• Daniela Rossell

September 25 - November 10, 2001

Other exhibits

Alberto Peola Gallery presents the first solo exhibition in Italy of the Mexican artist Daniela Rossell.
Ricas y famosas is a series of colour photographic portraits of young women from some of Mexico City's rich and powerful families.
«The rich women in Mexico are prisoners of their houses, their style and their excess» says the artist who, as with her last series, Olympic Tower (a luxurious Fifth Avenue appartment block), portrays her subjects posing in their luxury appartments.

These enviroments are sumptuously decorated, brimming with objects, gold covered statues, zebra patterned carpets, living and stuffed animals. The"feminine" attitude of these women is really a desire to appear languid, sexy or fatale. But these visual stereotypic trappings of a social class, that oozes wealth and power are critically deconstructed by Rossell. These subjects that she puts under the spotlights, in many cases friends and acquaintances - her mother worked as a servant in a large villa - appear as colourful parodies of the Mexican upper middle class and of the education that she received. There is, however, no didactic tendency or moralistic judgement in these works, but rather a strong humoristic element and an evident empathy which together determine the camera angles.
Rossell's work reminds us of the canons of ethnographics photography, and social art, but with an opposite result: the subjects here are not at all idealized, instead they find themselves dislodged from their pedestals of presumed importance. A reference to performance is also present in her work: at the beginning of her project the girls themselves were not other than ornaments among the others in the house. As the circle of people willing to be photographed expanded, a competitive spirit took hold; they challenged each other to see who could be the most daring in front of the camera in playing the parts of models from magazines or actresses from television soap operas. In some of the photographs the character seems intent, either through their position or their clothing, on imitating someone else or something else present in the same frame; in others it is more difficult to say who is imitating who, or if art is imitating life or vice versa in a world where all originality has been lost.