New York

Luigi Ontani

Jack Tilton Gallery

Luigi Ontani first gained attention in Italy in the ’70s for photographs of himself posed in period costumes. By using the camera to explore the themes of identity and fantasy, he transformed the photograph into a container of fiction. Ontani’s investigation of fantasy, roles, states of innocent desire, and the manifestations of the masculine/feminine identity can be seen as a decisive influence on Francesco Clemente’s development. Although less known in America than Clemente, Ontani’s conceptual work of the ’70s and his evocative, fantasy-charged paintings and watercolors of the ’80s suggest that his evolution has been a significant force in recent Italian art and its move away from arte povera.

Ontani’s work focuses on human impulses of desire before they become differentiated. An artist with a cosmological vision, he does not depict scenes so much as a universe in which all kinds of

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.