Mapping the Corporeal by Ronald Ventura


Ronald Ventura – Mapping the Corporeal

The physical presence of zoomorphic and anthropomorphic figures might raise a few eyebrows, especially when it looks like Gunter von Hagens Body World meets Lewis Carroll’s darker version of Alice in Wonderland or a softer version of Damien Hirst cut-up animal corpses. 

The work’s focus seems to be the mafia-like characters created by the artist, existing as scaled models, in paintings, and in silhouette cut-outs. Mapping the Corporeal, seems to be suggesting the study of the human figure and its transformation into something else. This something else, like the personification of animals in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, might be intended to reveal the artist’s understanding of the human psyche, and our understanding of animal behaviours and traits.

What is intriguing about the exhibition is the number of variations, of zoomorphic characters, and their goth-like appearance. The silhouettes, like American artist Kara Walker, seem to suggest the works coming alive and roaming the gallery, casting shadows with their near invisible forms.

While the individual works are great and dandy in the expressive graphic sense, the relatively homogenous pockets of ‘installations’ or painting spill-outs do not stand out. The presentation of the works is probably second to the intention of the artist, it is inhibited by the scale of the paintings and posters. The chosen scale relates better to the human figure better, in a more intimate smaller room setting, than a larger, taller gallery white cube space. These are almost too conservative in placement, and lighting, and failing to ignite the aurae these anthropomophic characters possess.  

While Mapping the Corporeal was technically well executed and considered, the individual symbolism, arrows and motif would need to be decoded and ascribed one’s own meaning, with the aid of one’s references to fantasies, pop art, and a dash of surrealism. The human body may indeed be a manifestation of one’s psyche, more than just a vessel of flesh and blood. 

NUS Museum, 5 September – 16 November 2008 Opening: 11 September 2008, 6pm


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