Interview with Esperanza Mayobre

May 5th 2010

Interview with Esperanza Mayobre

I met with Esperanza back at my studio in New York many months ago.  However in the rush of everything and running back and forth, we forgot to get the important bit done. Better late than never though… here is a little interview we did.

Esperanza Mayobre’s work deals with things ‘that we generally do not want to talk about’ in a way that makes them very easy to talk about in deed.  Her tongue in cheek attitude invites you into her semi-fictional world as she lays bare her opinions on everything from birth to immigration.  Born in Caracus and now based in New York, Mayobre plays with the notion of layered environments and the overlapping of ideologies. Both constructing these worlds and breaking them apart them at once, her work  decodes the notion of cultural displacement whilst creating her own reality.

IS: You describe yourself as a ’story maker’ who invents stories to justify your existence. How do you feel about the idea of the ‘myth of the artist’? Do you think it is important for artists to create a certain persona for themselves?

EM: It is fascinating to me to try and comprehend what art is.  If I understood it I don’t think I will be very interested in art or in being an artist myself.

Meaning is subject to time and space. The ‘myth of the artist’, that we generally relate to, is based on 19th century ideas.  The actual ’struggle of the artist’ is very different from the artist’s perspective working in 2010. So I guess to respond your question…the myth of the artist is relevant in a historical context, it is as important or un-important as the ‘myth of the doctor’, ‘of the lawyer’, or ‘the secretary’.  They are stereotypes created to understand persona.  Creating a persona…maybe if I was a performance artist, but for the kind of artist I am it would be kind of boring and dated.

IS: What do you consider your role to be as an artist?


1.To create awareness about the problems in our society that are almost impossible to solve.

2. As contradictory as it may sound, creating something that can take the viewer out of our realities, at least temporarily.

IS: What are the main areas of inquiry within your work?

EM:They are so many. I basically respond to anything that happens and surrounds me.  Even though I don’t know how to create stories with words, as a writer would…I like considering myself a visual writer. I’m compelled by the abstraction of meaning, forms and relationships that visual arts create.

IS:You often use spaces as a whole to communicate your work. What value do you place first hand experience and spatial dialogue with a work, in contrast to experiencing the work through documentation?

EM:I respond to the space as strongly as to the idea or the materials I select. I use the space as my canvas.  Every inch becomes part of it. As with most art…if possible, it is better to experience my work in person than to view reproductions.

IS:What was it that attracted you to being included in this project?

EM:Your small box: a strange cabinet of curiosities with several small work being transported back and forth!