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solo exhibition by Ornella Pocetti


04.04.24 - 04.05.24


These paintings are like part of a spell. The strangeness takes over everything. A spectral, atavistic, esoteric, but not strictly pagan presence intimidates. It is difficult not to think of similarities with the work of two artists like Leonora Carrington and Remedios Varo, two icons of the surreal in painting, who share with Pocetti not so much a similarity in terms of the non-human and semi-bestial figures, that appear in the work of all three, but by the heaviness of a dreamlike and phantasmagoric atmosphere; they reflect the infinite sorcerous capacity of painting. But the creatures in the paintings of Carrington and Varo are strictly surrealistic, deformed, far from mimesis, while in Pocetti we identify the figurative, a certain realism that represents recognizable creatures, even if they are unreal. We can see that there are bodies similar to humans but that seem to have been subjected to some kind of Frankensteinian experiment. They manifest the soul of a nightmare, but we know that they inhabit a concrete world in the dimension of the real. Painting does not dream, for it is an inanimate object, although we wish to wake up out of fear when we see these paintings. They are timeless creatures that plunge us into terror and mystery. We wonder when they were born, and at what moment they escaped from hell.


“Then I saw a beast with ten horns and seven heads rising out of the sea. There were ten royal crowns on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. The beast I saw was like a leopard, with the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion.” 

This fragment from the Book of Revelation is precise to describe the poetics in these paintings, where the reverie that envelops us, as in the vision of the prophet, abandons us in an image of the future without redemption. We know that these creatures are not from the past, but they can be from the present, where the nuclear holocaust is imminent, where laboratories and corporations work secretly altering human genetics, and subjecting animals to the worst humiliations in order to experiment and make all the dystopias scattered in countless books and movies become a reality. Science and technology have reached such levels of perversion that no one today would be surprised to come across a werewolf or a minotaur in the street. 

We have been educated to prepare the human body for future grafts; just think about the Neutralink project, led by Elon Musk. An experiment that the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek defines as something "where we will be controlled without knowing that we are controlled", since the idea of Neutralink is to insert tiny chips in our brain to supposedly integrate it with artificial intelligence and help combat severe damage that we may have as a result of injuries or diseases. These chips are controlled from a computer that can be miles away, therefore, our brain would lose its independence and would be manipulated externally, without the owner of the brain knowing that the actions it performs no longer belong to him, although he would never be aware of it. Capitalism in its nanotechnological facet pursues the dream of perfect slavery. Slaves without the possibility of using their own brains. 

What do we see here?

Glamorous mutants, a radioactive butterfly hanging on a wire fence ejects balls of uranium. Inexpressive eyes, as if they were dead, reflect the gaze of a post-homo sapiens, burning in the memory of their ancestors. A bright red, like blood, illuminates the party. There is no sun, no moon. Everything takes place in a sinister twilight. A girl with a disturbing face without any grimace, undaunted, receives the thick liquid that falls from the beak of two pigeons of imperial attitude and possessed by a greater force. The girl's gaze reflects the melancholy of an automaton, the cry of subjectivity trapped in alienation, the individual prisoner of a machine’s dreams. 

Memory debris wanders, a future where the human has finally been defeated and yet the fault and the original sin persist. A panoptic eye that exhibits the annihilation of time. A maiden made of shadows is pierced by a rose-arrow, but we do not know if the attack was external or self-inflicted. The arrow struck from above and instead of knocking the creature down, it abducted it into the sky. The black latex functions as adequate protection in this forest of haunted nihilism. The heavy mist of doomsday is perceived. A window without bars or glass through which the infinite silence enters and the absence of society can be seen. In the upper part there is a key that only serves to close. It is accompanied by a lit and melted candle; an eternal sign of the technique embraced by the fantastic. There is also an eye inside a gastropod mollusk, watching over the absolute solitude. The air feels toxic and slow. No one is dead, but no one is very much alive either. There is a significant presence of insects; snails and cockroaches, accustomed to surviving catastrophe, hang around. A female figure with reddened eyes and zombie-like skin exhibits a kind of diary with a large beetle on its cover; disembodied hands surround her as greeting and celebrating the insect. Like a garden of devastated delights.

In another painting, a giant snail walks past another semi-human body, in the background we see an empty and walled house that emanates the noise of the abyss. Again a fence appears, which does not determine the limits of any private property, but rather expresses a tormenting rumor; in the future the earth will be inhabited by monsters that escaped the laboratories. It is a pre-civilizational and post-apocalyptic world, feudal and cave-dwelling and at the same time post-capitalist, although there are no machines, neither working nor destroyed, no corpses of cities, no wheels, no alien flying objects, there are alienated creatures, but they do not work. 

The eyes of a macabre god run through the various works. Pocetti plunges us into a bestial hallucination, puts us face to face with a gloomy image of the future, where the extinction of the human species ceases to be an expression of desire and becomes a reality. The earth has been taken over by techno-feudal creatures. Science has succumbed and has been devoured by its own demons.  

Text by César González



Ornella Pocetti was born in Buenos Aires in 1991. She studied Visual Arts at the Universidad Nacional de Arte de Buenos Aires, training in parallel in various workshops and programs. In 2015 she had her first solo show at the Acéfala gallery in Buenos Aires and in 2019 she received a grant from the renowned Artists x Artists Program. She is also part of the artistic collective "Viento Dorado". 

Her works have been selected in the competition Salón Nacional (2021), Salón Felix Amador (2018 and 2019) in the Fondo Nacional de las Artes (2018), Premio Itaú (2019), Salón Nacional de Rosario Castagnino - Macro (2018) and in the X Premio Nacional de Pintura Banco Central (2017), receiving a mention in the last four. She was selected as a resident of the Fountainhead program in 2022. Her work has been exhibited in various galleries in Miami (Mindy Solomon Gallery, Jupiter Contemporary), Buenos Aires (Fundación El Mirador), Berlin (Weserhalle), London (Pictorum) and Milan (Plain Gallery), among other cities. 

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