Carl Costial is pleased to present a double exhibition of new works by Indonesian painter Robby Dui Antono and British painter Felix Treadwell. Both are the first solo exhibitions in London at this gallery.
“We can find anything in memory, like a pharmacy or chemical laboratory that, by chance, guides us to some soothing potions, some to dangerous poisons.” —Marcel Proust, Ephemeral Researcher, 1913-1927
When Proust’s narrator, Marcel, eats a piece of madeleine soaked in lime blossom tea, a process of reminiscence is triggered that brings back his past. First the narrator describes himself as shocked by the attention-grabbing way. I do not know what this sudden consciousness means, but I speculate that the taste of madeleines steeped in tea may have contributed to this amazing sensation. he tasted it again. A similar sensation arises. But by the third try, that feeling fades. After intense concentration, Marcel finally comes to understand why this tasting experience is so powerful. It is underpinned by long-buried memories that are gradually brought to the surface of consciousness. At this point the narrator recalls his Aunt Leonie’s bedroom. So she was soaking pieces of madeleines in lime blossom tea on Sundays. He recalls the old gray houses of Combray, the gardens, streets and squares of the small town. From the beginning, Marcel’s memory of his previous life overflows enormously. Dreams and memories – childhood, loneliness and salvation, moments of happiness, melancholy and ever-present shrouds of existential anxiety – are elements that infuse the work of both Dowy Antono and Treadwell, tie them up. It’s both poetic and unexpected.
The act of painting, which is central to their practice, is abundant here. Lines drawn with bold, sensual strokes trace the faint shapes of unconscious memories on the canvas and breathe new life into them. This is the private inner world, the unspoken, ungraspable thoughts that are often more vivid and deeper to us than our “real” world. This is a painting that I try to express.
Dowy Antono’s wild-eyed, childlike face, richly rendered in an acidic, almost neon palette of thick oilsticks, is oversized and wild, at times frightening and playful. , staring at us. Its disproportionate and irregular lines are full of energy. and immediacy, as his work is imaginative, naive, and spontaneous, depicting similar memories in Proustian detail that mark the beginnings of his artistic self. , very heartbreaking.
“When I was in elementary school, when I wanted to go out with my friends, I would visit my father’s blacksmith shop to ask for some money. In that little bamboo house, there was the distinctive smell of steel being heated in the shaping of household and farm tools, the rhythm of the rattling iron rods. It slowly became music in my ears: outside the workshop there was a large tree, in the shade of which customers sat on old teak benches, watching my father repair his tools. I used to pick up some charcoal from piles lying around waiting to be used as hot coal to soften iron.
Graffiti on the streets of the village. ”
He described these works as an attempt to retrieve the souls of children that may have been lost, visit memories that float to the surface, and dive deep into memories buried underground. Their vivid gestural power is reminiscent of his CoBrA his artist Karel Appel, who, like Dowy Antono, tried to recapture childhood restraints and evade adult logic and intellect. .
“All grown-ups were once children…but only a few remember them.”–Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince, 1943.
Felix Treadwell’s paintings have a wistfulness and a dreamlike sweetness. The site is flat and uniformly monochrome. His young hero figure’s limbs float with a sculptural presence, like those of Brancusi and Moore, filling the screen, but his head is small. Together or alone, they sit, stand, and move in the hopeful, childish wonder of a held rainbow. They float in space and are often wrapped and bound together in harmony. I seem to have found peace here, albeit somewhat depressing. “Perhaps in my work, I always go back to my childhood and adolescence and look at what I wanted and what I wanted to have, and how longing and nostalgia affect people. I think I was looking for something.”
The hypnotic, otherworldly presence of his figures stems in part from the flowing movements created by combining spray and acrylic paints in a deliberately subdued palette. In their stasis and semi-abstract form they are the exaggerated details of Domenico Gnoli, the eccentricities of Zebedee, Armintrud and Dougal in the British children’s television series The Jujutsu Kaisen (BBC, 1965). It reminds me of innocence and awkwardness, and reminds me of more than just aesthetics. It’s post-digital, but equally deceptive in its simplicity. These pared-back works are an antidote to the speed and plethora of images we are exposed to daily through social and other media, allowing moments of slowing down, quiet contemplation, and our intentions. The simple simplicity is calming and relaxing.