Luigi Ontani at Accademia Nazionale di San Luca, Rome

To celebrate the awarding of the Premio Presidente della Repubblica 2015 to Luigi Ontani, the Academy has invited the artist to devise an exhibition featuring works from each period of his career to date, ranging from the tableaux vivants of the early 1970s to his recent ErmEstEtiche, some of which have been created specifically for SanLuCastoMalinIconicoAttoniTὀnicoEstaEstE᾽tico and are exhibited here for the first time.
The rooms of Palazzo Carpegna host approximately 60 works: Ontani’s early works are on show in the rooms on the ground floor of the building, with the exhibition continuing up along Borromini’s helical ramp and culminating on the third floor in the rooms of the Academy’s Gallery, the itinerary permitting a rich dialogue with the works in the Academy’s historical collections.
In the ‘living iconographies’ of his celebrated tableaux vivants, Ontani himself becomes a simulacrum, taking on the guise of a series of figures from history, mythology, literature and popular culture, including Raphael, Leonardo and St. Luke. The exhibition also features the hand-coloured photographs of journeys and sojourns in the Far East (from 1972 onwards) in which the colours and traditions of the Orient infuse his work. His work of the 1980s is characterized by experiments with other materials including papier-mâché, wood, ceramics and Murano glass, with which Ontani transposes into sculpture the themes of the mask and of the hybridization of gods and idols that he had previously explored in his photographic work. The exhibition continues with examples of his Anamorpose (lenticular photographic prints that he began creating in 2000), furniture and ‘domestic’ objects created in ceramics and glass, and then, in conclusion, the ErmEstEtiche, Canopi and BellimBusTi series in ceramics.

by Luigi Ontani

Accademia Nazionale di San Luca, Rome
Through September 22