Arts & Rats : A Tale of Two Ages

Milena Carbone and Bryn Oh collaborate to create a small exhibit that is rich in meaning and which will provoke you to think deeply about the message it seeks to convey.

In many ways, art is a personal statement. It reflects many things about the artist who has created it. The artist’s emotions and opinions often have a very profound impact on each artwork. Milena Carbone is someone who I have admired ever since I first came upon her work – American Shot – at the Nitroglobus Gallery. So when she invited me to visit a collaborative exhibition between her and none other than Bryn Oh, I knew I was going.

The first thing which makes Arts and Rats different from other exhibitions and installations I have written about is that this one is not in a gallery. It has been installed in a beautiful structure on the rather scenic grounds of a chateau amid sublime natural surroundings. The exhibit consists of nine artworks by Milena Carbone, each made using one of Bryn’s creations, mostly from her Mythical Creatures series.

Arts & Rats” by Milena Carbone and Bryn Oh

Mythical creatures and powerful brands of the present day – did you ever think they would fit so perfectly in a single frame? I certainly did not; but it is the magical touch of Milena Carbone that makes this possible.

Arts and Rats is perhaps the only exhibition in which Milena has been inspired by the exhibition space itself. The exhibit is housed in a beautiful greenhouse constructed in the Art Nouveau style. The first thing that comes to mind in such a case is classical work to suit the environment. But Milena does something even more exciting. Through her exhibits, she attempts to draw a parallel between the modern and postmodern periods.

The golden or silver framing of each artwork is characteristic of the unique Art Nouveau style that defines the exhibit. Milena draws a striking parallel between the two periods in question is by comparing the power of wealthy multinational corporations today to that of nations during the Modern age.

Arts & Rats” by Milena Carbone and Bryn Oh

In each artwork, she uses Bryn’s mythical creatures and the logos of some well-known corporations to drive her point home. Some creatures like the unicorn are quite well known while others like the Ogopogo might be completely new to you.

The association of mythical creatures with some popular brands was an idea which popped into Milena’s head only after a chance encounter with Bryn. She very kindly allowed Milena access to all her creations to use in pictures as well as in the actual exhibit. You can actually see some of them within the exhibition space itself.

Arts and Rats is an extremely powerful statement by Milena about globalization, modernization and corporate greed in today’s world. It will make you think deeply about several issues and contemplate on the fundamental idea of the exhibition – have things really changed, or has there simply been a power shift from empires and nations to greedy, dominant corporations?

Click HERE to visit Arts and Rats, a collaborative exhibition by Milena Carbone and Bryn Oh, at Chateau de la Marliere.

Tip : At the exhibition space, you can also schedule a visit with Milena who will be happy to accompany you and provide more insights about the exhibition.