A postmodern vanitas I Laeticia Mello I 2013

In a similar line to that of the Young British Artists and of course Andy Warhol, Luciana Rondolini defies the boundaries of the art market. The exhibition Tiffany, held in the city of Rosario in 2011, was comprised of rotting fruit coated by gems placed on mirrors. That same year Rondolini exhibited in Buenos Aires  the Series My worst nightmares, where she portrayed characters of her childhood made with rotten fruit. Her graffitte drawings showed Pop culture icons covered with diamonds.

Luciana Rondolini or in her pseudonym of worship, Bambi, has become one of the most exciting and transgressive young artists  from Argentine art market today. Since her first appearance in the Gallery Ruth Benzacar with with Curriculum 0, up to the 2011 Petrobras Award held at ArteBa Fair, where she presented Cosmic calamity: a bicolor ice cream in human scale, this artist, graphic designer and incredible illustrator has earned an important place in the universe of young Latin American Art.

Rondolini proposes a new crack in the conceptions of contemporary art structures. The evolution of her work is simple. The artist buys fruits and gem stones. Ornaments each grapefruit, apple and banana or shell and half of them with fancy gems.
Stone placement takes several days. The smell of ripening fruit and putrefaction is inevitable and the artist lives every day with it. As a scapular or protection against the weakness that we humans suffer before death, Rondolini uses these works as memento mori amulet. Each fruit becomes then a little reminder of the transience of time.

It is inevitable to link Luciana’s work with Baroque Flemish vanitas. Symbolic paintings surrounded by decadent environments that describe an irreparabile tempus fugit moment. Vanitas or in english, vanity, is a term used to describe the transient nature of all goods and activities on Earth. Candles, jewelry, bubbles, crystals and musical instruments posing in dialogue with elements of living and dangerous nature as smoke, snakes, poisonous mushrooms, skulls and rotten and decaying fruit peels. The ephemeral nature of life denoted by hourglasses, butterflies or flowers. The beautiful, and yet deciduous nature of the brief and inevitable.
Luciana plays in the same way with the viewer’s senses: something that attracts attention from far by its beauty, brightness and color, but in the approach becomes a bitter smell, creating a conflict and contradiction. The subject that observes the pieces goes through its sensitive nature by feeling attraction and repulsion at the same level. Realizing so that, when acquiring them as part of their collection, it will  coexist with the process of transformation of something truly organic and intended for subsequent destruction.
Her work is focused on what is consumed, her pieces are sociological axes from human habitus where it is possible to read a strong critique of society and the way in which we follow fashions and masses.

Her graphite drawings reveal further this analysis of consumerism and hierarchy given to everything around us. In them, it is possible to see each opacity, transparency and the perfect octahedral fracture that constitute the diamonds that build the works she represents.

In an attempt to capture voracious love, cherish and remember people that she no longer sees around her, Rondolini covers their faces with all kinds of diamonds, in the same way painters did during the Renaissance when the portrayed was placed in front of the land they owned, their textiles, coins or their own heraldry. «Drawing people is a way to remember them, they become my own statues, I treasure, own and forget them…» says the  artist.

Of course, the choice of diamond is not arbitrary. In the words of the artist, it denotes an ambiguous meaning. On one hand, the valuable and enduring character that enhances the character of the portrayed, and in another aspect, the ridicule represented by diamond covering all their faces to the point of kitsch. Such is the case of her last jobs where we see Lady Gaga’s or Justin Bieber’s identity supressed by keeping only their distinctive costumes and hair accessories. An irony or satire of the fashion itself that raised popular culture icons. An attempt to transform them into invincible and unchanging as diamonds that enshrine, while the identity vanishes then, identifying ourselves, consumerists, one by one as a pop icon as well.

Arte al Límite Magazine, Santiago de Chile, 2013.

© Luciana Rondolini 2021

© Luciana Rondolini 2021