Luigi Ontani (b. 1943) holds a singular position in the contemporary art landscape. Dealing since the beginning of the 1970s with such notions and topics as identity and sexuality, the sacred and the profane, the hybrid and the kitsch, and Occidental and Oriental cultures, he creates a corpus of art works that are qualified by their polymorphous aspect and their denial of boundaries. Whether in his photographic portraits in which he impersonates Leonardo, Dante, Pinocchio, or San Sebastian, in his ceramic or papier-mâché sculptures, in his large paintings, or in his early video works, he affects a new reading of art history, post-modernism, and appropriation strategies.
This volume features essays by Castello di Rivoli Co-Director Andrea Bellini, literary historian Andrea Cortellessa, and art historian Jean-Christophe Ammann, as well as a complete chronology of the artist. The singularity and importance of Luigi Ontani, an elusive artist who leads us on a "trans-historic" travel through myth, masquerade, the symbol and iconographic representation, are explored.