La Galleria Nazionale, Rome °

Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea | Viale delle Belle Arti 131
00197 Rome

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press release

From 22nd November 2012 to 24th February 2013, almost ten years since Luigi Ontani’s last solo show in a Roman public institution, the Hendrik Christian Andersen Museum is hosting the exhibition AnderSennoSogno featuring the works of this influential, major artist on the Italian and international scene.

A satellite gallery of the Soprintendenza alla Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea (GNAM), the Andersen Museum is a house-museum situated in the centre of Rome, where the works of the sculptor and painter Hendrik Christian Andersen are kept. The permanent collection is almost entirely devoted to Andersen’s utopian project of a “World Centre of Communication,” a kind of permanent workshop of ideas in all fields of knowledge. Starting from Luigi Ontani’s fascination and interest in the works in the museum and the figure of Hendrik Andersen, the exhibition AnderSennoSogno —curated by Luca Lo Pinto—is conceived as a kind of journey to rediscover Ontani’s less well-known works without aspiring to be a retrospective. Rather, the show is simply an adventure in the artist’s imaginary world, along a path shaped by various rhythms, times and spaces.

In the Gipsoteca, on the ground floor, all the musical masks produced in Bali over the last fifteen years will be shown in a special installation. Exhibited for the first time in their entirety, the masks will be arranged on Andersen’s monumental statues, which will thus be given a new lease of life as very special pedestals. For the occasion, the artist has sought the collaboration of an exceptional musician, Charlemagne Palestine, a leading exponent of avant-garde music and one of the most original performers and artists on the American scene in the 1960s and ’70s. Palestine will compose an ad hoc soundtrack for the installation, in which each mask will “play” through the re-elaboration of the recordings of the individual masks made by Ontani.

The other ground-floor room, the “gallery,” will host only one work: a large silk costume, decorated by the artist’s fantasies, will dialogue in theatrical style with the architecture of the room.

Installed in the various first-floor rooms is a thoroughgoing itinerary exploring Ontani’s early works, dating from the mid-1960s and early 1970s. These experimental works, some previously never exhibited, offer the opportunity to discover a hidden aspect of one of the best-known artists of our time and a model for many subsequent generations of artists.

In concomitance with the exhibition, a publication, conceived as a hybrid of a catalogue and artist’s book, will be produced, along with a limited edition series of posters and a multiple (33 T-shirts hand-drawn by the artist).

“Luigi Ontani’s journey began way back in a distant time and continues today. It is a journey in search of an image, of an identity, as ardently sought after as it is easily abandoned in order to reach a world once more made of parenthesises and not fixed points. Hungering so much after self that it even consumes its own shadow. His body appears and disappears in thousands of stories and in so many characters living in worlds in which the boundary between reality and fantasy seems to vanish. The desire to escape from the world we are born into drives him to create many different, ideal worlds that are so fervently desired as to become real.

To cross my t’s and dot my O’s, I decided to open up childhood’s trunks and show the games of the young Luigi. When seen through the adult eyes, those games become serious. Stories that make History.” –Luca Lo Pinto

Thanks to Fondazione Nomas and a private collection.

only in german

Luigi Ontani. AnderSennoSogno

Luigi Ontani

Luca Lo Pinto

H.C. Andersen Museum, Rom