Category: Curatorial



3 November to 3 December 2012

A journey to Wounderland

An artwork is a product of its era. Time and place frame the work, sparking its inital idea, nurturing its many transformations until that idea solidifies and turns into form. This spatio-temporal frame implies that the work is a historical being: it is a living being, breathing and vibrating, intimately entwined with the pulsations of its era.

Through experiencing time and place, we make sense of our everyday world, a world full of forgotten images. The everyday is a container filled with overlooked mental images: dreams, memories, reveries. Unlike dreaming, however, daydreams are anchored firmly to the actual: in order to daydream, we must be fully ‘awake’. Tied to the real world but goes beyond it, daydreams are both real and unreal. This paradoxical nature of daydreams is its richness. For Arkiv Vilmansa, the creative process begins with daydreaming. It is where his cartoon figures come from, before they inhabit the world of matter: the world of canvases, brushes and paints.

Looking at his paintings, can we still say that daydreams and reveries are mere escapism, incapable of leaving a mark on our everyday world? Vilmansa’s works scream ‘no’. Escaping the real, journeying to the unreal, only to return to that initial world, daydreams leave powerful impressions that lead Vilmansa to put a dot in that canvas, turn those dots into sinuous lines, and enliven them with bold, brazen colours. From daydreams to matter; from childhood fascination with cartoons to artworks that succesfully capture the vitality and surreality of popular culture.

His striking use of non-representational, blocked, flat colours exemplify this. Along with curved lines, these daring colours bring Vilmansa’s works together. In these works, colour is the element that fully speaks of the popular culture – especially cartoons – that continues to inspire him. It embodies the classic postmodern adage, that ironic kitsch is an important form of critique, in resisting the idea that art needs to be separated from the world of excessive consumerism and mass culture.

An artwork responds to an era by telling us of the artist’s own history. In Vilmansa’s paintings, past endeavours as an architect and a graphic designer reveal themselves clearly. The present never stray far away from the past. An earlier interest in vector
graphics manifest itself in energetic curves that now signify his style. The visual effect that the trademark curved lines give is a vivid sense of movement. It is the mark of an artist evolving in a significant way, when traces of his past are plainly visible in his current work.


About Arkiv Vilmansa

Arkiv Vilmansa is a painter, illustrator and designer. Following the success of ‘Arkiv Instant’ and his redesigned Mickey Mouse for Disney Asia, he has been invited to do projects with OTWS Vans, PangeaSeed and Oceanic Awareness Collaboration. His works have been showcased extensively in Jakarta, London, Manila and most recently held his second solo exhibition in Los Angeles, USA with Toy Art Gallery.

Architecture graduate turned urban artist, it is no wonder that Arkiv’s intricate attention to details and lines is reflected in figurative cartoon characters through his signature contours of fluidity and smooth entwinements of kaleidoscopic colors.

Most recently, he has treaded on new waters: fashion. Arkiv was invited by OffTheWallSite (OTWS) this August, to customize Vans and a unique edition Arkiv x OTWS burgundy T-shirt limited to only 60 pieces worldwide. In giving back to society, Arkiv painted ‘Calling Out In the Dark, inspired by sharks for PangeaSeed, an organization based in Tokyo, Japan wholly dedicated towards educating and raising global awareness on the plight of sharks and the destruction of their habitat.

Witness the continued genesis of emotional depth and quirkiness that never ceases to exist in Arkiv’s fantasized world when he incorporates his famed solid and captivating colors with the injection of chromatic gradients. Expect a flamboyant mirage of painted canvases and sculpted figurines that morphs into the battlegrounds of the great cartoon showdown in history. Together, they will teleport you into Arkiv’s extrinsic world like never before.

Published: December 15, 2012

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