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    Sale 2702

    Southeast Asian Modern and Contemporary Art

    24 May 2009, Hong Kong

  • Lot 53

    RONALD VENTURA (b. The Philippines 1973)

    Black parade

    Price Realised  


    RONALD VENTURA (b. The Philippines 1973)
    Black parade
    signed and dated 'ventura 2009' (lower left)
    oil on canvas
    84 x 60 in. (213.5 x 152.5 cm.)

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    Black parade which depicts a masked figure with the word toxic inscribed inversely across the mask is cleverly ironic, as well as bitingly sardonic. Ronald Ventura's wry assessment of contemporary culture manifests his goal of creating art that reflects a witty and insightful sensibility comes through vividly with the subject.

    With the same razor sharp insight that animated his paintings since the 1990s, Ventura continues to use a reduced monochromatic palette of black and white in this work to evoke a dark and sober atmosphere to illustrate his message: the chaos and void created in contemporary society as tradition and age old beliefs come to be challenged and displaced. Ventura's ability to reveal the deep truths hidden in plain sight by elevating the mundane is exemplified in the present piece. The uncertainties and anxieties of modern society are laid bare in the hands of the artist.

    Drawing source imagery from popular culture as he often does, the choice of the text 'toxic' lends a sense of familiarity to a contemporary audience as it is a commonly used design for clothing which resonates with a popular culture that is generally cynical and distrusting and has a penchant for the shocking and the horrific.

    Not one to shy away from the dark and the macabre, Ventura also hints at violence and possible apocalypse by choosing the word toxic to suggest disasters in faith, in the established system and institutions of contemporary living. The work also articulates an extraordinary world of fantasy and nightmare in which the dark masked figure collides with the cute and whimsical characters such as Mickey and Minnie, the celebrated animated characters who have come to embody a value system, one that is seen as the perfect world where all things end well and one that represents the most successful case of branding and merchandising in a consumerist society. It seems that the artist is suggesting that although the contemporary world is under siege and the end of world appears nigh, the potential for world-changing revolution also seems prescient and real.

    Expressed through a cabaret of diverse characters, some cute, some funny and some absurd, the multitude of figures that crowd Ronald Ventura's dark and powerful work inhibit a condensed world of myth and symbolism in which all choice appears to be consequential and all action heroic. Black parade allows for the artist to explore the prophetic possibilities of his own faith, it demonstrates Ventura's unsurpassed skill in illuminating zeitgeists in stark and beautiful terms with his practice of elevating the everyday language of the commonly seen into iconography.