Written by Julius Hinks
23 Monday 23rd March 2009

Mondongo are a group of Argentinian artists who make some very detailed collages. They once made one out of biscuits of a girl mid-fellatio. These new works are made almost entirely from plasticine, and many of them are over a metre squared. Painstaking, much? We sent Julius Hinks down to this new show at Maddox Arts to find out more.

Little Red Riding Hood No.3

Maddox Arts is exhibiting a fairy-tale world 'painted' predominantly in the medium of plasticine. Two stars of this world are the inseparable Little Red Riding Hood and a finely dressed wolf. The other key players are a troupe of topless women’s bodies with the heads of snarling cats. Have a glimpse at Little Red Riding Hood No. 3, and you’ll see her spreading her legs as the wolf presents her with a basket of fancifully arranged flowers. All of these scenes are depicted in a sentimental fashion reminiscent of Monet, Rococo and Rupert the Bear using squeezings of plasticine, thread, bits of string and a few dabs of good old fashioned paint.

Serie Negra 12

Who created these kindergarten monstrosities? An Argentine art collective called Mondongo. Mondongo, which means 'tripe' in Spanish, is also an intestine filled stew. Indeed, an interest in food pervades their work from wolves feasting on young girls to their earlier Negra series, which paints blowjobs with arrangements of Oreo cookies. They live up to their tripe label with true fidelity, funnelling everything from the beautiful to the macabre, the innocent to the depraved and the humorous to the satirical. In the Mondongo Manifesto they call themselves "three witches stirring it up in a cauldron… attempting to alchemize, to distil and to ooze all of the 'all-ness' of it all." So it’s no surprise that works such as Catwalk remind the viewer of Wiley’s Wearing My Rolex video, Seurat and a manga strip-club.


Navigating this exhibition we find ourselves colliding with plasticine waves of extreme “all-ness.” The beautifully depicted fairytale magic of enchanted woods and idyllic country gardens is quickly profaned by the topless pointillist cats, Little Red Riding Flasher and a murdered half-naked girl who may or may not be Red Riding Hood. Mondongo aren’t letting the mind settle for a moment. Are they suggesting that a modern Miss Hood would willingly seduce a wolf/gangster/charming terrorist? Freudians maintain that fairytale-like dreams express forbidden desires. Are Mondongo claiming that we live in a world full of repressed murderers and nymphomaniacs?

Little Red Riding Hood No.2

Another disturbing observation is that we seem desensitised to these issues: looking at these works produces a jolt, but we’re soon chuckling at the kitsch impressionism, at the clichéd naked poses and marvelling at the skilful creation of cats’ heads out of sowing thread. The fact that these scenes are made to amuse as much as mortify offers insight into a carnivalesque though detached modern world where advertising takes sexuality to the point of fetishism and house-wives read newspaper articles about criminal perversion over cornflakes.


‘Mondongo mania’ has been storming Buenas Aires. Could a latent mania be waiting in us Londoners? You have until 10 Jan to find out.

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