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Mondongo: Conceptual Art
Piers Fawkes, PSFK
Piers Fawkes, PSFK on October 13, 2006. @piers_fawkes

Mondongo emerges onto the Argentine art scene amidst the splatter of cultural alternatives and proves to be one of the more positive results of the recent crisis. They espouse a group aesthetic, working closely; almost incestuously, together; sharing ideas, playing with them, pushing them around, abandoning them, and then putting into practice whatever passes the test – literally a three-pronged test that satisfies their intellectual concerns with regards the history of the medium of painting and the production of images in a society such as our own.

Even more interesting is their their stance on reality, and their ironic predisposition to almost anything that life serves up, a kind of modish liteness infused with critical distance. In other words, it is a conceptual process that depends as does so much contemporary practice on the rhetoric of irony for making its points, or perhaps even more specifically on parody and pastiche. They seek to undermine systems, whatever the form, whether it be the myth of the individual artist, the author as author-ity: the idea of institutional power; or the art system itself. And they do so by rooting themselves in the popular, in the glitter of the tawdry or in the products of the super-market. It is here that they find their material in what we might call the ground level zero of consumer society – trinkets, cookies, sausages, jelly babies, threads, etc. You name it they’ll use it.

Red-HoodMondongo makes their own portrait gallery where each work combines a play between material and personality: the portarit of the passionate Ruth Benzacar is constructed from matches; Britney Spears with supermarket price tags as a mass consumption pop icon; David Bowie from his brand of make-up as a glamour rock idol of the seventies; the Spanish Royal Family from small mirror fragments that suggest opulence and glitter, but also potentially carry an ironic message about Colonial power referring to the period when the Spanish Empire was built on trading glass beads for gold and also to the present moment when Argentina is living a second imperial invasion by Spanish business enterprise! These are quick takes but they revive an abandoned genre.

Mondongo

Contributed by Hernando Gómez Salinas

TOPICS: Arts & Culture
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Piers Fawkes, PSFK

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Piers Fawkes is the founder and editor-in-chief of PSFK, a daily news site that provides a go-to source for new ideas and inspiration. He also is president of PSFK Labs.

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