February 14, 2016 - MAXXI - National Museum of 21st Century Arts - Mondongo
February 14, 2016

MAXXI - National Museum of 21st Century Arts

Mondongo, Argentina (landscape), 2009/2013. Plasticine on wood, 200 x 4500 cm.

February 9–March 15, 2016

Opening: February 9, 7pm

MAXXI - National Museum of 21st Century Arts
Via Guido Reni 4A
00196 Rome italy
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 11am–7pm


After great success at the Museum of Modern Art in Buenos Aires and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, MAXXI is hosting in the museum’s Spazio D the first Italian exhibition of the Argentine group MONDONGO composed of Julianna Laffitte and Manuel Mendanha.

Mondongo’s work is stunning: it has visual power, tactile sensuality, and constantly bears witness to a social concern that comments on the miseries, abuses, and the increasing gap between the “haves and the have-nots.” Mondongo addresses the immense pockets of poverty and alienation on the outskirts of the city, and the corrupt manipulations of power that infect Argentinean life.

The impact of this extraordinary series is one of visual saturation: image overload, closing us in with the natural cycles of birth, decay, and rejuvenation where life re-emerges out of putrefaction. The beauty of the images comes through from some kind of primal chaos and swamps us, just as the land itself is swamped and underwater every year as a result of seasonal storms and floods.

Their versions of these landscapes overwhelm us with the kind of immediate presence that they themselves must have felt when they first encountered them. I am talking of a sense of awe, the suggestion of fear, mystery, and wonder before the world. They have scale and presence; they impinge and surprise. They are alive; now and again they serve as a home to fragmentary chips of the symbolic and the allegorical. They are poor but indisputably seductive.

The "Skull" series is littered with art historical references, quotes, associations, small jokes, and metaphorical allusions. Things accumulate as they do in life, amass and contradict each other, qualify or simply rub up against each other. We find ourselves bombarded by an overwhelming multitude of visual stimuli, akin in my mind to the intentions of open field verse where the fragmentary perceptions have to be both energy inputs and energy discharges, permitting fecund associations open to both literal and figurative meanings.

It hardly needs saying that the process of making these infinite miniatures that pile up in the visual field is painstaking and laborious. Time becomes part of the experience of these works—time to read the details, time to absorb their impact. The conceptual ideas, however, that initially motivated the piece have changed. It is a kind of day-book that incorporates and embodies shifts in emphasis or changes in direction whilst, at the same time, retaining traces of the original intent. 

The skull has become a space in which Mondongo can think history or, even more rhetorically, the future of the human race: the immense plague of humanity that spreads and occupies all, consuming the planet.

Excerpts from Kevin Power:
Mondongo and Bari Kumar: Looking At Each Other, Bose Pacia, New York, 2010
Mondongo. Argentina. Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2013

About Mondongo
Mondongo is a collective of argentinian artists who have worked together since 1999. The group, initiated by Juliana Laffitte and Manuel Mendanha, emerged in the art scene in 2000. The originality of their material choices, such as plasticine, hair, feathers, biscuits, meat, and cotton thread, allow them to create personal techniques and intricate textures. Also the artists organized their production in series, like landscapes and skulls. Works by Mondongo have been shown in USA, Spain, UK, China, Korea, and several cities of Latin America, and can be found in public and private collections in Argentina and abroad. They live and work in Buenos Aires.

The exhibition is promoted within the ambit of an exchange between the Ministry of Culture of the City of Buenos Aires and MAXXI which will shortly see the presentation of the Olivo Barbieri exhibition in Buenos Aires.

Curators: Laura Buccellato and Massimo Scaringella

Funded by Mecenazgo Cultural and Buenos Aires City.

For press requests, please send us an email to ucav.cultura [​at​] gmail.com or call us on T +54 (11) 4323 9705.

MAXXI - National Museum of 21st Century Arts
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