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A conversation with Marta Ponsa

episode 21
Mar 22 2021

Art historian Marta Ponsa shares her perspective on the value of online art exhibitions and the evolution of women’s representation in the art world

About our guest

Marta Ponsa is an Spanish art historian currently living in Paris. She worked for 8 years at the Department of Photography and Visual Arts of the Fundacio "la Caixa" in Barcelona as coordinator of the catalogues, exhibitions and audiovisual production. Since 2007, Marta Ponsa has been Head of the department of Artistic Projects and Cultural Activities, which is in charge of Jeu de Paume' s online exhibition space "Espace virtuel", public programs (performances, symposia, talks and seminars),  cinema program and "Le Magazine", Jeu de Paume's webzine. Her more recent show as a curator was the Supermarket of Images.


Jeu de Paume
Espace Virtuel
Le Magazine

“We don’t have many of these models in the social panorama”

Online magazine and exhibtion
le Supermarché des images
(the supermarket of images)

“We are not talking just about representation, we are talking about real action and power, and also I think a different way to manage and to see the world”

Espace virtuel
Project of the artist Jeanne Susplugass
“Là où habite ma maison”

Today’s Raw and Radical podcast features an interview with Marta Ponsa, who is an art historian and is currently a curator for Jeu de Paume and oversees their Artistic Projects and Cultural Activities department.

Marta has a particular interest in photography and visual art. Early in her academic career, she studied 17th century religious etchings and iconography made, as she says, “to teach, and to convert, and to manipulate people” in North and South America.

This focus naturally transitioned to photography and contemporary art later on.

“The transfer to photograph was in a way natural for me … I am interested in the power of images … and who are the creators and the context of the creation ... how are they spread,” she says. “Users and abusers—that is the core of my career and my interest.”

Engaging Online Art Audiences

Now, as the head of the Artistic Projects and Cultural Activities department, Marta spends a great deal of time finding ways to engage different audiences in the online exhibits that she curates.

“How can we bring other audiences to our place? How can we open doors ... open windows to get audiences involved and to attend projects?” she says.

These online exhibits have been particularly successful during the pandemic lockdowns. Even though the museum itself has been shut down, she has been able to continue working with various artists and audiences to offer new art and new perspectives to audiences.

“We had a lot of visitors to these spaces … going through the spaces,” Marta says. “It was our way to share, to still be alive.”

Representation for Women in the Art World

Marta also shares her thoughts on the progression of women having equal representation in the arts, and how there is still a lot of progress to be made. Despite the fact that numerically speaking, more women are represented in the arts, in society, and in politics, she says the real issue goes deeper than that.

“We are not talking about just representation, we are talking about real action and power and also I think a different way to manage and to see the world,” Marta says.

But from her perspective, part of the problem is that women are having to invent their own ways of building self confidence and promoting themselves.

“We don’t have many of these models in the social panorama,” Marta says. “So the work is harder… We have to find our own ways of creating ourselves. The challenge is bigger but open new perspectives maybe be less hierarchical and more transversal and collective.”

She goes on to encourage women to continue working toward these changes. “I think we can, and we should. As I say we should keep on and pay attention and look around and think… because to make changes is always complicated but it is exciting.”

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