The new oligarchic classes in Mexico display their power and wealth in a casual and proud manner, choosing to live in extravagant villas with sumptuous furnishings. By means of eclectic elements and symbols - overblown architectural features in the Classical style, wall paintings depicting a stylized exotic nature, stuffed animals and statues of slaves recalling a colonial past - these places testify to the wealth of their owners, while at the same time revealing a serious lack of cultural awareness.
Rossell invited young women - often friends or acquaintances of hers - to pose and freely choose how to present themselves. By adopting wide-angle perspectives and playing up the pictorial integration of the various reflexes of colours and light, the artist has produced pictures in which the female figures portrayed become part of the interior decorations themselves, emphasizing the exasperated character and kitsch taste of the rooms they are in by their way of dressing and gestures.
Photography here merges the bodies of the models with the setting in which they have chosen to present themselves, leading to the creation of what almost appear as grotesque tableaux vivants. What is striking is how most of these young women have chosen to adopt poses that mirror the stereotypes about sensuality typical of the way in which women are represented in films and on television. The medial models for gender roles presented by consumer culture surface as leitmotifs in the lives of these women. The titles of the photographs - for instance, Janita in Her Father's Office - illustrate how the power of these women depends not on their own person but on their status as the wives or daughters of powerful and important men, in a world in which the female image fluctuates between that of the princess and that of the luxury ornament.
Daniela Rossell herself belongs to this social class and has testified with her photographs the condition of these women and their often grotesque image: "Wealthy women in Mexico are prisoners of their houses, style and excess. Most of them live in the salon. They really want to look American, like what you see on TV, and they go to a lot of work to accomplish that. It's a kind of hell.
There's so much unhap piness among the people who supposedly have everything". By lending expression to the sumptuous and garish reality of the super-rich in contemporary Mexican society, Daniela Rossell is exploring the theme of the deep-seated crisis which the cultural identity of this class is undergoing. By accumulating luxury objects, these people appear to be searching for a way to make up for and affirm their own role, drawing upon the iconography of a colonial power that by now strikes us as something belonging to the distant past.