Ventura , Ronald b.1973 / Carne Carnivale
about this work

'Carne Carnivale' is from a series of works that take inspiration from the intense, often quite bloody rites that are still performed during Lent in certain parts of the Philippines, such as San Pedro Cutud in Pampanga province. There, penitents gather during Holy Week for public events, not officially sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church, in which Christ’s passion and crucifixion are re-enacted, with penitents flagellating themselves using bamboo sticks tied to a rope, or spending hours nailed to wooden crosses.

Ventura has long been fascinated with how tradition and faith shape identity in his native Philippines, and the ways in which the powerful influences of contemporary global pop culture continue the process of cultural syncretism that has been active in the country since the beginning of Spanish colonialism in the 16th century. In 'Carne Carnivale', Ventura incorporates Caravaggio’s painting 'Flagellation of Christ' with imagery from vintage carnival posters and figures of acrobats with animal heads. Commenting on how the rituals have become a type of tourist attraction Ventura overlays the phrase “The Greatest Show on Earth,” a well-known advertising slogan for Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus, on top of the image of Christ on the cross. Known for his unusual combination of motifs, the acrobats with human bodies and animal heads prancing around the canvas refer to his 'Zoomanities' sculpture series. These combined elements emphasize Ventura’s sentiments in this statement about the Lenten rites, “What was supposed to be a solemn ritual has become a feast. A feast of flesh, so to speak. It’s a party, a happy event, a platform for talented Pinoys. Christ showed his power in conquering death. Men, too, would want to do a showcase of sorts.”  

'The skin of his subjects can become an expressive surface, with tattoo drawings adding a new layer of meaning. Over the years he has developed a menagerie of what he calls “zoomanities” — human subjects with animal attributes, and vice versa — based on early 17th-century etchings of humanized animals he once saw.' Sonia Kolesnikov- Jessop from the New York Times

The commingling of iconographic references present in Endless resurrection, which range from the past (Caravaggio, Bosch, Michelangelo) to folklore, all the way to betrayed traditions, finds its motive in the concept of resurrection, understood as a metaphor of an artistic practice that leads to the continuous regeneration of art. The works included in the exhibition put into play the metaphor of the skin as a casing upon which reactions to social distress are impressed, as well as the substratum of violence and aggression, ever-present in individuals.

Concentrating on the excessive theatricality of Catholic rites, Ventura notes how, in an attempt to atone for a fault or express gratitude to god for a received grace, individuals transmute a spiritual yearning into a form of violence against themselves. Among the paintings that testify this ambiguous form of catharsis, Carne Carnival (2014) is illustrative of how both images and rituals inevitably mislay their true relationship with the religious meaning of the narrative to which they make reference.

By superimposing a circus scene upon Caravaggio's Flagellation of Christ (1607-08), Ventura focuses on several aspects of religious celebrations which,l turned into habi, allolt the ritual's most orgiastic aspects to emerge. These very aspects intrigue and iattract tourists who hasen to attend self-flaggellations during the Holy Week in htephillippines with the smae spirit with which tjhey might watch a circus performance. In "Carne Carnivale" we catch a glimpsodf the phrase. "Greatest show on Earth," taken from the slogan printed on posters for tye

Ronald Ventura (b.1973, Philippines)

Carne Carnivale , 2014

Oil on canvas
183 x 122 cm.
72 1/16 x 48 1/16 in.
Tyler Rollins Fine Art, New York NY, USA  Current Location:
Hong Kong - S PaintingSouth Asia


Art Stage Singapore: Tiroche DeLeon Selling Exhibition
Art Stage Singapore
01/25/2018 - 01/28/2018

E:R (Endless Resurrection)
Tyler Rollins Fine Art
September 2014 - October 2014


Tolla Duke Sloane , “Collecting Art” Spotlight on Southeast Asia
Art & Museum Magazine (Magazine), April 2018
View Publication »

ART STAGE Singapore 2018 Innovates Art Fair Concept
BLOUIN ARTINFO (Online), January 24 2018
View Publication »

Demetrio Paparoni, Ronald Ventura: Works 1998-2017
Skira (Catalogue), 2018
View Publication »

Aaron De Silva, Setting the Stage
Robb Report Singapore (Magazine), January 2018

Serge Tiroche
Artnow (Magazine), November 2016
View Publication »

Cocoy Lumbau , Wasak! Filipino Art Today
Distanz (Catalogue), December 2015, pp. 189

Artwork History
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