Collaboration in the Number Cero of Barahúnda Revista de Arte y Pensamiento. Dialogue between Paula Rubio Infante and Mario Espliego

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Fragment of the conversation

(Mario Espliego) First of all thank you for your desire for dialogue and have agreed to talk with me about your work. We have talked on numerous occasions previously about specific work, and I have long been a regular follower of your proposals. I think that from the first time I faced your work I marked it as an “essential”. The truth is that I do not remember which was the first time I agreed with a piece of yours, but I remember that the display with the lighting, the sculptural pieces, its materiality and, above all, the most procedural part with delicate models and drawings, your jobs since then.
I have read on other occasions that your father was one of the workers of the prison in Carabanchel, until its closure. Perhaps the origin of much of your work are photographs that you can preserve from the year 98, the Carabanchel prison or rather the experience of your affective relationship with that place. What did those visits mean at the experiential level and why do you think that marked your career so much later?

(Paula Rubio Infante) That visit was very important. I entered in 1998, with 21 years and my first camera, to a prohibited place, segregated from the rest of society, secret, taboo and dangerous, criminal. I entered with my father, who had worked there as an official since the 1970s. During the tour, which I chose, he described to me what each space was destined for, what function each object had, telling me their concrete experiences in designated places. It was not the first time I did it, but on that day I was able to visualize a concrete, true, real context and complete stories that were in the air, as with an invented part or that I had imagined, which corresponded to the “place of the facts”. We went through the corridor where, he told me, he sometimes followed the officials when there was an entrance, in a specific area of ​​the prison, to ensure that there was no abuse exercise by the institution … we saw the bathroom where he found an inmate who had committed suicide …. or in which one prisoner gave a pending account to another by a radio and while he was sitting in the toilet he punctured his head several times … we went down to the insulation module …. or to the corner of the patio where, at night, some officials shot the rats and the echo of the detonations could be heard from the whole enclosure … There are many stories, very shocking … To all this I agreed that day …