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October 25, 2014
Sunday, September 16, 2012

Eugenio Zanetti’s ‘Tondo’ exhibition opens at the Maman

By Melanie Henderson

BuenosAiresHerald.com staff

Multi-talented artist Eugenio Zanetti unveiled last week a brand-new collection of paintings at the spectacular Maman Fine Art Gallery in the exclusive Recoleta neighbourhood, Buenos Aires City.

The exhibition entitled ‘Tondo’ includes a collection of painted portraits and put together over the course of two years, between the artist’s two homes in Buenos Aires and Los Angeles.

Córdoba-born Zanetti is also a designer, theatre/film director and a playwright based between the US and Argentina.

No stranger to the film world, Zanetti has been in the business for 35 years and worked on numerous films in Hollywood and Buenos Aires winning awards and being nominated for three Oscars for his artistic contribution to film.

A highlight of Zanetti’s career includes when he led production design and set decoration for Michael Hoffman’s film “Restoration” (1995) starring Meg Ryan and Robert Downey Junior, which one an Academy Award for Best Art Direction.

The Tondo exhibition

Labelled 'Tondo' because on pulling part of the exhibition out of a previous showing in a Brazilian art gallery, the artist realised that many of the paintings were oval-shaped, which in Italian the word “tondo” is used to describe.

On unveiling his impressive painting exhibition to the public, 63-year-old Zanetti spoke exclusively to the BuenosAiresHerald.com to talk about his work.

When asked about how he feels about being back in Argentina working again he said, “I feel very happy. Everyone always has such a strong connection with their country, and for different reasons I have been living outside Argentina for almost 45 years, so to come back and have a space to show my work, is an absolute pleasure for me.”

A self-confessed fan of the Herald, Zanetti explained that he put together the collection over two years, but they had been “44 years in the thinking.”

A set of large portraits and scenes, the exhibition’s themes split into two, as half of the collection he painted here, the other in the US, something he explained to be a demonstration of his life between to different worlds.

“The paintings are a regurgitation of what I have absorbed over this time. One half is called the 'Ghosts of Buenos Aires' and was painted here, and the other named 'Fairytales,' was painted when I was in LA.”

Between slithery fish passing across a masculine frame and pop-eyed princesses indirectly posing, what stands out about Zanetti’s painting is the real personality that comes out of each painting, which pay particular attention to the eyes.

“What the paintings have in common- as painting is not an intellectual activity it comes from what used to be called the heart. Somewhere between your guts and your hair, in the middle,” Zanetti told the Herald.

Zanetti tells a story with each and every one of his works, and one that stood out particularly was one labelled “The Sinking of the Belgrano”, a 6-piece painting taking up a whole wall on entering the gallery.

“With all due respect it is Margaret Thatcher surrounded by monkeys on a shipwreck. I started with the monkeys and this huge nude old woman, the shipwreck, and Thatcher’s head came out. It wasn’t done intentionally, but it expresses a very difficult moment for England and Argentina,” the artist said.

In terms of future projects, Zanetti’s to open another exhibition of his work in Miami toward the end of the year, but as of right now, he will be staying in Buenos Aires for the next few months working on a film that he wrote called ‘Mapola’ – which is being co-produced by Argentine company Cinema 7 and Fox in the US.

“Showing my art work is something very personal for me, as it’s one of the first things I learnt how to do. It’s so different from working in films and things, as it takes me to another place. I’m very lucky to have been provided this space.” the artist furthered.

Where & When:

The exhibition is on at the Maman Gallery in Recoleta, open from Monday to Friday between 11 am and 8 pm and on Saturdays between 11 am and 3 pm.

The exhibition will be open to the public until Friday, October 16.

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