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Interview with Photographic Artist Laura Ribero

Can you introduce yourself and your work in one short paragraph?

Electro-domestica, 2003-2004

I am an artist from Colombia but I left 21 years ago. I moved to Spain to do a PhD in Visual Arts in 2002 at the  University of Barcelona. Currently, I live in Brazil. I am working mostly with photography. My projects have a narrative and theatrical character, that combines performance with a specific place, the imaginary with deeply personal stories, and reality with fiction.

When did you know you wanted to become an artist?


Since I was a child, I’ve always had a fascination for everything related to art: drawing, writing, reading poetry, and going to exhibitions. It was always an obvious choice to pursue a career in the arts. However, I think I only really started to see myself as an artist when I moved to Europe: Beyond the technical side, I discovered what I could express through my camera, and I found a motivating force to continue creating. Staying far away from my hometown helped me understand what I could express with my art and gain new freedom.

Where do you find inspiration?


I find inspiration in different places and moments. I love walking in the city, feeling the atmosphere of every place, and seeing the lights at night. I like quiet locations with melancholic character. Besides from that, I appreciate classical painting: the composition of my photos and the light are deeply inspired by the History of Art. Also, whenever I can, I try to talk to people: I like to get to know new cultures, and new stories. I’ve been away from my home country for so long, I cannot avoid meeting other types of people who are also navigating living between countries, cultures and different circumstances. It is inspiring for me to know their stories, they are a source of ideas for my work too.

What medium do you like working with and why?

08011, Barcelona, 2007

I love photography. The camera gave me the ability to see the world in frames, always thinking about how light can change the scene. For me, photography is very precise and ambivalent at the same time. It is so malleable that it brings the possibility of creating new realities.

How has your work explored the theme of domesticity and women’s place in the home? Why is this symbolic to you?

Electro-domestica, 2003-2004

Through my images, I explore the role of women, but in an old-fashioned way, which represents conservative conceptions of femininity. I do photo-performance, creating fictitious situations that provoke an absurd and discordant contrast with the setting. Most of the time I take photos in public places, even if they look like private places: hotels, cinemas, furniture stores, television studios. The images have subtle elements that make you doubt the veracity of the situation. It is symbolic for me because it represents the visual culture and traditions that I grew up with, in the ‘80s. I was fascinated by Latin American soap operas that showed cleaning women as protagonists of a repetitive story: the drama of the suffering woman, who dreams, who loves in silence and who is always waiting for her prince charming. A Cinderella who identifies our Latin American way of being, who represents that constant and romantic search for what we are not and what we do not have. The photos are a construction that reveals its falsehood: a mix between reality and fiction, fairy tales and kitsch, beauty and chaos.

What has been your proudest moment as an artist?


The highlight of my career as an artist could be the exhibitions organized by Verbund Collection (Austria). One of these was “Held Together with Water”, where I had the opportunity to exhibit my work together with women artists that I admire, such as Cindy Sherman, Gillian Wearing, Sarah Lucas, Nan Goldin, Birgit Jürgenssen, Nil Yalter and Francesca Woodman. This was a large exhibition that took place at the MAK Museum in Vienna and also at the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art. It was a wonderful collection that focused on the feminist avant-garde, identity and also on the perception of spaces and places.

What upcoming project do you have?

I am exploring different materials for photo printing, such as wood and textiles. I am very excited to discover the possibilities of the images with new materials. I am also very interested in being much more explicit about the political dimension of my work. Focusing on women, on personal stories of displacement, producing a body of work that is partly documentary and partly metaphorical.