Curated by: Elena Volpato
The GAM of Turin dedicates its space called Wunderkammer to the exhibition of contemporary works for the first time, and perhaps no other artist could more than Luigi Ontani restore its many original meanings to that name. Ontani (Vergato, 1943) has been creating around himself numerous Chambers of Wonders, starting from the end of the Sixties when he composed his Room of Similes. Throughout his life he redesigned the space of his various studios and homes down to the smallest decorative details. He made his works of him a pervasive proliferation of symbols and forms with which to give life to a microcosm imbued with his imaginary him. This exhibition is also an environment-world crossed by a single allegorical garland of countless figures and meanings, sacred and profane, of the culture of the East and the West.
They are simulacra intertwined with each other by the principle of analogy and by syncretic taste that respond from one end of the room to the other taking the form of sculpture, watercolor photograph, lenticular image, mask, puppet from theater of theater. shadows or watercolor. There are more than 130 works on paper on display which Ontani has reworked in the last two years, completing and painting ink drawings made in the 1980s and 1990s. The corpus is made up of several series. Many are nudes traced live, in front of the model, but no naturalism has space in these works. The lines intertwine with it. They twist and come back, narcissus, on themselves. Everything is elegantly calligraphic, exotic with convolutions. The limbs of the boys portrayed are metamorphosed into legs of Ganesha, into golden eggs, into alder leaves, into newt's tails. Even the sensual flower of Alam Jiwa, from which the exhibition takes its title and from which Ontani adorns a unitary series of 18 watercolors, is a transfiguration of itself.