Marcelo Zanelli – Centro Cultural Ricardo Rojas

No .18 – October – December 1995

Flores (Flowers) is the name of Marcelo Zanelli’s one-man exhibition at the art gallery of the University of Buenos Aires. Zanelli (1963) is a scholarship recipient of the PROA Foundation. This institution is undertaking a project that began in May of last year, which consists of the creation of an art workshop for young artists. Guillermo Kuitca is the director of the scholarship, and Lucas Fragasso also collaborates with theoretical support.

Along with professional training, the scholarship holder also receives, during one year, a physical space to work; a workshop where the Foundation’s headquarters are also located. Through a competitive application process and prior selection by a jury, a group of twenty-nine artists was formed, five of whom are photographers.

Zanelli builds his artworks upon the fortuitous encounter of certain objects that, suddenly, come into his control, with the intriguing mystery produced by casual events. In this case his “flowers” are made out of a series of old vinyl records that were given to him as a gift by a friend. The world of music is no stranger to this author, since he is a member of “Los Suárez”, an argentine rock band. These vinyl records are boiled in hot water, then folded, modeled and finally painted with synthetic enamel. In this way, the records acquire a soft biomorphic appearance. Zanelli appropriates the fantastic imagery of children’s graphics and the cartoon tradition that characterizes Walt Disney’s filmography.

This is reflected in his landscapes with intertwined tree branches, painted with the strange freshness of dissonant color scales. The set acquires a caramel-like atmosphere of patinas and glazes, worked with thick layers of glossy varnish. In some cases, the use of metallic paper refers to the popular attraction to luxurious decoration. 

Zanelli appeals to the empirical approach of the artist-creator, who privileges craftsmanship, trimming and painting with small gestures of small formats. He also appeals to the spectator’s emotionality, that corresponds to the most primary and immediate sensations, such as tenderness, affection and the sensitivity which reasons with the visceral certainty of the human condition.