Mario Espliego

Artist selected by Armengol, David at 2011
More artist content updated at 2016

At the moment I’m working on documenting images of symbolic destruction, with particular interest in the destruction - construction of monuments. I’m also interested in the processes in which ‘the system’ swallows up critical issues and uses them as democratising tools, creating a paradoxical images of itself.


My projects tend towards sculpture, although I create them according to the needs in question in terms of both subjects and form.


My work is full of contradictions and I shun messianic visions.



1. What made you choose art as a profession?
If I take profession to mean “a remunerated job or trade”, I don’t think I can consider what I do as a ‘profession’.



2. How would you define your work?
I’m usually driven by a need – a need to explore, find out, challenge myself. I tend to reach for ‘another turn of the screw’ and each new piece consciously avoids definitions from the previous one. I need to contradict myself at every step. If I were sure on a definition, it wouldn’t make any sense to keep on looking.



3. What subjects are you interested in?
I’m interested in any subject. I usually start with anecdotal situations or facts, one-off stories that I try to connect to explore broader subjects.



4. What resources – formal or otherwise – do you use in your work?
Whatever I need at any given time; I’m not averse to using any materials, formats, techniques, etc.
Perhaps I’m more reluctant to work with certain ‘noble’ materials with strong historical connotations, especially with my sculpture work. I think I follow political rather than aesthetic criteria (in the most cosmetic sense) when choosing a material.



5. What relationship does your work have with reality? What are your raw materials?
My work is usually based on personal experiences, the world around me, raw, everyday reality. I read a newspaper practically every day; I love devouring books unrelated to art, novels, comics, specialist magazines; I love exploring and losing myself online and, of course, watching television, including absolute rubbish. I don’t usually explore major universal subjects; I prefer sifting through the dregs of my own experiences. I’m not that demanding; I’m happy with what I’ve got. That’s my material.



6. What, according to you, is the point of art?
For me, it’s a way of expressing problems, setting up challenges, exploring the ins and outs of the world we live in, offering crazy visions, turning things on their head, screaming from the silence.
For others, it’s an elegant form of money-laundering with a socio-cultural appearance. It all depends on who you ask.



7. How do you hope the public will receive your work? What audience are you aiming at?
Generally I’m not very demanding about the kind of public. This might be a mistake, but there’s not usually much secrecy about my work. I try to show most of the codes that go into reading any piece.
Although it varies, some projects do call for more informed spectators and are more challenging when it comes to decoding them.



8. What qualifications have you got? What do you value most from your time in education?
Academically, I’m a specialist in sculpture and a fine art graduate from the Universidad Complutense in Madrid. I’m currently taking a Master’s course in art research in the same department.
What I value most from this time are the experiences and things I learnt from my fellow students, along the university corridors, and some teachers. The specialist course in sculpture laid excellent technical foundations that I built upon with the more theoretical part of the department. But above all I recall the endless hours of research in the library on my own initiative.


I particularly value my experiences from when I was younger, when I played in a punk band, edited a fanzine, set up a short-lived silkscreen printing company, produced a radio programme, etc.
Although I didn’t have much interest in art at the time, I think these experiences are now coming back in a kind of boomerang effect. They were ways of exploring how to create situations and to a certain extent I’m going back to working in a similar fashion, although this time more consciously. It was a really active time, completely unpaid, a kind of back-to-the-future “De Lorean” time trip, a reappearing ghost.



9. How would you define your current professional situation? And in the future?
My professional situation is economically precarious, but highly productive in terms of creating projects. In the future, I hope things will stabilise and I can make a sustainable living from my art work.



10. Many artists say it’s difficult to make a living from their work; how do economic considerations affect you when it comes to work? Do you think this has a bearing on your work?
I’m used to working on a low budget. This makes you accept certain things and take certain risks when designing a piece. Every day we see very poor quality ‘art projects’ with ridiculously inflated budgets, and the same can happen the other way round. Perhaps we should look for a midpoint – in this world you’re either in a wild money bubble or work with utterly no security at all.


I don’t think this has a bearing on my work in terms of coming up with ideas, but it might affect how and what I use to show it.



11. What do you look for or expect from your relationship with promoters and curators? What advantages and difficulties have you found with these relationships?
I don’t look for anything; I hope to find agreement, collaboration and debate. I also think artists are able to manage these aspects themselves, since how and in what context a piece is shown is a key part of creating. I see these agents as another intermediary and hope they add to things rather than set up hurdles.
My little experience has all been positive, since it was a horizontal, enriching experience.



12. What do you think sets the arts scene in Madrid apart from elsewhere? What would you say are its pluses and minuses?
I have to ask myself what scene we’re talking about. I can reply from a completely subjective position. The scene in my head is very different to other people’s – it’s a personal thing. I think there are lots of ‘scenes’ in Madrid; the ‘scene’ I have most contact with is a precarious, young scene, more submerged than emerging, but totally productive in terms of both materials and ideas, although in recent years there seems to be more interest and more horizontal initiatives. This could be a plus point; on the down side, some people get lost on the way due to a lack of visibility or resources, there is a network of power that legitimises what appears at certain institutions, and there’s widespread uncertainty, etc. But as I said, all this is very subjective.


