Claudio Roncoli - The Artist
THE GREAT PRETENDER
In Claudio Roncoli's work, everything that seems to be real is not true.
There is nothing is more deceitful than "taking a look" at Roncoli?s work. Because, for the unprepared spectator, for the one that does not contemplate, for the one that looks without seeing, Roncoli's work is simply classical pop-art with a retro feel - collages composed from advertising and propaganda imagery.
Nothing is further from reality. At a more thorough look, the work seem to be at odds with itself. How does an artist born in 1971 manage to relay nostalgia from something that he didn?t know? How can it be that he unleashes such a wealth of associations and recollections with images taken from an era he didn?t live? It?s the lying nostalgia, the melancholy for what was never there. And it is not a question of a simple aesthetic choice, though it could also be included: Claudio appeals to a previous era, maybe his parents? era, probably because in childhood certainty begin, and at that age parents represent certainty. For that reason Claudio's first works directly related to his toys, to the most direct association of childhood. Now, as Claudio has grown, so has the focus of his work. He chooses smiling women side by side with their new washing-machines, fills the image with matter, fades it away, adds stamps and stickers, and what he actually shows us is that the woman?s smile is false, is forced; showing us that real life is not how it is advertised to us - that happiness is not owning a washing-machine.
Equally important ? and disconcerting in some cases - are the titles. Roncoli titles his works very carefully yet poignant, forcing a double take: One perceives a certain image, then reads the title and the image changes. ?The last supper?, for example, that shows a group of young men with the perfection of an advertisement in what seems to be a happy meeting. But reading the title leads the spectator to think that there is something secret, that surely one of them will be betrayed, pointing out that happiness can be both fleeting and fragile.
Claudio is an artist in the most holistic sense of the word. He is an artist in every instant of his life, and it is a constant creative process. He lives in a continuous search, in an investigation without pauses, including almost every aspect of life. That?s why it?s possible for him to create art with the same energy be it through enormous plotters on vinyl fabrics, old record covers, or fast-food boxes. Because, in his work minor work doesn?t exist. Because in his life, minor acts don?t exist. Claudio Roncoli faces art, as much as life, from the challenge of being reconstructed every day, with a true passion.
The work of Caludio Roncoli precedes him, defines him, and even sometimes involuntarily moves ahead of him and leaves him exposed. And in the end we notice that there is a distressed character who appeals to the most silent shout: to show a lying, simulated happiness, and to permit us to see between its cracks.
by Florencia Salas.
Curator for the Salas Nacionales de Cultura Palais de Glace, Argentina.