Goldsmiths Curatorial Critique


Posted in Reviews by mingjiuntsai on December 10, 2008

This is wicked. Mondongo’s work looks like any other paintings at the beginning, but the peculiar images and bizarre smell catch your attention. As you move closer and see the materials and the texture of the work. Like the word mondongo means the traditional Argentine tripe stew; the works remind you the heavy soup bubbling on the stove. Slowly, you may find that you are like Hansel and Gretel who step into the candy house receiving something not as simple and sweet as it looked appears at first glance.

The images have told the viewers that they are not naïve narratives. They seem to be adapted from tales. Some skinny but large-breasted cat-head-figures display various sluttish poses in a wood. A violated and injured body lies prone on the grass next to a garden, and a church is in the other side of the lawn; a group of small creepy faces gather as a pile of stones beside the grass in this grey, gloomy work. On the opposite wall, little red riding hood is not afraid of the wolf, but seems to be seducing him instead. In another series, thousands of breasts construct the huge portrait of a beautiful smiling little girl, while hundreds of baby girls crowd inside the square frame of another work.

These images are probably not surprising or so unique. However, the closer you gets to them, the more detail you may see and the more sensations you will feel. These works are full of normal living-knickknacks. Furs, yarns, wool and ribbons form the cats’ heads and the trees; biscuits, jelly babies and even sausages, which are mixed with clay and rolled into strips, shape the bodies and objects. These artworks are not paintings; they are embossment. These materials may make the works looks like the crafts of children. However, the texture gradually creates an uncanny visual experience that brings goose bumps from head to tail.

The three-person group play and experiment with variety of ingredients on their works. They try to raise the concern of young girls’ anxiety of their body shape. The narrative images and playful materials build a contradictory phenomenon, which profoundly constructs the concept of their work and has a strong impression on the viewer. In childhood, reading tales is often the way we know and learn about the world. Girls know not to tell strangers anything via Little Red Riding Hood and learn to be kind because kindness will always defeat evil and can live happily ever after from Cinderella. These days, girls may not imagine themselves as the characters in these tales anymore. The contents of various fashion and gossip magazines and newspapers have become the standards for them. Appearances are more important then family relationship or morality. Sexy styles and boob jobs are what they learn from these publications. The stories within Mondongo’s work are tragedies. They may look just like any ordinary descriptions, but actually unpleasant contents. 

Materials are always the most attractive part of Mondongo’s work. Nevertheless, materials are inseparable components of their work. Artworks often tell stories. In Mondongo’s work, not only do the images talk, but also the materials, which create a more complex dialogue with the viewers.



Maddox Arts

21st November 2008 – 10th January 2009


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