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Notion of Conflict, Dance of the Piñata
Runo Lagomarsino

The video explores aspects of oppression and resistance through references to the piñata game. An old Latin American game, where succession of blindfolded, stick-wielding people try to break the papier-mâché piñata figure in order to collect the candy/toys inside of it, the piñata figure has a complex history. It was allegedly brought to Italy from China by Marco Polo and later introduced to Latin America by the European colonizers, where it was used as a pedagogical tool in the ‘Christianization’ of the ‘natives’.

Today, the piñata has become part of popular culture and is used to celebrate special occasions such as birthdays and Christmas. In the video, the viewer sees a blindfolded male figure trying to hit a piñata figure shaped as a human body dressed in a military uniform. When he manages to hit, the strokes are brutally violent. After a couple of minutes, the video slowly fades to black, leaving the viewer to ponder what happens after.

Shot in black-and-white with no sound, the video brings to mind images and memories of the Latin American 1970s, with its many coup d’états, dictatorships, accounts of torture and killings, and resistant uprisings. However, this history is ideologically contextualized by the appropriation of the piñata figure, which simultaneously points to the era of colonization as the institutionalization of these oppressive forms of violence and the subsequent forms of resistance, cultural translation, and hybridization that were to accompany the de-colonization of Latin America. With these dual references, Notion of Conflict, Dance of the Piñata not only raises important questions about resistance to oppression, but forces us to consider our own position in relation to this.

Aspect ratio 1.33:1 (4:3)
Prod. format Generic SD-video
Duration 00:03:14
Color BW
Year 2004
Latest screening Feb 24, 2008
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About the artist

Runo Lagomarsino

Runo Lagomarsino is an artist that lives and works in Malmö, Sweden. Working with a range of materials, such as installations, sculpture, drawings performance and actions Lagomarsinos work points towards the gaps and cracks in our explanation models and truth claims, highlighting language’s precarious foundation. His work is a search of fractures, of blind paths from where to tell other stories, and particularly from where to read the past and name the future. With precise and poetic displacements, he constructs frictions between language, iconography and prevailing narratives. Runo Lagomarsino has developed a practice that is both close to and distant from conventional sculpture, exploring art’s traditional forms and how they can be expanded.

Runo Lagomarsino has an MA in Fine Arts (2003) from the Malmö Art Academy. Recent solo exhibitions include: The Faculty of Seeing, Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2019), We are each other’s air, Francesca Minini, Milano, (2019), EntreMundos, Dallas Museum of Art Dallas, (2018) La Neblina, Galeria Avenida da India, Lisbon (2018) Selected group exhibitions: Deep Sounding—History as Multiple Narratives, daadgalerie, Berlin (2019), BRAZIL: Knife in the Flesh, PAC, Milan (2018), A Universal History of Infamy, LACMA, Los Angeles, (2017), La Terra Inquieta, Fondazione Trussardi, Milano (2017), Really Useful Knowledge, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (2014) and Under the Same Sun, Guggenheim Museum, New York (2014). He has also participated in, Prospect 4, New Orleans, (2017), The 56th Venice Biennale (2015), The 30th São Paulo Biennial (2012), Liverpool Biennal (2012), 12th Istanbul Biennial (2011). In 2019, Runo Lagomarsino was Daad artist-in-residence in Berlin.