Roby Dwi Antono

Hazy childhood recollections inform the uncanny surrealism of Roby Dwi Antono.

Formerly a graphic designer, Roby’s distinct style fuses classical renaissance imagery with contemporary Superflat aesthetics. Motifs of deadpan, starry-eyed children and bizarre mythological creatures nod to notable artists like Yoshitomo Nara as well as pop-surrealists Mark Ryden and Marion Peck. Roby sketches each of his portraits before moving to canvas with oil paint, watercolours, pencils, spray paint, and charcoal.

  • Forthcoming, solo show at Unit London, London, 2021
  • Epos, solo show at Thinkspace Projects, Los Angeles, 2021
  • Lucid Fragments, solo show at Srisasanti Syndicate, Yogyakarta, 2021
  • Discovery Art Fair, group booth with Gallerie Stephanie at Forum Messe, Frankfurt, 2019
  • Within The Garden Of Earthly Delights, group show at Outre Gallery, Melbourne, 2019
  • Southern Monster, Northern Child, solo show at Galerie Stephanie, Mandaluyong, 2016
Riding a Dream, Roby Dwi Antono, 2020.
Courtesy of the artist.
Fear, Roby Dwi Antono, 2020.
Courtesy of the artist.

Roby pulls references from images circulated online, epic poetry, film and cartoons. He often lifts popular iconography to reimagine cultural icons he admires such as rapper Tyler the Creator and artist Takashi Murakami. This said, Roby’s most significant influences are his memories and dreams, which inform the surrealist sensibility seen throughout his work. Interrogating the distant haze of childhood, Roby’s fantastical paintings explore themes of heroism and cultural trauma.

THinkspace art Roby
Asteria, Roby Dwi Antono, 2019.
Courtesy of Thinkspace.
“I leave some visual cues in my works which act as a melancholic conundrum for my audiences.”

Roby combines memories from his past with the uncertainty of the future. Autopsy of Mystery II (2019) depicts an ensemble of figures both human and mythological. All of the figures are gathered around a focal point: a large, severed head with the face carved out and opened to reveal another head inside, suspended in a cosmological skyscape. The tranquil nature of the surrounding swamp is juxtaposed with the sci-fi peculiarity of hybrid creatures and dismembered anatomies. Mixing the prehistoric and futuristic, Roby creates a non-linear version of time and space which swells to encompass past and present, real and imagined.

Autopsy of Mystery II, Roby Dwi Antono, 2019.
Courtesy of Galerie Stephanie.
Joy & Sorrow, Roby Dwi Antono, 2019.
Courtesy of Galerie Stephanie.

Roby interrogates the contradictions of human experience via his art. “I paint subjects that can represent both the good and the bad.” Joy & Sorrow (2019) for example depicts a young girl standing over a mysterious dead creature that possibly, she herself has killed. She appears conflicted, overwhelmed by the point at which a seemingly fun game turned to a realisation of her cruel actions. Illuminating the paradoxes of our individual experiences with surreal vision and macabre humour, Roby balances disillusion and anxiety with heroism and hope to find clarity within the chaos of human experience.

All artworks and images courtesy of the artist.

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