Oct, 2016: Elisa Martínez & Co.

  1. Work
  2. Presentation
  3. Interview
  4. Opinion
  • Elisa Martínez & Co. Tengo que… [I have to…]

    2010, 9’38’’

    Digital format. Own and found photos. (Spanish)

    This video is the product of the need to face up to and rid myself of the obligations we impose on ourselves. To highlight the connection between the body and mind, and its consequences.

    Girl: Rosa García.

    Editing: Cristina Pérez.

    Sound editing: Bernat Pascual.

    Direction and voiceover: Elisa Martínez

  • Elisa Martínez & Co. En los museos no hay gotelé [There’s no stippling in museums]

    2012, 7’35’’

    Full HD video. (Spanish)

    A painting with dripping oil highlights the need to justify art. During the process, the video “Pierrick Sorin Interview by himself” appeared. Though I didn’t understand the content, Sorin’s video encouraged me to laugh at myself. This led me to improvise a false exhibition, “We are Oil”, where it is the dripping oil that gives the game away.

    Photography and editing: Cristina Pérez.

    Music and sound editing: Bernat Pascual.

    Direction: Elisa Martínez.

  • Elisa Martínez & Co. The Best or Nothing / Lo Mejor o Nada / Das Beste oder Nichts

    2013, 1’30’’ (x 3)

    Full HD video. (English, Spanish and German)

    This piece came about as a result of the news of an increase in the luxury car market of some 83% in 2012, and the proliferation and normalization of the use of shopping trolleys to collect scrap metal in the city of Barcelona. I appropriate the “luxury car ad” as a clear allusion to predominantly male power and the Mercedes Benz slogan “The Best or Nothing”. The siren song of advertising shows us an element that does not match its formal language. The text, aimed at a capitalist predator, is in different languages to highlight the globalization of the problem.

    Photography and editing: Cristina Pérez.

    Music and voiceover: Bernat Pascual.

    With the collaboration of Germán de Santiago.

    Direction: Elisa Martínez.

  • Elisa Martínez & Co. Ser Artista [Being an artist]

    2014, 5’57’’

    Digital video (Majorcan)

    Whether or not you are considered as artist by your family and those closest to you may depend, in the first instance, on the recognition of “specialists”.

    To present my parents is to present the working class of the 20th century, trapped in the “society of the spectacle” and the dictatorship of work. They dreamed of being artists and therefore conveyed this desire to their daughters.

    This video forms part of the interdisciplinary installation ÈXIT [SUCCESS] and my personal investigation into “Belonging and Differentiation”.

    Antonia Company and Joaquín Martínez.

    Camera and editing: Joan Antoni Molina.

    With the collaboration of Marina Martínez.

    Original idea and editing: Elisa Martínez

  • Elisa Martínez & Co. Éxito Seguro [Success guaranteed]

    2014, 5’35’’

    HD video. (Spanish and Majorcan)

    What is success? Who decides that you’ve achieved it? How long does it last? How do we value the everyday hard work that goes into achieving what you wish for?

    “I wasn’t taught to win, I was taught to work, but I learned to fly.” A reflective exercise based on my own experience, showing the dirty side of the artist as opposed to the shininess of success.

    This video forms part of the interdisciplinary installation ÈXIT [SUCCESS] and shows part of the process of creating the bronze work “Mejor trayectoria artística 2015” [Best Artistic Career 2015], a sculpture that is part of the same installation.

    Voiceover: Jordi Boixaderas and Elisa Martínez.

    Music and sound editing: Bernat Pascual.

    Editing: Cristina Pérez.

    With the collaboration of: María de Frutos, Xavi Saló, Rocío Pastor, Nieves Casquete, Cristina Repullo, Satur Merino, Santiago López, Salvador Cuenca, Jordi Sorolla, Ariadna Martí and many more.

    Direction: Elisa Martínez.

I was born in Palma de Mallorca on Friday 13 February 1981. My mother decided to change the destiny of her first-born by a few hours and made sure that I was legally born on Saturday 14th, “Valentine’s Day”. From day one, in this world, what I “am” is intertwined with what others want me to be.

Until I was 18 I studied acting at different schools in Palma de Mallorca. The game of “being an actress” started to feel dangerous and I gave it up. How can I be other people if I don’t even know who I am?

