“Although cardboard is generally seen as a humble resource, I work every tiny, little element as if it was a precious material. Such a labour-intensive process gives me a sense of connection to the object and, therefore, gives me a connected sense of self. It also elevates the material and transforms it into something beautiful, meaningful and of quality. Such metamorphosis perfectly reflects my protest against the culture of speed and disposability that we live in. The finished object becomes the manifestation of my agency, and my fears about humanity’s future are temporarily soothed.”
– Patrizia Biondi
This August, Artereal Gallery presents the neoteric work of emerging artist Patrizia Biondi, whose intricate, quasi-architectural paintings, built out of salvaged cardboard, arise from her interest in contemporary socio-political issues and economic theory. With a particular emphasis on the relationship between the rapidly changing nature of society and the establishment of global finance as culture, Biondi collects materials discarded as useless – transmuting them into poetic and striking artworks which offer an examination of contemporary finance, globalisation, consumerism and its impact on the environment.
Having been the recipient of the 2018 Artereal Gallery Mentorship Award (awarded annually to one outstanding Honours student from Sydney College of the Arts), Artereal is excited to present Biondi’s first solo exhibition in a commercial gallery. A finalist in the 2019 PICA Hatched award, Biondi is currently receiving significant attention from international collectors and curators, presenting her first solo exhibition in an international context this September when she shows at Annarumma gallery in Naples, Italy.
The Golden Means constructions of Patrizia Biondi collaged from salvaged and virgin card are edifices to contemporary consumer access and excess.
The artist’s quasi-architectures signal the crises in societies where possessions are defining who we are. Ever-burgeoning mini- cities of storage cubes are vast contemporary mausoleums of wants not needs and shrines to profligate worshippers of wanton and rampant consumerism.
With on-line shopping overtaking cash and carry economies, each and every click purchase is packed or boxed for delivery. Packaging graveyards are clogging and choking doomed oceans and sea life is drowning in detritus. Immeasurable tracts of our planet are being subsumed beneath a mountainous morass of waste.
Licks of painted metallic embellishments in copper, gold or silver gild Patrizia Biondi’s layered structures elaborating on markets of lust and lux, money and mining where construction can unfortunately so often beget destruction.
The artist’s palette is deftly chosen and a play of opposites. Greens and the blues of sky and sea, colours found in Nature and antithetic to architecture and to the built environment are set against the metallics of the man-made and manufacture.
The titles of Patrizia Biondi’s constructed paintings are instructive and aspirational. They are of and from the fabric of the works, lifted directly from labels on the cardboard used.
The sticker text is trite but telling: “Signature on Delivery Required, To Guarantee the Sanctity of Your Purchase”. The language of the labels, ‘Sign here’, signals acceptance and ownership. But what about responsibility…!
A second title, taken directly from the salvaged card lures with the promise and the complicity of the Advertising industry: “The Clever Cube Guarantees Your Happiness and Freedom, Because Flexi Storage Means Flexi Life”.
Aesthetically the layer upon layer style of Patrizia Biondi’s portals is underpinned by aesthetic of fracture and alludes to the architecture of Mediterranea, the cradle of Western Civilization and that favoured by banks and institutions.
While Golden Means is a wry play on the Aristotelian tenets of balance and reason, whether applied in architecture or philosophy, it is a paean to the impact on the natural environment and rupture of values of a culture of consumption.
“My constructions, built out of salvaged cardboard, arise from my interest in the nexus between identity, economy, consumerism and ecology. By using reclaimed packaging, I seek to start a conversation about the value we place on material possessions, with the specific aim of questioning a culture of consumption that generates unprecedented and unsustainable amounts of waste.
The materials are the narrative, as packaging inevitably points to consumerism, storage, global transport, aesthetic appeal and, ultimately, industry, obsolescence and environmental degradation. Hence, the marks, the rips, the packing tape, the delivery labels and all the elements that form the lexicon of commerce are left visible or only partially covered by the paint, documenting the entrenchment of economy and consumerism within culture and turning the objects into anthropological relics.
Furthermore, the process of recovering, cleaning, painting, cutting and reconstructing discarded packaging resources, suggests breaking away from an excessive focus on material possessions and a return to solidarity, nurturing and empathy as central social values. Our lack of priority in addressing the present environmental emergency is part and parcel of the dialogue, as my objects lyrically emphasise the criticality of the issues at hand and plead that they be acted upon, in earnest.
– Patrizia Biondi, 2019
Experience Patrizia Biondi.