Elisa Insua

MULTI-MEDIA Artist

Elisa Insua was born in Buenos Aires in 1990. In 2011 she completed her degree in Economics and Business at Torcuato Di Tella University and she is represented by MTArt Agency. 

At the age of sixteen, she started her practice as a self-taught artist, creating assemblages and sculptures with discarded materials. She gradually fused her artistic practice with concepts related to economics, overconsumption and human insatiability. In the following years, she studied sculpture with Miguel Harte and was part of group critiques with Fabiana Barreda, Diego Bianchi and Ernesto Ballesteros. 

Economic studies are based on a series of basic principles: one of them states that, for any given individual, “the more, the better”. Insua’s work tries to push this axiom to the limit of excess and abundance, in order to tense it, question it or even defy it. The artist reinforces: ‘My pieces are about desire, opulence, ostentation and luxury. I apply the concept of the “hedonic treadmill” (the tendency of humans to return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite increases in wealth or the achievement of major goals) and the straight-forward myth of King Midas and his Golden Touch. Social ascent, the “American Dream”, economic inequality, endless irresponsible consumption and the effects of capitalism are also recurring themes’.

Usually drawn to many elements of pop culture, Elisa is especially inspired by the rap and hip hop universe – with its explicit lyrics and its unapologetic loads of “bling”. Gold (as an element and as a color) is also a persisting component of her work, both in relation to the sacred and the profane. The two elements are united, confronted and intertwined. The profane is sacralized and the sacred is profaned. Enrichment and accumulation appear as religious dogmas, while gods are reduced to mere commodities. Ambition appears both as a vital drive and as a fatal sin. ‘Ultimately, through my pieces, I seek to shed light on how money, as an abstract and powerful force, constantly and silently affects our behaviour, as if it were the force of gravity.

She was part of various group shows in South America and Europe, including “Ludica” at MACSur (Museo de Arte Contemporáneo del Sur, Buenos Aires, 2018), “Memento Mons” at Beaux Arts Mons Museum (Mons, Belgium, 2019), “Slight Omission” at Cerquone Projects (Madrid, 2018) and “Proyecto Vergel” at María Casado HG (Buenos Aires, 2016). After two years based in Madrid, in 2019 she returned to Buenos Aires, where she currently lives and works.  

Economic studies are based on a series of basic principles: one of them states that, for any given individual, “the more, the better”. My work tries to push this axiom to the limit of excess and abundance, in order to tense it, question it or even defy it.

My pieces are about desire, opulence, ostentation and luxury. I apply the concept of the “hedonic treadmill” (the tendency of humans to return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite increases in wealth or the achievement of major goals) and the straight-forward myth of King Midas and his Golden Touch. Social ascent, the “American Dream”, economic inequality, endless irresponsible consumption and the effects of capitalism are also recurring themes.

Although I usually draw many elements from pop culture, I’m especially inspired by the rap and hip hop universe – with its explicit lyrics and its unapologetic loads of “bling”. Gold (as an element and as a color) is also a persisting component of my work, both in relation to the sacred and the profane. In my pieces, these two are united, confronted and intertwined. The profane is sacralized and the sacred is profaned. Enrichment and accumulation appear as religious dogmas, while gods are reduced to mere commodities. Ambition appears both as a vital drive and as a fatal sin.

Ultimately, through my pieces, I seek to shed light on how money, as an abstract and powerful force, constantly and silently affects our behavior, as if it were the force of gravity.

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CV

Selected
artworks

Stereo III , 2016

Readymade intervention 40 x 15 x 30 cm (15.7 x 5.9 x 11.8 in)
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The Outer Surface , 2015

Object intervention 58 x 50 x 17 cm (22.8 x 19.9 x 6.7 in)
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Treasure Hunt , 2015

Wood and acrylic structure with metal intervention 30 x 35 x 70 cm (11.8 x 13.8 x 27.6 in)
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Made in China , 2014

Assemblage on wood 125 x 150 cm (49.2 x 98.4 in)
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Superself III , 2018

Mirror and metallic objects on wood 75 x 50 cm (29.5 x 19.7 in)
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One Dollar Bill , 2014

Mixed media on wood 107 x 250 cm (42.1 x 98.4 in)
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Superself II , 2018

Mirror and metallic objects on wood 75 x 50 cm (29.5 x 19.7 in)
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Distorted Value , 2019

Metallic objects on wood 120 x 80 cm (47.2 x 31.5 in)
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For Sale , 2017

Mixed Media on wood 220 x 165 (86.6 x 65 in)
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Stairway to Heaven , 2014

Sculpture 300 x 200 x 100 (118.1 x 78.7 x 39.4 in)
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From the Gold Standard of Fame to the Fiduciary Circulation of Notoriety I , 2018

Mixed Media on wood 190 x 40 cm (74.8 x 55.2 in)
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Opulent Abstraction I , 2018

Dyptich | Metallic objects on wood 122 x 72 cm (48 x 28.3 in)
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Opulent Abstraction II , 2018

Dyptich | Metallic objects on wood 122 x 72 cm (48 x 28.3 in)
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    Projects

    After our very successful exhibition “Hope Ratio” in June 2020, we partnered up for the second time with UBP in Monaco and created an exhibition called “A Brave New World” with eight MTArt Agency artists. In June 2020, we partnered up with UBP and exhibited for the first time the work of our artists in UBP’s beautiful space in Monaco on the theme of hope and sustainability. Like last year in 2020, our show addresses key topics that MTArt Agency and its artists feel very passionate about. “A Brave New World” tackles the issues and challenges that our world is facing and how as human beings we interact with these and our environment. Here are a few glimpses of our new exhibition featuring artists Asiko, Andrea Tyrimos, Ben Cullen Williams, Elisa Insua, Jesu Moratiel, Leo Caillard, Shana Wilson, Tiffany Bouelle and Claire Luxton. The exhibition is from January 2021 until August 2021. More information here.

    In partnership with Corona and Voluntarios for el océano, Elisa Insua created in 2018 a sculpture from residues found on the beaches of Chile. Through this project, she wanted to share with the world an artwork that would serve as a wake-up call for responsible consumption.

    2 November – 22 December 2019, Buenos Aires.
    In Vanitas Virtual the artist invites us to reflect on the concept of vanity in the era of social networks, and on the relationship between the search for notoriety and economic abundance.

    Last January, art gallery WE COLLECT and MTArt Agency co-hosted the exhibition Drivers for the Future, a group show curated by Olimpia Saccone featuring works by artists Enam Gbewonyo, Elisa Insua, David Aiu, Shuster+Mosley and Adelaide Damoah. The exhibition aimed to offer a perspective on the main timely fights that the new generations are standing for, the battles that will lead to a better future.

    Follow Elisa Insua on Instagram

    @elisainsua

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