SMALL children take on gargantuan roles in the ongoing twin solo exhibitions of Galerie Stephanie. They get familiar with monsters, voyage into the unknown, and ultimately invite us to uncharted perspectives.
In Intensity, Intimately, Indonesian artist Roby Dwi Antono veers away from the familiar vibrancy and details of his fantasy worlds, leaving only the outlines and drama of young subjects and their unlikely companions, all rendered bare in black and white. Meanwhile, Reflections showcases the wandering characters of Filipino artist Mark Jeffrey Santos, who also goes by Mr. S, as they set off on a journey of self-discovery in lands laden with Japanese-inspired elements.
‘Intensity, Intimately,’ Roby Dwi Antono
Antono has been a staple of Galerie Stephanie’s programs since his first solo exhibition with the space in 2016. Characterized by a peculiar aesthetic rich in details and depth, his surrealist works were fixtures in the gallery’s presentations at Art Fair Tokyo and Art Fair Philippines.
In this latest exhibition, Antono swerves and expresses himself in grayscale, perhaps to suggest that the life of his art lies not in the background nor in the colors of his saccharine settings, but in the wide, commanding eyes of his subjects.
Intensity, Intimately presents two categories of the artist’s works. One is a compilation of oil-on-paper drawings, featuring humans and monsters in doodles. The other offers more or less the same subjects, but they are more fleshed out and rendered using charcoal on canvas.
Showcased in this show are iconic Japanese characters—including behemoths known as Kaijus and the popular extraterrestrial hero Ultraman—both interacting with human children. Antono’s choice of characters serves as a commentary on how his generation formed a parasocial relationship with the TV characters they grew up watching, predating the Internet and social-media culture.
In We Are There Together and Us, Antono depicts human victory but at varying costs. Meanwhile, in Lonesome Hero, a celebrated icon somehow feels lacking.
‘Reflections,’ Mr. S
MR. S makes the most of his background in video and film as a world-building visual artist. He creates lived-out settings and characters with distinct personas and goals as seen yet again in his latest solo exhibition.
Reflections takes viewers on a journey alongside his character in search of meaning. We follow in this series an adventurous young boy coming across copies of himself, in Doppelganger and Encounter with Myself. He also stares down with hannya masks in Eye to Eye and Looking Down at my Demon.
While the foreground tells much of the story, examining the background is an exploration on its own as Mr. S always leaves out something for the true wanderer.
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