Nadie esperaba que yo tuviera talento

Estíbaliz Sádaba

Wearing a horse head, the artist is lost and wandering in a lush patio. Every time she falls, the sequence is repeated accompanied with canned laughter, as if we were watching a silent sitcom. Bits of text appear between the different scenes. They are extracts from a text about how to survive being a marginal monster, by the artist Karen Finley.

Nadie esperaba que yo tuviera talento presents the lost body of a woman as a structure that sustains the plastic and blind head of a horse. The initial irony of the scene soon turns pathetic, as we read the text: a personal manifesto about inequality. Even though she pretends to feel that she is in equal terms with the rest of the world, she actually feels closer to those who suffer than those who appear to be within her own status. The text insists on the importance of self-affirmation, on repeating over and over again her personal story of suffering. The artist presents herself as a self-affirmed sufferer whose stumbles validate and confirm her identity.

In her performance work Karen Finley always emphasised, against 80s conservative feminism, the marginal and silenced aspects that had to do with the feminine. Masculine thought had rejected and concealed many gender conflicts (like pleasure, illness and violence against women) and relegated them to the private sphere. Finley took these as the material for her work, putting these issues on view, by rejecting any notion of passivity and avoiding the victmisation of her own self. In her public performances she covered her body with garbage, giving the speech she shouted the strength of someone who speaks from within filth. From this monstruous position she managed to name the unsayable. Her own biography was the first reference text for her artistic practice, something which is also the case with Estíbaliz Sábada. Both explore the grotesque of the feminine and generate their own sphere of influence.

The grotesque transgression presented in Nadie esperaba que yo tuviera talento has been sweetened in order to lead the spectator into a form of reflection. The piece contains a certain pathetic quality and continually avoids crass violence. The fable format has been employed historically in the harshest forms of moral education. Sábada presents herself as a hybrid (centauress, female centaur). Historically, the centaur has represented male strength. The female version, however, lacks a literary or popular tradition. This virile exclusivity of the myth is introduced by Sábada as another form of pedagogical manipulation by patriarchal society.

Technical datasheet

  • Title: Nadie esperaba que yo tuviera talento
  • Direction: Estíbaliz Sádaba
  • Production: Estíbaliz Sadaba y Beca Fundación BilbaoArte. 2005.
  • Duration: 00:03:00
  • Languages: Spanish
  • Formats: Betacam Digital - DVD
  • TV systems: NTSC - PAL
  • License: Copyright