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Contact: Laurie Steelink/310 264 4678
or Susan Martin/martinsusan@cybermesa.com
Images available upon request


July 5 through July 26, 2008

In Spanish, the word “mondongo” means tripe, or the lining of a cow’s stomach. The word “Mondongo” is also a stew we love, and we are like three witches stirring it up in a cauldron: revolving and expecting and trying and experimenting; attempting to alchemize, to distill, and ooze all the chaos, and the all possible “all-ness” in it . . .
                                                            — Mondongo, 2008 (from the Mondongo Manifesto)

13 June 2008 – Track 16 Gallery is pleased to announce the return of Mondongo, the internationally recognized Argentine artist collective comprised of Juliana Laffitte, Manuel Mendanha, and Agustina Picasso. In their transgressive yet celebratory work, Mondongo explore the mystery and depth of the human psyche as a way to break through chaos to creativity and unfettered imagination.

The exhibition Gaslighting will be on view from Saturday July 5, through Saturday, July 26, with an opening reception on Saturday, July 5 from 6 to 9 PM.

[Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse having the gradual effect of making the victim anxious, confused, and less able to trust his or her own memory and perception].

In Mondongo’s world all is up for deconstructive terrorism—the miserable ambitions of the ego, social hypocrisy, the slight satisfactions of sex, what’s left of the family, the murderous ideology of a victim satiated world.

The amount of work Mondongo put into each piece is extensive, and both intricate and beautiful. They are literally paintings without paint—using such materials as thread, beads, plasticine, cookies, and glitter, to name of few. Production is slow and deliberate as the material and concept are intricately jelled: the materials used as metaphorical adjuncts to the concepts.

Mondongo’s Romeo y Julieta series captures the myth of romantic love and longing desperationin a very Mondongan fashion: the plaguing adolescent ennui, the unbridled lust, and inevitable doom are subtly rendered in plasticine and other media, comparable to the style in which Mondongo interpreted the brothers Grimm Little Red Riding Hood in their well-known seriesCaperucita roja.

Mondongo’s Serie gótica tells an apocalyptic tale using Gothic window-shaped canvasesto paint unnerving subjects like an atomic mushroom cloud composed of stickers, glitter, and toys; a grotesque masked self portrait; a housing tenement; a cascade of babies: done in playful plasticine. In the Fauna fluo seriesMondongo render animal scenes in glow-in-the-dark thread, evoking a prehominid Darwinian beginning of life rising up from the murky underbelly of a bubbling ooze. In El sueño de la razón. . . [The dream of reason] Mondongo treat the subject with a candid eye. In different palettesand different media, they depict two separate variations on one event: a homicide in an idyllic setting. One in black and white (tar, glitter, wax, shards of broken glass), and one in muted colors (plasticine and thread).

As critic and author Kevin Power comments in his essay, “Mondongoing the World,”

Mondongo’s work is a dark vision but not a moralistic one. They are laconic commentators who like the rest of us have taken about as much as they can and who seethe inside but without burning up their energies since there is a long day ahead. All of us need to find the measures of his or her own dance, stretch out in time, fill the curve, smile. There is an ethical positioning but no attempt at facile solutions, no belief structure to hold on to, and as a result the work becomes even more desperate, and often the vomit surges up and explodes as a calculated image, suspended in time, but ready to melt or quickly consumed like everything else, yet at that last minute it twists away and sticks in the mind.

Mondongo are recognized internationally, have been included in the Valencia and Sao Paolo biennials, and are in the collections of various museums both locally and internationally. They have recently completed a project with fashion company Comme des Garçons, an early explorer of the crossover between art and fashion. Comme des Garçons work with artists who, in the company’s words “mix strength and beauty.” Mondongo join Cindy Sherman and Daniel Buren in this illustrious roster.

In their 2007 exhibition thread/bare, Mondongo dazzled us with work ranging from intricate portraits in thread to the hard-hitting erotic Serie amor I in wax, nails, and silver string that takes aim at lusty greed.

Formed in 1999, Mondongo have since earned their particular place in the ebullience of Argentinean art: an iconoclastic, punk, imaginatively inventive, sharply particular, personal, laid-back look at life—a “do what you like” situation from a ground zero world loaded with elements from a grotesque farce.