Las Vegas – niewalaszka
The work by Robert Rumas Las Vegas - Niewalaszka, which is in the Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art collection, is one of four versions of the Las Vegas Madonnas.
The process of creating a sculpture from the Collection was initiated in 1996, when Rumas was making critical art. In the 1990s, its important theme was trivialising and ideologizing Catholic religion, depleting it of spiritual content. In the series entitled Las Vegas Madonnas (1994—1999), consisting of statues of the Virgin Mary of various sizes crying with coins, the artist criticized the commercialization of religion, the market for devotional items, and the entanglement of faith in the political and economic spheres.
Las Vegas Madonnas depicts Our Lady Immaculate that is worshiped mainly by throwing coins at statues. The artist made an epoxy resin cast modelled on mass-produced figures from devotional shops and styled it, fixing coins to its surface – the Virgin is crying tears made of coins embedded in transparent resin, they run down her robes and face, embellishing the figure standing on a golden, spherical base made, among others, from one grosz coins. The work exposes the splendour and shallowness of the language of religious images and the degradation of religious symbols. The title of the sculpture suggests that the artists likens the kitsch of religion and the kitsch of entertainment, and more broadly, it points to business and advertising under the guise of religious worship. In his critique of the financial interests of the Church, Rumas refers to, the tradition of Reformation; a conflict that has been going on in the Christian world for centuries.