ART IS ABOUT on KAREN STAROSTA GILINSKI’S “LAS PINATAS” EXHIBIT

KAREN_22Words by Eddy Arroyo

The exhibition is located at the back of Primary Projects where they had made use of the space for an artist solo show. Walking into Starsota-Gilinski’s Las Piñatas exhibit is oddly disturbing and this has much to do with the materials, dramatic lighting, and subject matter. It seems to be a scene of a ritualistic and violent event.

The Piñata has had a long and rich history which began in China to celebrate the new year then its cultural trek moved it thru Europe toward Spain where it adopted a religious cognition as a vessel to celebrate lent, hence “Piñata Sunday”. In the 16th century it was brought over to Mexico and adapted into a similar Mesoamerican religious tradition where the participant was blind folded and encouraged to beat it open for treasures as an offering. The Mexican Catholic interpretation rested it toward humanity’s struggle against temptation. Piñata’s journey has brought it toward all of South and North America where it has lost it religious significance however retained its festive iconography.

And here I was witnessing Starsota-Gilinski’s appropriation of today’s symbols of blind hedonism where they seem to be imprisoned , tortured , and generally abused. A Piñata is normally bright and primary in color however this has been muted. And what should I extrapolate from this exhibition given it’s history? Is it a comment on our social and global sensibility due to the economic collapse? Or does it have some personal spiritual significance? For me there is a sensibility in the series that the party is over and there is some comfort in that.

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