AD gallery presents on its two floors two solo shows at the same time:
· that of Manuel Ocampo (b. 1965, Quezon City, Philippines). Ocampo’s work had a strong impact both in Europe and the USA when it was presented by Jan Hoet in Documenta IX in Kassel (1992) as well as in the Venice Biennial (1993, 2001 & 2017).
· that of Mihael Milunovic (b. 1967, Belgrade, Serbia). Milunovic’s work, which brings to mind the painting of the New Leipzig School (Neo Rauch, Matthias Weischer, Tim Eitel, etc.), is related with the climate of post-war Yugoslavia and the defeat of utopia.
In a context of a worldwide crisis, what should be the role of art? In the show recent works are being presented by both artists, who resolutely chose to take a stance. It is in fact not surprising that both come from countries torn by colonial stigmata, harsh regimes and wars. Their works put into question ideological orders (cultural, religious, political). They deconstruct and expose the ambiguous function of ideological symbols in the construction of identity. The two artists build fantastic worlds, which acquire a quality of hyperrealism, mirroring the identitarian tensions that characterize our society.
Ocampo’s universe conveys a jubilant sarcasm that explodes in our faces, while Milunovic’s work has a form of insinuative coldness that sends shivers down our spines. The works of the two artists, although presented as two separate solo exhibitions, create two worlds that deeply resonate.
Manuel Ocampo brilliantly mixes sacred baroque religious iconography with secular political narratives, and stages the cruel inhuman effects of controversial ideological symbols. Masterfully mixing the codes of “low brow” with references to “high art”, he exposes the comic vulgarity of the extreme situations he depicts.
Mihael Milunovic creates a deeply disquieting feeling that is more subterranean, an impression of a lurking threat. The manipulation of symbols as to make them unidentifiable (destroying their primary coalition function), the black holes and austere minimalist landscapes create a worrisome surreal universe. It is not a visceral scream, as in Ocampo’s work, but a disembodied and dehumanizing setting.