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The Hide and Seek of the Forgotten. Cabinet of Drawing and Print Valencia.

Entrevista realizada por Alberto Asprino.


La cerámica contemporánea en Venezuela presenta un particular y revelador espacio en el contexto de las artes visuales. Ya son reconocidas todas esas entregas personales que desde el barro y el fuego se esforzaron toda una vida para otorgarle gran distinción y significación.

Hoy una generación emergente asume ese sensible legado, buscando asumir los nuevos caminos que tanto exige el acto creativo.

María Esther Barbieri asume ese riesgo, por lo que es pertinente indagar en sus motivaciones y búsqueda individual.


ALBERTO ASPRINO: It strikes me, that graduated as an Industrial Engineer and having practiced your profession with large-scale projects, you have "gone to the side of art", identifying with ceramics, whose technical process is complex. What motivated you to inquire into art?


BARBIERI: I think that the human being is always in a constant search, he spends his life asking questions about his existence and about what many call "mission", in other words, what did I come for ?; There was a moment when that question arrived and the answer I found was to immerse myself in art, which

since I was a child, although in other areas, it was always part of my life, only when deciding how I would earn my living I was inclined towards mathematics that also plays an important role for me and that in one way or another they are always present in some of my works. Art is peace, it is my refuge, when I am creating it is like being in a separate world, I am not the only one that has that feeling when it creates, I think humans decided to create, because we need communion with our inner.


AA: As an emergent creator, you have succeeded in everything that has happened in the artistic medium and in your particular case, trying to reflect on each step. Is Barbieri released from so much information obtained as an intellectual reference?


BARBIERI: Well, liberation as such, no, maybe because I do not want to be completely free of that information, rather it exists as a classification of the information and it is used as needed, I am going to it as dosing and it is infinite because as long as you investigate more you want to know, it is very rich, to interact with other cultures, to know the why of certain events, to reflect on it and to draw your own conclusions, this feedback is what allows me to create.


AA: Your presence in different exhibition scenarios has been highlighting a plastic language, to be defined in some way, different. How do you configure it?


BARBIERI: I believe that everything that is done must "say something", communicate emotions, denounce events; the different plastic techniques that one has been learning, allow that these emotions are then connected with the technique and the perfect amalgam is made, when the idea arises it is not done thinking that it will be something different, but it exists as a need to express oneself a different way to the conventional one.

AA: Are academic knowledge and technical demands intermingled?


BARBIERI: Definitely yes, academic knowledge is latent at all times and emerges at the right time is something that is achieved almost unconsciously.


AA: What do you intend to give more dedication to, the craft process characteristic of ceramics or conceptual content?


BARBIERI: So far I think they are hand in hand, the conceptual thing always catches me, the conceptual works have always awakened in me a great admiration, the craft process in the case of ceramics also requires dedication because of my personality or character I am very demanding the finishing of a piece, but I think this is something already personal.

AA: The use of porcelain as a contemporary aesthetic matter has had a great boom in most international ceramic settings and its contributions are more than known. Why do you identify with such specific material?


BARBIERI: I started in the Arts of Fire with clay and not with porcelain, but as I found the path towards which I wanted to direct my steps in this area, I realized that the pure white porcelain does not I would get some slip, on the clay. What I am looking for is the representation of woven objects, indigenous or native to our country, but through a fragile and pure material such as porcelain.


AA: Porcelain and anthropology on the one hand and on the other, the indigenist and popular theme, characterize your current work. How do you do not create ruptures between both aspects?


BARBIERI: I would respond with a phrase very used in our culture "opposites attract", I think that there is magic, the hole that I found that makes me feel so comfortable, black and white, are opposite; resistant and fragile, they are opposites; ilencio and noise, are opposite, the monochrome gives me two ways, the mystical and the concrete, illustrates the division between a spiritual search and the desire to emphasize the material presence of an object as a concrete reality and not as an illusion, in my work again we find the opposites: the object as such and the mystic icon.


AA: In your work there are notorious steps, demanding and concrete, how do you overcome all the complexity that you have imposed assuming the emptying of the porcelain on "previous forms" created from everyday objects, such as the basketry of the Amazon , alpargatas llaneras, Wayuú hats, among others?


BARBIERI: These are challenges, each work is a wonderful challenge that is enjoyed from the idea to its installation, I let myself be guided by intuition, the idea becomes a project, the project on site and I do not stop to think how complex it can be turn the idea into a work because I always think that "everything is possible".


AA: Does that screen-printed detail that you print on the body of the work is worn as skin or as an existential epidermis?


BARBIERI: The primordial function of the skin is to "contain the body". Protect him from aggressions from the external environment: cold, heat, cushioning traumatisms, I think that in the case of my work it is worn like skin.

AA: I notice that you "flirt" with the space to implant your facilities. Do you propose it as an alliance or as a museographic resource?


BARBIERI: it's more like an alliance, it's a partnership that I like to establish between the space and the work.


AA: And speaking of space, your habitat-refuge in the outskirts of Valencia is really privileged. be surrounded by lush trees that point to the sky, dirt roads covered with flowering shrubs, flocks of birds and butterflies everywhere is really amazing. Do you internalize all that natural presence in the work?

BARBIERI: That space is wonderful was visualized and found and yes, it's really amazing, that natural paradise gives me the tranquility and silence necessary to create, I think the works are impregnated with everything that happens during its creation so it is very likely that much of that energy remains embodied in it.



Beyond the effort that Barbieri has imposed to develop from art a true project of life, his work in this stage of creation is no more than an excuse to reinforce that need to find true answers to those human mirrors in which he continually look and allow him to portray everything that happens in his daily life. The hard work and faith found in it create their own strength, as a daily communion.

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