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“Bonfire of the Vanities”, featuring the work of Aurora Molina and Ernesto Capdevila

“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.

The exhibition 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.

Capdevila’s work delves into the subconscious mind, questioning the “turning away” from the oft unpleasant matters of substance and subsequent embrace of the vain and frivolous.

He explains, “The cult of instincts, passions and iniquity are amplified infinitely as the individual ceases to be, and recognizes a false reality; unconsciously led back to the time when he felt safe living in hordes betting on magic as a response to their fears.

The dictionary defines frivolous as light, fickle and unsubstantial, but our time may give way to a more complex connotation. Frivolity is to have a table of inequality or inverted values, where form matters more than content, appearance more than essence.”

The exhibition “Bonfire of the Vanities” runs through Wednesday, November 12th.

Conde Contemporary, located at 1007 SW 8th St

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