Ontani in Bali

Emanuele Trevi, Giovanna Silva



  • Humboldt Books
  • 2016
  • ISBN 9788899385163
  • 136 pages, color
  • Softcover, Hotfoil
  • 23 × 15.4 × 1.2 cm

Luigi Ontani is considered one of the greatest living Italian artists. A painter and sculptor, for decades he has worked on the themes of the myth, the mask and the symbol in various forms. One of the most legendary yet least documented aspects of his activity is the work that he carries out in Bali, where he lives for several months each year. In March 2014, the writer Emanuele Trevi and the photographer Giovanna Silva lived with him for a few weeks, thereby witnessing the preparation of an Ogoh Ogoh, a carnival float decorated for the Nyepi, the day of silence. The fate of the Ogoh Ogoh is then to be burnt. The writer intertwines his own reflections on the theme of the myth around this brief parable, taking part in a moment in which history, legend and the contemporary world all blur together, and making this the starting point for his account of events. Instead, using a range of photographic techniques, Silva documents the tale of the Ogoh Ogoh, taking part in a ritual which up until now had been virtually unknown.

Emanuele Trevi, writer, essayist and literary critic, is one of the most important yet unclassifiable authors on the Italian literary scene. Shortlisted for the Premio Strega 2012, Qualcosa di scritto – along with Il libro della gioia perpetua – is one of the volumes destined to stand out in 21st-century Italian literature. He is also the author of literary reportages on India (L’onda del porto) and reflections on the theme of the journey (Il viaggio iniziatico). He writes for the Corriere della Sera newspaper.

Giovanna Silva previously published Tutta la solitudine che meritate with Humboldt Books: a journey to Iceland together with Claudio Giunta, now in its third print. She has also produced reportage books focusing on the American deserts, on post-war Libya, as well as on Italian and European discotheque buildings (Nightswimming). In 2014 she took part in the Architecture Biennale of Venice.

Illustrations: Luigi Ontani