The first exhibition of primitive art from Asia and Oceania organised by the Expowall gallery and curated by Mario Lupo, takes the visitor on a journey into the aesthetics and conceptual vision of some of the primary cultures of Asia and Oceania, a vast geographical area characterised by a great variety of people, religions, climatic conditions and social situations. 

Mario Lupo, graduated in Indonesian language and culture from ISMEO, has been travelling, studying and buying objects in Asia, especially South-East Asia, for the last thirty years. Sopecifically, Indonesia is the place where he has spent a consistent period of time. He has poured his expertise into the Italian market, and in particular the Milanese market, "trying to make every purchase by a collector a creative act".

The objects selected and exhibited, whether created for rituals, delight or everyday use, are mostly made of wood, raffia, wicker and stone. Despite the simplicity of the materials, the objects have great expressive power. Among these is a Jipae mask of the Asmat people (New Guinea, West Papua), about two metres high, used to represent the deceased ancestor returning to his village to receive food and hospitality. The ancestor and his family member dance all night until, having made peace, the ancestor makes his transition from the earthly sphere to that of the realm of the ancestors. 

A wonderful war shield of the Asmat is also on display. Asmat shields became popular thanks to Michael Rockefeller, who began collecting Asmat art in the early 1960s. The Rockefeller Wing at the Metropolitan Museum in New York holds a large collection of these objects.

Only in the last century did the West discover the aesthetic value of the artistic productions of Aboriginal cultures. In particular, there is widespread collecting of objects linked to ritual ceremonies which, for these cultures, are the manifestation of superior forces. Works of art take on a magical character, as elements of mediation between the spirit and the reality of man. For this reason, aboriginal artists are considered close to the divinities; they know how to capture the sacred aspects of nature, its hidden and mysterious aspects. Among the wooden sculptures on display, the figure representing the male deity of the Tharu (Nepal) sanctuaries, protector of the land and the village, stands out. In this sculpture, advanced geometric solutions blend with an extremely simple naturalistic appearance, and the metal inserts make it even more like a refined work of contemporary art.

Among the most curious objects are the Tapa Kapa (painted on bark) from Lake Sentani, the lutes of the Santal peoples, the Nagaland necklaces from the Sushil Kumar Chandola collection and above all the squeezers that give the exhibition its name. Zoomorphic squeezers from Himachal Pradesh (Himalayan area of northern India) dating from the end of the 19th century/first half of the 20th century, used for fruit and citrus fruits in particular.

Italian citrus fruits also originate from the foothills of the Himalayas and spread about 4 million years ago.

Exhibited artists

All Exhibited Artists