Bonfire of the Vanities
Bonfire of the Vanities” references the Florentine bonfire of February 7, 1497. Followers of Dominican priest Girolamo Savonarola burned allegedly vain and sinful objects by the thousands. Subject to destruction were books, fine dresses, cosmetics, mirrors, paintings, sculpture, and secular music.
This series questions the nature of vanity and frivolity, their source, and ultimate influence on society.
Molina’s work addresses the negative and strangely positive impact vanity has on culture.
“The modern cult of appearance and superficiality actually serves the common good. Tocqueville feared that mass culture would create passive citizens incapable of political reasoning, Lipovetsky argues that today's mass-produced fashion offers many choices, which in turn enable consumers to become complex individuals within a consolidated, democratically educated society. Superficiality fosters tolerance among different groups within a society, claims Lipovetsky. To analyze fashion's role in smoothing over social conflict, he abandons class analysis in favor of an inquiry into the symbolism of everyday life and the creation of ephemeral desire”, says Aurora Molina.