I arrived in Barcelona in 1999 and started studying filmmaking at the CECC, where I was involved in over 30 shorts and other audiovisual projects. I was part of several departments, but I soon turned to Artistic Direction and Props. I was drawn by the ability to explain using objects and space. In those early years I didn’t do any directing because I felt I didn’t have anything to say. In 2001, with the Discusión 14 collective, I co-directed the documental 200 Km, and it was then that I discovered how interesting and necessary it is to talk about reality.

In the course of those years I combined my work (stage design and construction, ephemeral architecture and theatre props) with my own personal projects, works that brought together installation, sculpture and video. In 2015 I graduated from the Arts Faculty of Barcelona University.

About my videos

Using your own life as artistic material could be called emotional exhibitionism, a game of acting on the stage of life (as Antonin Artaud said) or simply seeing your body as one tool more.

Oscar Cornago said: “Video is a space of resistance.” My works are the “place” where I unload personal sensations, the product of everyday conflicts of a social nature. For the purpose of sharing reflections on the “metabolisation” of imposed phenomena, based on improvisation and the careful construction of a script with critical, autobiographical content. I tend to think, like Virginia Woolf, that “[…] masterpieces are not single and solitary births; they are the outcome of many years of thinking in common, of thinking by the body of the people, so that the experience of the mass is behind the single voice”. ​

I’m interested in capturing the moment; I never do trial runs, the first shot is always the right one. The combination of a spare script and a spontaneous image is what most attracts me. It’s essential that people get the message, that’s why I’m very explicit but perhaps not very poetic. Television, cinema, popular symbolism, consideration of the artist’s work, caricature, irony and the search for my own identity are the elements I draw on.


What does being an artist mean? Who is responsible for legitimating an artist’s work? How can an artist express herself? To what extent do prizes help to consolidate her career? Is an artwork necessarily beautiful? What do we understand by beauty today? What do we understand by art? The work of Elisa Martínez & Co. addresses issues like these with humour and bite. With a highly autobiographical tone, in videos like En los museos no hay gotelé (2012), Ser Artista (2014) and Éxito seguro (2015), she uses her circumstances and the people around her (her parents, her colleagues and even herself) to try and find an answer to all of these and many other questions.

In the form of a direct interview (in this case with her parents), Ser Artista [Being an artist] reflects on what artists mean to society today. How do her parents view the fact that she decided to be an artist? How does the rest of society see artists in general? Are commonplaces about the bohemian 19th-century artist still valid? Then, En los museos no hay gotelé [There’s no stippling in museums] is a dissection—as parodic as it is forceful—of all the continuing clichés about the world of art, about the cryptic works and imposture of certain artists, about elitism in art, about the art market and the inevitable speculation it involves, about the impossibility of taking it apart from its social and critical function, about its relation with people, their routines and their everyday lives. While in these two works Elisa Martínez & Co. takes the art world as a point of departure, in Éxito seguro [Success Guaranteed] she reflects with irony and a touch of bitterness about the fate of all the film students in the years leading up to the crisis who embarked on their studies with expectations that turned out to be rather different to harsh reality (a considerable number of graduates who now get by as best they can in precarious jobs that have little or nothing to do with their interests). On the screen, faced with the impossibility of winning a Goya (the most obvious and high-profile representation of success in this country’s film context), Elisa Martínez & Co. makes her own, using a mould to make the bronze figure with the utmost professionalism. Meanwhile, voiceovers manifest the difficulties met by constant and frustrated attempts to become a professional in the film world.

But the artist’s work does not reflect only on the world of art and cinema. The Best or Nothing (2013) is the product of a comparison of two facts: the increase in the production and sale of luxury cars in 2012 and the proliferation of the use of supermarket trolleys to collect scrap metal in the city of Barcelona. The work takes these two facts to offer a scathing criticism of neoliberal capitalism, of all bodies that wield power by coercive means, of the overproduction and overconsumption that society imposes on us. This criticism is also evident in the work Tengo que… ([I have to…] 2010), a video that reminds us of all the pressures that contemporary society constantly subjects us to, as well as all the pressures that we also subject ourselves to, more or less voluntarily. Because… what is the price we have to pay for living as part of a society like the one around us?

Marla Jacarilla (visual artist and writer)

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