Created in cooperation with Thai artists, this work could be seen as a universal representation of the artist’s soul. The fusion of heterogeneous languages is evident and, expressed through a plurality of means, shows the atemporal nature of the artist’s art. Past and present merge in a whirl of personal memories, western myths, folk traditions, and oriental iconography.
AlnusThaiAureaSiam is an alder tree with masks.
Accompanied by Professor Kanokwan Rittipairoj of Silpakorn University, Academy of Arts founded in 1933 by the Italian Feroci (1892-1962). In search of the heirs of the Siam tradition. Created with Professor Tabthip Kaewduangyai. Western/eastern hybridisation through mythological affinity (St. Sebastian and Arjuna, CommUOVOAltrove and Noè FeroceMente). These are helmet masks made using casts of the artist’s face/person but transformed into identities and iconologies. The author uses the theme of the mask to extrapolate various representations from their cultural and historical context and then present them to the observer. In Thai culture, masks play a spiritual role in traditional ceremonies. In this work, they are the protagonists of a complex story that has the expressive potential to create an infinite assembly of narrations.The use of decorations that adorn the work tells of the fusion of east and west, Orient and Occident. At the same time, there is a direct connection to the artist’s first works ever displayed, the so-called “oggetti pleonastici” (pleonastic objects). The second cycle was created with dancers from Bangkok’s Academy of Music and Dance, with support from Thai Box champions. It required observing the ritual before they fight and then creating hand masks to fit the symbolic movement paying homage to the artist, to the albino elephant and to vanity. This cycle also involved creating a short film in a wooden temple – it began life 100 years ago but is still going – of syncretic art by the sea, directed by Ekachai Uekrongthan, but then presented as a performance at the Auditorium della Musica in Rome. “VivArte”. And if you were wondering…yes, the work is covered in genuine snakeskin from 300 animals. These start from the lotus flower at the base and cover the entire tree, as well as the power cable for the little light that is actually an eye in the alder.
BugiEtà is a very specific mask in which Ontani “constructs”, around the chaos/order dualism, the contrast between Pinocchio – irrationality – and a figure recalling ancient philosophers – symbol of rationality. The eyes in the mask (honey and blue) are a clear reference to the final stained-glass window in the council chamber, where the central lunette has an eagle at the top, with wings adorned with the same eyes.
NoèFeroceMente is a mask in which the artist deliberately pays homage to Corrado Feroci, the founder of the Academy of Fine Arts in Bangkok and father of modern Thai art. He does this using animals that are exotic and ferocious (after all, the work is dedicated to Feroci), stylistic elements, and quotes from the monument in the circle in the old square in Bangkok.