The end sensed in the Mirror I M Carolina Baulo I 2018

It is a constant in contemporary art to put in check all the criteria of truth embedded in time, regulators of morals and customs; break with any kind of imposition of forms, thoughts and ideals of life to which we should aspire to feel part of an elite or group of belonging. Reflecting on beauty in life and art, putting in crisis the concept of durability in time and perpetuation through material possessions –weighted by the market and consumerism– are clear objectives in the work of visual artist Luciana Rondolini (Buenos Aires, 1976), who a few days ago opened FIN, her first solo show, at the Del Infinito gallery.

Rondolini –studied at the National Institute of Art (IUNA)– transforms the gallery space into an experimentation platform that elegantly combines economic typical construction materials – such as plaster and stucco – with chains, handcuffs, pearls and bones, all presented by a color palette that goes from the subtlety of white to the extravagant of gold, characteristic in the low-cost bijouterie.

Mirrors are another of the constitutive elements of discourse: they are strategically located to produce a certain discomfort, returning reflections where objects stand in the way of the vain impulse of the spectator who searches for the image of his own face. The aesthetic choice emphasizes the contrast between the apparent objects of luxury and the materials that recreate that utopian world of values in force in a collective imaginary that sees in social status, power, beauty and youth a safe conduct to eternity.

The artist says: “I am interested in creating pieces that are attractive, using an everyday language, that of the market, where everything has to draw attention to be salable and the content does not matter but the surface. Everything enters through the eyes and is for sale.” And it is not a minor fact to «decorate» the objects with the plaster fillings worked with a pastry bag. The skulls, the gloved hands presented under those ornamental touches, appeal, on the one hand, to visual attraction and on the other, remind us again that this facade simply bathes and protects the content; it is the first thing that is destroyed when you want to access its true essence.

The entire exhibition proposal is a great mask: sumptuous objects are nothing more than mere trinkets, the walls flake off, exposing the fragility of the material that makes them up, and even some drawings that accompany the installations have their figures covered by a filling that It partially hides them from the inquisitive gaze of the viewer.

Although the works were designed especially for this exhibition, Rondolini continues a line of work that began years ago with a series of natural fruits embellished with plastic gems – giving them the appearance of precious stones – that were rotting over time. This practice was replicated with flowers and even with food. In FIN, the artist preferred to work on pieces whose duration could be extended a little more in time, despite the precariousness of the materials that compose them. Julián Mizrahi, director of the gallery, says of the artist’s work: “Rondolini is contemporary in the approach and traditional when it comes to technique. She shows that the pencil is an essential and traditional piece of Argentine contemporary art. In her work, drawing is something fundamental, the security in her line speaks of an artist without fear, who does not doubt. In the case of the FIN exhibition, the artist decided to occupy the gallery with objects from our daily lives, transporting them to her own aesthetic universe. Skulls, hands and pieces of masonry made with resignified basic and noble materials melt on the gallery walls or on their own reflection. Rondolini transfers the drawing to a white, monochromatic sculptural plane, with golden sparkles, close to an irony towards the same market where the work is inserted. The handling of both techniques makes the show, a complete concept that also includes two basic qualities in any art piece: work and poetry.”Doubts and primary fears inherent in the human being emerge from these forms. The eternal question about the limit between what we want to have or be and what really constitutes us as people and that is far from having commercial value, flies over the room. Luciana Rondolini’s work proposes us to reflect, as a kind of contemporary memento mori, on those values that still continue to mark our rhythm, already in the 21st century, as well as the new gods that emerge with other faces, other appearances and that come to replace the efforts we make to liquidate old idols imposed by the laws of consumerism. But as Marx’s famous sentence goes, «everything solid vanishes into thin air.» Faced with this, any attempt to eternalize materiality is a mission lost from the beginning.

Clarín Ñ Magazine, Buenos Aires, March 10, 2018.

© Luciana Rondolini 2021

© Luciana Rondolini 2021