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Nicolás Guagnini, Mother Maze 3, 2019, mixed media, 43 1⁄2 × 37 3⁄8 × 8".

Nicolás Guagnini, Mother Maze 3, 2019, mixed media, 43 1⁄2 × 37 3⁄8 × 8".

Nicolás Guagnini


If, as Nicolás Guagnini opines in the set of notes that accompanied “Asociación Psicoanalítica Argentina” (Argentine Psychoanalytic Association)—his third solo exhibition at Bortolami—“all paranoia begins in the ear,” then his cast of characters must be a nervy one indeed. In the artist’s glazed ceramic figurines, the organ of hearing is often swollen to cartoonish proportions. Sometimes it’s also repeated over and over again in individual works, echoing itself at the expense of other facial features. But one doesn’t get the sense that auditory sensitivity has been enhanced by this mutation; it’s more that deafness is just a whisper away. Guagnini’s monstrous ears represent the confusion and stasis that come from too much information, from repetition and recording in the service of propaganda. These bloated and multiplied appendages, which might once have suggested all-consuming receivers,

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