Her first drawings, around 2010, when she decided to fill the faces of people around her and that were no longer close to her with gems was, in her words, the best way to crystallize them. Erasing the face and hands of a person in order to give them a skin of jewels was, for Rondolini, the way to preserve the appearance of things right before they are destroyed.
In her most recent work she addresses that intimate reflection regarding the inevitability of the passage of time and our vain strategies to prevent it from becoming a declaration on pop culture and the art market today. The inclusion of pop figures like Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga in her drawings and the presentation of rotting fruits with plastic gems stuck to them are, today, Rondolini´s goal. “The market is what gives value to things and people. It is what sets values: what’s pretty, what’s new, what’s beautiful, what’s young, what’s nice… what is luxurious and shiny. To what extent are those desires appropriate or created by the need to sell things?” Luciana wonders.
What connection is there between the image of a far away friend and Justin Bieber in a magazine? Both are impossible wishes, they freeze the image of an unsatisfied wish. And, the market itself thrives and is fuelled from that type of wish, which is Rondolini’s main concern.
However, those drawings that are reproduced here, and a large part of this artist’s work, are better thought of as installations than as simple drawings or sculptures. These drawings displayed on the wall are accompanied by the same rotting fruits covered in plastic gems. According to the artist’s own words, this form of displaying them is a burlesque commercial presentation: the valuable objects (but in the middle of putrefaction), and the representations of subjects bearing the same material. The key here, like in an advertising stand, is the force of the presentation.
But in truth, the difference is in how you get to the image: in the pieces based on photographs of friends, the image is the product of the wish constructed with time and essentially the experiential memories; thus the hand is guided by several factors. In turn, in the drawings of pop icons, like she has said, that idealization is ridiculed. The base images that she uses for these pieces are, like the pop icons themselves, images that are already built, repeated and able to be republished. On top of this, the jewels are no longer a wish to freeze a moment but rather a critique of values. This is a difference that ,in a certain way, Rondolini also finds when she states the differences between the work she did for years as a graphic designer and the artist that moves about today: ¨When I was a graphic designer, my first thought was always what I was going to say and later I looked for how to say it, and now I am trying little by little to do what I feel, what I love to do and afterwards see what it is that I want to say thereon.” The advertising finalism versus the intuition and the artistic need.
However, there’s another difference. The wishes that are constructed as the basis of a work of art, and that are unsatisfied, at least leave the work itself in the path, while the wish that the market makes only leaves remnants of unused objects in the path that aren’t very aesthetic and political by themselves.
Because of that, Rondolini’s work doesn’t try to only be an opinion on the market in general, but also an action regarding the art market in particular. Why buy fruit if we know it will disappear after a short while?
When we go into depth on the possible reasons of why Rondolini’s work can be purchased, –those rotting fruits with plastic gems– we can be faced with three desires: those scholars, who purchase the work as a consequence of the need to support the ephemeral, in opposition to what last in the artistic market; those who buy the work due to their strong connection with the subject and genre of vanitas and its “ethical message”; or those who buy the work simply for its beauty, for its brilliance and for its novelty. That is when the question for a more changeable and elusive art can’t wait. “What will happen (what will we do) when some Justin Bieber fan puts up one of Rondolini’s pieces on their wall? Maybe what we must remember and repeat out loud at that moment are the words of Umberto Eco as a warning: “A democratic civilization will only be saved if it makes the language of the image a challenge for reflection and not an invitation to hypnosis.”
Arte al Límite Magazine, Santiago de Chile, 2015