Nicola Costantino


Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina , 1964


            Since her early collaboration in her mother's garment factory, Constantino's interest in the relationship between the body and the materials that wrap around it turned into a kind of stubborn trademark of her work. Before becoming a world-class artist, she went through workshops and factories and participated in specific courses where she was trained in silicone molding, die casting, the use of flexible polyurethane foam, taxidermy, and mummification. Her love for these unconventional techniques gives an account of the concerns that will orbit Constantine's work persistently: death, the use of liturgy around bodies, and the problem of the doppelgänger

            Her artistic career began with a series of experiments with embalmed and vacuum-packed animals. Through tracing exercises, she created sculptural pieces and assemblages that included chained chickens, foals, and unborn calves squeezed into pipes and boxes and pigs hanging from motorized rails. This phase of her work ties in with her first performances, which revolved around the issue of food in the late eighties, as well as with the successive stages of her career, always open to experimentation with the human body. In this line, we find series such as Peletería humana, where she puts into play her talent as a dressmaker and makes a collection of clothing made with silicone and body parts, such as anuses, male nipples, and natural hair; this series traveled to fairs and was part of international biennials, as those of São Paulo and Liverpool.

            By submitting her body to liposuction to generate with the extracted adipose tissue a line of luxury soaps, she made one of her most provocative pieces, advertised and presented at MALBA. Since then, the artist has worked permanently with her own body and image: whether to use it as a support to quote the surrealist tradition of modern photography, to register herself as an actress of her own life, or to embody the myth of Eva Perón at the Venice Biennale. In short, Constantino, author of an uncomfortable and subversive work, questions through an aesthetic of the abject the limits between good and evil, between life and death. Her work settles in that diffuse border, where the ominous and the sinister are disguised in the clothes of the ordinary.