Curriculum vitae

Mario Espliego
Guadalajara, 1983.
Vive y trabaja en/Lives and works in: Madrid.

Formación Académica/Education
Actualmente realizando Tesis Doctoral PHD: Del archivo del derrocamiento al ciberterrorismo en el departamento de Historia del Arte III bajo la dirección de Aurora Fernández Polanco. Universidad Complutense. Madrid.

MAC+I, Master en Arte, Creación e Investigación, Facultad de Bellas Artes, Universidad Complutense de Madrid.


Licenciado en Bellas artes/Bachelor of Fine Arts, Universidad Complutense de Madrid.


Taller/Workshop Concordando la realidad, Libia Castro y Olaffur Olaffson, Universidad Complutense de Madrid.


Técnico Superior en Artes Plásticas/Fine Arts Superior Technician y Diseño en las Artes Aplicadas de la Escultura, Escuela de arte La Palma, Madrid.


Exposiciones Colectivas/Group Exhibitions
Retroalimentación Sala de Arte Joven. Madrid. Comisariado Tiago Abreu de Pinto.

Suroeste. MEIAC. Badajoz. Comisariado Antonio Franco.
XXIV Edición Circuitos de Artes Plásticas. Sala de Arte Joven, Madrid, Comisariado por Alberto Sánchez Balmisa.
Muestra Artes Visuales Injuve (itinerante): Centro Cultural de España de San Salvador, El Salvador/ CCE Managua. Nicaragua/ CCE La Antigua, Guatemala/ CCE Tegucigalpa, Honduras. 
The Symbolic. Archimobile. Seleccionado por Andrea Hill. TEMP, New York.

Muestra Artes Visuales Injuve: Espacio promoción del arte, Tabacalera, Madrid.

Archivo de Creadores de Madrid (Selección) Comisario David Armengol. MATADERO, Madrid.
SIANOJA, Simposio Internacional de Artistas en Noja, Comisariado Manuel Saénz-Messía, Santander.

Intransit, Sala del c Arte c, Museo del Traje, Madrid.
Todo disfraz, OTR Espacio de Arte, Madrid.


Palacio de los Serrano, Obra Social Caja Ávila, Ávila.
J.P.N.R, Casa de la Cultura, Azuqueca de Henares, Guadalajara; Centro Cultural Infanta Cristina, Pinto, Madrid.


69º Exposición Internacional de Artes Plásticas de Valdepeñas, Ciudad Real.
Simposio Internacional de Escultura en Mármol, Escuela del Mármol de Andalucía, Fines, Almería.
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Ayllón, Segovia.


Actividades Académicas/Academic Related Activities
Simposio Internacional Praxis y Contexto de Arte Contemporáneo. Fundación Eugenio Almeida, Évora, Portugal .
XX Jornadas de estudio de la imagen: especular sobre el cambio. Ca2M. Madrid. 
Muestras de Archivo: Presentación pública junto a los artistas: Alejandra Valero, Nicolás Combarro e Irma Fdez, Laviada, Matadero, Madrid. 

XIX Jornadas de estudio de la imagen: Un sistema hechizado. El papel exorcista de las imágenes, Ca2M, Madrid. 
Diálogos entrecruzados. Seminario de Jóvenes investigadores en estética/estudios visuales/ investigación artística, La Casa Encendida, Madrid. 

Mirar el presente. Ca2M, Móstoles, Madrid.

¿Qué nos cuentan los objetos?, Mayo (CA2M),  Móstoles, Madrid.

“Útiles para la destrucción”, Revista Sueroeste, Publicación hispano-lusa, Badajoz. Diciembre, Separata.
“Paramnesia”, Zine autoeditado, Madrid.

“Utiles para la destrucción”, Zine autoeditado, Madrid. 

“Archivo del derrocamiento”, E-prints Complutense, UCM, Madrid.

Becas y Premios/Awards and Grants
XXIV Edición Circuitos de Artes Plásticas, Sala de Arte Joven, Madrid.2013.

Muestra Artes Visuales Injuve, Espacio promoción del arte, Tabacalera, Madrid. 

SIANOJA. Simposio Internacional de Artistas en Noja, Santander. 

INTRANSIT, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Complutense, Madrid. 

Residencia para jóvenes creadores, Fundación AG, Córdoba.

Beca Ayllón, Villa de Ayllón, Segovia. (Beca/Grant)

Beca del Departamento de Escultura, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Quito-Quingue, Ecuador. (Beca/Grant)


Beca del Departamento de Escultura, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Matruchaya, India. (Beca/Grant)


Premios Latina Escultura, Madrid. (Mención de Honor/Honourable Mention)


Obra en Museos y Colecciones/Works in Museums and Collections
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Ayllón, Segovia.
Facultad de Bellas Artes, Universidad Complutense de Madrid.