Ramona Montiel...


For the first time, all of Antonio Berni's creatures have been gathered together in an exhibition entitled "Antonio Berni: Juanito y Ramona", at the MALBA
One of those characters is Ramona Montiel, a cocotte (for she was created in París) who is constantly facing reality.
Although there's no coherent time-lapse in the works where Ramona appears (in fact "Ramona bebé", for example, was done after other works which portray her as an adult), we will try here to create a fake chronology of her life.
In the following collage, Ramona, shown as a baby, is surrounded by fabrics which the artist found at Clignancourt's flea market. It's a rather particular baby, sensual and with an empty look.  
Ramona bebé, by Antonio Berni (1963)
Technique: oil and fabric collage
A series of etchings show how her life should have been: that of a plain seamstress. But the young girl does not follow what society dictated and she becomes the vehicle Berni uses to discuss the role of women in 20th century society, what's proper and what's not... Ramona chooses an unconventional path... 
Chelsea Hotel, by Antonio Berni (1977)
Materials: oil, vinyl fabric and lace on canvas.
Measures: 201.5 x 160 cm
MALBA Collection – Fundación Costantini
In her creator's own words, Ramona Montiel was “a blend between Milonguita and Marilyn” (Marilyn Monroe). And, of course, in Berni's imagination, Ramona, thanks to her youth and beauty, had many powerful and influential men, from military Generals to members of the Clergy.
El Coronel, by Antonio Berni (1964)
Materials: oil, tin, wood, nails and staples on wood
Measures: 39.6 x 32.5 cm
Private Collection
El Coronel Golpista N°1, by Antonio Berni (ca. 1964)
Materials: oil, wood, cardboard, metal and rope on wood
Measures: 47.7 x 36.8 cm
Private Collection
El Coronel Golpista N°3, by Antonio Berni (ca. 1964)
Materials: oil, cardboard, plastic, metals, glue and staples on wood
Measures: 52.7 x 43.8 cm
Private Collection
Don Juan, el amigo de Ramona, by Antonio Berni (1963)
Technique: Xilocollage / Measures: 95.9 x 65.2 cm
Museum of Fine Arts - Houston
El Confesor de Ramona, by Antonio Berni
Technique: Xilocollage / Measures: 99 x 62.5 cm
Private Collection
The story of Ramona looks so real that it seems as she had lived outside of the paintings. Berni also gives shape to the monsters that harass Ramona in her nightmares, representing the eternal fight between good and evil in human conscience. However, Ramona, as time goes by, loses her beauty and, with empty pockets, she is still herself, but deteriorated and worn-out.
La gran tentación, de Antonio Berni (1962)
Materials: oil, wood, sackcloth, canvas, paper, cardboard, glass, leather and metals, plastic wallet, feathers, nails and staples on wood.
Measures: 245 x 241.5 cm
MALBA Collection - Fundación Constantini
La Gran Tentación, de Antonio Berni - Detail 
This last work is the archetype of capitalist society of the 70s, according to its autor. Berni was an internationally renown artist who was able to portray society as few could. His artistic production was based in variety and diversity, always seeking to expand the limits of art in the second half of the 20th century.

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Liliana Wrobel

Production & Translation

Carla Mitrani