Soon to be shown at Peres projects in Berlin is work by artist Ad Minoliti, who has just completed a residency at their studio in Kreuzberg. Ad (Adriana) Minoliti is from Argentina and based in Bueno Aires. The CAS Berlin trip met Ad in the comfortable surroundings of this studio apartment where she claimed to lock herself in and churn out the large canvases that rested against the walls on the far side. There is something very intimate about making art within the same confines as one sleeps, and in this brief encounter with her work we were able to have a sneak preview of the exuberance that Minoliti employs.
In her practice, Ad Minoliti likes to question the prescribed models of gender within art history, architecture and interior design. She explores this concept in a number of ways, for example by distorting the traditional concept of the painting, questioning the ideas around the notion of the frame and the medium of the canvas. In the past she has taken interior settings from Playboy magazines and inserted shapes (motifs she continuously uses in her work) in order to block out particular parts of the image, obstructing the heavily sexualised gaze that has previously dominated these settings.
Surveying her brightly coloured work one can see how she uses geometry, shapes and lines, across painting, installation and film. Here one may think of works of twentieth century European abstract artists like Alexander Calder or Joan Miró, however, Minoliti uses shapes in a more symbolic or literal sense as opposed to complete abstraction. For her, shapes have personal and political resonances. If we consider the history of coloured shapes in popular culture, we can see how they have been used in symbolic ways, such as in flags or as emblems of protest. In this way, these 2D flat abstract forms become a lot deeper in meaning.
A fundamental influence for Minoliti was the Arte Madí group, a movement that sprouted out of Argentina in 1946, depicting non-representational art or concrete art. The movement moved across the arts and away from Western art-historical traditions. She has taken residencies from all corners of the world, taking the influence from different contemporary cultures to carry on the conversation put forward by the Arte Madí group, counteracting against what Western modernism has left out in terms of sex and the female body.
The title of her new show Dollhouse leads to mind a number of ideas: interiors, tradition, gender, play and the childlike fantasy of being able to create ones own world within a controlled and contained environment.
Dollhouse will be on at Gallery Peres Projects 29 June – 3 August in Berlin.