The artist wrote in the foreword of his catalogue Tanah Airku, My Country, Indonesia, Jakarta, 1990, "I am part of every subject I paint, I share the feelings, the happiness, the misery, the hunger or thirst, the rain, the heat. This is why I paint from memory, to be able to express my inner feelings more clearly, and why the lines in my paintings (are) often distorted."
Such emotive undertone is crucial in the understanding of Kerton's works. There are a number of trance dances among the traditional dances of Java. Kuda Lumping is one of them. Not unlike many of the other trance dances, Kuda Lumping is about the battle of good and evil. Masks are used by the dancers to pose as various spirits and the main characters are the horse-riding dancers. The name Kuda Lumping literally means 'flat horses'. Once into trance, the horse-riding dancers start behaving like horses and thence began their battle against the evil.
An activity of such intensity and drama is understandably a favourite subject of many artists, amongst them is none other but the celebrated Hendra Gunawan. Hendra's Kuda Lumping scene mainly accentuates the flamboyance and theatricality of the dance and the audience is often reduced to miniature figures in the background.
Kerton's preoccupation is completely different. "Kerton's paintings are multifaceted: they are exaggerated, hilarious, and poignant. They are about water and grain, people and animals, work and play; about times shared and times alone. They are suffused both with a quality of intimate, nostalgic involvement and the more distant perspective of the outsider. With their sharpness, humour, and local as well as universal levels of meaning, they are simultaneously about life in Indonesia and about human beings everywhere." (Astri Wright, Soul, Spirit, and Mountain: Preoccupations of Contemporary Indonesian Painters, Oxford University Press, Kuala Lumpur, 1994, p. 195).
Hence, the performance of Kuda Lumping is an event for everyone, both the performers and the audience. There is no obvious seclusion or highlight of the stage as with Hendra, instead one may say that there is no stage in the performance, or that everywhere is a stage, for wherever there is a space to watch the performance without there will be the standing, sitting or squatting audience, mingling almost merging with the performers.