“Love nature unnatural,” Imam Santoso underlines as he scribbles sharp colors, lines crossing each leaf of a tree, each slope of a mountain, and each crow of a bird. Nature quietly cries for help in Santoso’s creations, as nature bleeds from beyond aberrations. At first glance, Santoso seems to have fortuitously established beauty in chaos yet the calamitous reality unfolds as you dissect the works, pull apart each hue, each stroke and reveal its natural beauty from within.

Santoso goes on to display a masterfully designed line of surreal creations that display the utter subversion of nature under the human hands. On the underside, the canvas safely lies in realism where nature is free and quiet—trees and branches fluttering swiftly through each stroke and mountains flourishing in faint hues as if clouds float before them. The spaces, though tight and cluttered, bloom in undomesticated prosperity. Surrealism is ingeniously established as bold lines subdue each canvas. Unnatural figures begin to corrupt the human mind, giving each scribble faces, shapes, and colors, almost relatively close to nature’s form; one may appear to be a mountain or a tree but all these remain to be scrawls of human manipulation. What the works reflect may be construed as a sad reality but it remains magnificent beyond a shadow of a doubt. Nature’s works remain to be persistent motifs among Santoso’s concepts yet this time, the artists’ perception touches on how humans take the pivotal role in nature’s synthetic progression, though holistically may be seen unnatural still can be seen as beautiful.

In “Love Nature Unnatural,” Imam Santoso is resolute on the idea of how human’s undertaking of nature reasons out the fact that allows each being to remain amatory on the unnatural renderings of nature’s landscape. In this show, Santoso displays how his artistry drives a poignant resolution to nature’s prevalent state. The methodological composition of his work champions the solidarity of each element, which while stands out separately creates a complete, aggregated image.

Imam Santoso displays artistry as exquisite as his meticulousness as a conservator at the National Museum of Indonesia, in Jakarta. “Love Nature Unnatural” is his second exhibition in the Philippines with Galerie Stephanie. The exhibit runs from October 7-21, 2019.

Notes by Francesca Testa