Mónica Espinosa: Tending to Little Worlds

Thursday, 29 May 2014 14:39 Written by Angélica Abelleyra
Espinoza (Mexico City, 1977) likes to work with the details and intimacy of small universes. Rather than understanding how the world is, she is more interested in how it builds itself every moment, in an almost magical, suspended process. Thus, she addresses the idea of neglect, in a fragile dandelion or the dust particles that fill the corners of a house. Between drawing, photography, sculpture and video, she always depicts the fleeting nature of this ignored world, to journey back into it,  and return to the ruins.
Ever since she was a child, Espinoza has been interested in collecting objects. Among these, stones were and are still are her favorite, a solitary pastime as is reading. She has moved on from storybooks to philosophy, quantum science, cinema, aesthetics and Buddhism, which explain her intellectual tendency and interest for concepts in her artwork, ever since she studied at “La Esmeralda” Art College and specialized in Fine Art in Germany.
Before studying art and becoming interested in theorists such as Gilles Deleuze, Maurice Blanchot and Martin Heidegger, Espinoza worked in journalism. She studied Communication at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, but despite graduating with a high GPA, did not find that sphere appealing. To immerse herself again in history of art and aesthetics, she enrolled at “La Esmeralda”. There, her teachers Abraham Cruzvillegas and José Luis Sánchez Rull helped her to pay attention to everyday reality, observe the sculpture in each leaf and appreciate the importance of every feature of a painting by Fra Angélico, even the bird perched on a wire on one side.
Still in training, the artist took part in the academic exchange group between “La Esmeralda” and the Braunschweig Art School in Germany, where she experimented with installations and expanded her vision of international contemporary art.
Three years after graduating, Espinoza joined the Jumex international contemporary art collective and the group of artists that runs the Garash Gallery. For her, both experiences were a privilege, as she would not have had the courage to promote her work to galleries and collectors herself. In addition to Mexico, she has exhibited her work in New York, Madrid, Buenos Aires, San Francisco and various German cities.
Espinoza says that practicing Zen meditation helps her to observe her work calmly and carefully. Indeed, every day she reads seven phrases pinned to her fridge door, which help her in her work: smile, be calm, pay attention and observe, invoke and keep secrets, donate to the word then abandon, share and begin to enjoy yourself.
Each one reminds her to focus on her work, whether in videos in which nothing appears to happen (“Six minutes thinking of my friends”), detailed drawings in which the tiny red dot of a ladybird stands out against the night (“White Night”) or sculptures that reproduce objects left on a bus (“Duplicity”). In all of these, she uses various tones and rhythms to underline subtle elements and draw attention to the realities gradually uncovered in slow, confused processes.
Text originally published in La Jornada Semanal (December 3 2006).

La confabulación del cenicero

Mónica Espinosa y Alfredo Mendoza proponen una confabulación o juego de relaciones y de aproximaciones entre una serie de objetos cotidianos; una instalación que abarca todo el espacio de El Cubo y que se extiende hacia el exterior del museo. El objeto inicial de esta "confabulación" -cuyo punto central se ubica en lo que fuera la casa de David Alfaro Siqueiros- es justamente un cenicero que perteneció al muralista. Los artistas toman como punto de partida para su instalación los mandalas del budismo tibetano que representan las fuerzas para la meditación -para presentar una serie de apuntes tridimensionales, bidimensionales y sonoros. En colaboración con otros artistas -cuya obra en incluida en la instalación y por tanto apropiada por Espinosa y Mendoza- convierten El Cubo en un espacio de contemplación. En base a lo que Marcel Duchamp denominara lo infraleve (una caricia, un roce ligero, el calor que se disipa, un dibujo al vapor de agua, etc.) presentan la capacidad que las situaciones comunes poseen para tornarse rituales, maneras relevantes de habitar un universo: el andar del mundo.
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