Plasticine, a word your Word Processor spell-checker won’t recognize, is a fancier version of Play-Doh (also called modeling compound) used by children around the world to make unrecognizable shapes and various art projects. Paula Dittborn’s art transforms a child’s game into an indispensable material for creating depth and movement in what would otherwise be a two-dimensional painting.
Painting by Paula Dittborn, photo courtesy Sofia Carvajal
On Vitacura’s chic street Alonso de Córdova, Galería Animal housed Paula Dittborn’s latest paintings made out of plasticine in the exhibit “Masa Media.”
The pieces that made up the exhibition were placed inside a wooden frame with a glass in front. The glass protected the piece and at the same time created a visual allusion to a television or movie screen. “Masa Media” was about capturing the impression of the short-lived image that was projected on the screen.
The paintings were put together with miniature pyramids of colored plasticine placed next to each other. These tiny pyramids created a mosaic and at the same time resembled a pixilated picture. A closer look allowed a greater appreciation of the intricate task of coordinating the color and shade of each small pyramid so that the outcome is a recognizable and movie-like image.
Paintings were often placed in sequences of three to further reference film and television, the consecutive images arranged with one following the other like a filmstrip.
The use of neutral colors in the paintings added to the impression of a filmstrip. But the small pieces of plasticine were also reminiscent of standing in front of an old television set and seeing the tiny pixels that make up the whole image.
These paintings required different points of view, and more than one quick gaze around the room to fully appreciate them: Dittborn’s work took different meanings depending on where you stood to view it.
Paula Dittborn’s use of plasticine was innovative and her technique impressive. The trip to this classy neighborhood and the modern facilities of Galería Animal was worth your while if you wanted to see an out-of-the-ordinary art exhibition about what you previously saw as ordinary images on a screen.