June 11, 2020 | Alyson Stanfield

Embracing a New Meaning for Her Sculpture During Covid with Carmen Mariscal

Born in California, raised in Mexico City, Carmen Mariscal had been living in Paris for many years when our paths first crossed in 2012. She's been sheltering in place with her family in the north of France during Covid, but will soon be returning to London, where they resettled a couple of years ago.

Carmen Mariscal, Chez Nous, 2020. Steel, padlocks (different metals – 4.8 tons). 289 x 196 x 264 cm. Photo courtesy the artist. Used with permission.

I've watched Carmen's career soar as she devotes herself to serious projects and exhibitions. It's been my pleasure to guide her when she needs it along the way.

Carmen has been working on her Chez Nous (Our Home) project for a number of years. It was finally installed in Paris near the high-trafficked area of the Louvre just hours before shelter in place orders.

There is no way she could have predicted what would happen next.

The Chez Nous story speaks to the power of art and the fact that you, once you put your art out into the world, have no control over how it's perceived—over what it comes to mean to others.

Please enjoy my conversation with Carmen Mariscal.

Listen Now


Music by Wildermiss.

Highlights

  • Carmen's car accident in her early 20s and how it impacted her and continues to influence her work. (3:43)
  • Carmen's personal experience of being trapped that gave her space to learn and reflect similar to many artists before her. (6:40)Carmen Mariscal podcast about Chez Nous
  • What the Chez Nous sculpture is. (9:30)
  • The backstory of padlocks on Parisian bridges and why the city had to begin removing them. (10:10)
  • How Carmen got the idea to use the padlocks for a sculpture. (12:30)
  • What it took to get the project approved by the city and all the obstacles Carmen and her team faced due to changing laws and the installation's weight and cost. (14:00)
  • Total cost of the project. (20:00)
  • The opening of Chez Nous and what immediately followed. (22:20)
  • The new meaning that Chez Nous took on given the circumstances in France and the world surrounding Covid-19. (25:00)
  • How word spread about the piece on social media, despite the fact that very few people were able to lay eyes on the installation in person and “Once you create a work of art, it doesn't belong to you anymore.” (27:15)
  • How Carmen felt when her original intent was completely transformed by the circumstances. (28:00)
  • Carmen's project, La Esposa Esposada, and how it relates to Chez Nous. (33:35)
  • Carmen's work raising money for organizations that give shelter to women and children who are victims of violence. Donate here. (35:00)

About My Guest

Carmen Mariscal is a Mexican visual artist. Born in the US, in California, she lives and works in London. She holds a master’s degree in Visual Arts from the Winchester School of Art in England, a graduate degree in painting from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London and a BA in Art History from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City.

Carmen works in different disciplines such as installation, sculpture, video, photography and theatre set design. The recurrent themes in her work are fragility, confinement and memory.


Music by Wildermiss.

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7 comments add a comment
  • Kelly anquoe

    Inspiring and informative. Thank you

  • Congratulations! Lockdown indeed! Thanks for highlighting this project and Carmen Mariscal’s career. Wonderful video quickly shows us the story. This is excellent documentation! Chez Nous has a wide audience with layered, engaging themes that will stay with us. A cheer for Carmen and her advisor too!

    • Alyson Stanfield

      Torrie: So happy you could listen to Carmen’s story. She’s done a great job all around.

  • Sue G

    What a wonderful interview! Carmen is inspiring and I hope to be able to see Chez Nous in person one day, as well. My thanks to Alyson for having Carmen on the podcast and to Carmen for sharing your experience and stories.

  • Wow. A wonderful listen as always. Carmen and her artistic ideas are inspiring, as are her persistence and determination in making real, her artistic ideas. Thank you Carmen and Alyson!

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