An artistic duo consisting of Rita Marianela Perelli (San Nicolás de los Arroyos, Argentina, 1979) and Emiliano “Pool” Paolini (Arroyo Seco, Argentina, 1983)
Marianela earned a degree in Fashion Design from the Institute of Visual Communication in Rosario and a BFA, with a speciality in sculpture, from the National University of Rosario.
Pool graduated from the Rosario School of Design with a degree in Graphic Design while pursuing his career as a self-taught artist. The two met in 2009, and in 2011 they created Pool & Marianela as an artistic identity and trademark.
They have exhibited at galleries in Europe, Argentina, the United States and around the world, most notably at La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles, and their work has been featured in prestigious international media such as El Mundo, The New York Times, Le Monde, Hi-Fructose Magazine, BBC, etc. Their long list of celebrity fans includes Maradona, Álex de la Iglesia, Steve Jones, Marky Ramone and Kevin Smith.
The duo started out on the emerging art circuits in Buenos Aires, and in 2014 they created Barbie, the Plastic Religion, a collection of 33 Barbie and Ken dolls (Mattel) dressed up as the most important deities of various religions, like the figurines sold at santería shops. Their aim was twofold: to modernise the standard of beauty of religious imagery, and to draw attention to the commodification and “privatisation” of faith.
The images went viral on social media and were picked up the BBC, and the debate rapidly spread across the globe: people in India, China, the United States, Peru, Argentina and Australia expressed dismay and intolerance, threatened and harassed the artists, and even forced the cancellation of an exhibition planned for October of that year. The BBC compared their work to the León Ferrari controversy. Pool & Marianela decided to lie low for a time, and one year later the show opened at Popa Galería in La Boca, Buenos Aires, where it again attracted the notice of the international media but was well received.
In 2016, Mattel and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris invited them to participate in a tribute to the famous doll and the artists who have used it in their work, exhibiting alongside pieces by Andy Warhol, Mark Ryden and other legends. The museum acquired the piece Barbie Santa Genoveva [Saint Genevieve Barbie] to add to its vast collection. That same year, Pool & Marianela were granted an audience with Pope Francis and presented him with their Barbie Virgen de Luján [Our Lady of Luján Barbie], now owned by the Holy See.
In 2018 they returned to La Luz de Jesus with Kidstianism (religion as perceived by millennial children); they are also slated to appear in the group show Shopping at the Haifa Museum of Art in Israel and will exhibit Plastic Religion at La Fiambrera Art Gallery in November.