life in every shape and line.



Magic mushroom, 60 x 60 cm, 2023, mixed medium on canvas, love robot series
Magic mushroom, 60 x 60 cm, 2023, mixed medium on canvas, love robot series


Tell us please more about your new series of works, about robots, - Love robots.


Robots are artificial intelligence created by humans to help human work in all fields, such as in hospitals, in restaurants, in factories, in households, etc. These robots are created in various forms and variations, according to the countries where they were created, which reflect the cultural roots of these countries, such as in China, Japan and Korea, Asian-looking robots, which are tiny and cute, unlike those in America. In Europe and Russia, robots are stout, superpower, with hard, cold and stiff faces, while in Africa, robots have plain faces, innocent and thin. These robots do their work with love, without complaining and tirelessly, because they were created with love. In developed countries, many robots are created and needed to help human work in all fields, in the future, robots will replace humans, in any job.



I"m oval, 50 x 50 cm, 2023, mixed medium on canvas, love robot series
I'm oval, 50 x 50 cm, 2023, mixed medium on canvas, love robot series


You prefer using mix media of paper, rag, and jute in your artworks, with a notable emphasis on earthy or yellow tones. Can you discuss your choice of materials and colors, and how they contribute to the overall impact of your paintings?


I really like experimenting with various media, which can be seen in my work so far, the media that I often use, such as jute, rope, thread, embroidered cloth, which I combine with earthy colors, which are based on my art education, background my culture, which mostly emphasizes the color of the earth, as a symbol of this earth where we live.



Let"s sing together, 100 x 100 cm, 2023, mixed medium on canvas, love robot series
Let's sing together, 100 x 100 cm, 2023, mixed medium on canvas, love robot series


Aside from your personal artistic endeavors, you are actively involved in organizing art exchange projects among artists. What drives your commitment to these projects, and how do you believe they contribute to the global art community and cross-cultural understanding?


Since 2006 I have started holding arts and cultural exchange projects with various countries in Asia, Europe and Africa until now, my aim is to introduce arts and culture from my country, and vice versa, to exchange arts and culture from each country to increase insight for every artist in art.


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