Heri Dono @ Rossi & Rossi, London

Heri Dono - Madman Butterfly, a series of new works, will open on Thursday at Rossi & Rossi gallery in London.

The artist is widely considered to be the foremost contemporary artist in Indonesia today.

After graduating from the Indonesian Institute of Arts in Yogyakarta, Dono trained with the puppet master Sukasman in wayang kulit, the traditional art of shadow puppetry. This puppet experience has imbued his practice, that often tackles political themes.

This show in London will be his first in the UK since Blooming in Arms in 1996 at the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford.

Dono’s interest in comics and cartoons as well as the more traditional art forms of shadow puppetry, Javanese wayang stories on scrolls and reverse glass painting known as lukisan kaca, are all evident in his work.

In this most recent paintings, large canvases are peopled with strange hybrid creatures, part human/part animal; automatons, clowns, cartoon and folkloric characters engage in a series of surreal and often apparently demented acts in a dynamic world bursting with colour and event. Cloaked beneath the frenetic imagery, often hilariously and riotously comic where the fantastical and the absurd collide with the everyday, the paintings mine a deeper substrata of meaning, often politically subversive and dealing with the darker side of human nature.