The present lot, Mencari bentuk #3 (Finding form #3) depicts the unmistakable form of a house in a nondescript landscape surrounded by a pile of rock and boulders. The painting is the third amongst a trio where Mantofani has created a visual parable narrating the continuous physical realisation of a house from a pile of rocks; Mencari bentuk #3 (Finding form #3) depicts the most developed outcome where the house building process is nearly completed.
Even as the process of the house taking shape - finding its eventual form - is the thematic interest of the painter here, it is the house, in the symbolic significance it bears, that fascinates Mantofani who works meticulously to distil pictorial imageries as visual metaphors. Working in this mode, he distils lessons in life's conduct and thoughts and tells of simple truths emerging from wondrous visions.
The house within Mencari bentuk #3 (Finding form #3) becomes a bulwark against values and attitudes opposing strong will, continuity and a positive attitude - the latter set of values are those that have been invested into the building and eventual physical realisation of the house. Seen by dwellers that inhabit the house, its physical presence is also a symbol of protection, peace, serenity and hope for achievement in life. Stretching far out with a view of the horizon, encompassing the breadth of humankind, the landscape in which the house is set may be read as a continuous reassurance of equality - each individual human being bears equal chances and opportunities, and one's success is entirely dependent on one's own efforts.
Every pictorial element in his work is intently and meticulously derived, and always with the objective to enable the layperson to access and 'read' his works. An object placed before Mantofani's vision is transformed from the commonplace to the symbolically wondrous. Its essential character is processed and distilled in the artist's mind. What emerges is simplicity of truth that speaks eloquently not only of the object but more importantly of its relation to the philosophy of everyday life.