Gathered under the title Back Door Arcadia, Orlando Mostyn Owen’s recent paintings, made after a stay in Naples and Palermo, express the impossibility to represent the Golden Age.
There is a nostalgic dimension to the way in which he travels through history, searching for the traces inscribed in the Italian landscape, a combination of vestiges and modernity.
The canvasses present zones of trouble that challenge all harmony and order. The space suggested belongs to a staggering world, close to chaos: “Fields covered with Etruscan tombs and condoms, Romanian and Nigerian prostitutes on the side of the road, sliced by the whiteness of the sun and the blackness of the shadow, here are our ‘forest nymphs’...” (Orlando Mostyn Owen)
The paintings evoke the survival of Antiquity, for instance through the figures of the Minotaur or Ariadne, or through these forest landscapes inhabited by curious “survivors” in a dense, sensual and mysterious intermingling.
What secret hides behind these disenchanted visions of a forever lost Arcadia? The work evokes an unquestionable decadence close to that of a modern Max Beckmann.
Artist interviewed by Elizabeth Couturier