Opened on November 10th 2022 at the Mercería de Valencia gallery, ‘Let’s Play’ is Jacobo Eid’s new exhibition which puts forward a playful and collaborative experience. The exhibition presents pieces designed to be modified by the visitor, thus transforming spectators into artists. Other exhibits are made from melted down and fused toys, like soldiers and cowboys, and turned into intricate and delicate structures. A former industrial engineer, he left behind his career in self-propulsion to let himself be driven by his playful and creative impulses.Following the hugely successful opening of this exhibition, Jacobo invited me to have a look at his studio, and after a beer and having a go at making my own art, we had a chance to chat.
24/7 VALENCIA: What started your interest in art? What made you decide to pursue it as a career?
Jacobo Eid: I have loved art all my life, creating without having an objective. In industrial engineering we always have a goal; to make a chair or a table etc, but I have always been obsessed by the pure art of creation and invention. The only part of life that I could find to create without rules was art. I finished my degree in engineering and started to look for ways of creating that they hadn’t taught us at university.
I started engineering to be an inventor, but it’s not the same as 100 years ago. There are so many more rules and structures. You need a lot of money and investors… for materials and resources. But art doesn’t require all that. It is freer.
How was the transition between the world of engineering and the world of art?
JE: It was very natural, while I was studying engineering I was also painting with friends and studying art on my own, so it was a very smooth transition. The change in lifestyle is amazing; I’m my own boss and I choose my own hours.
What processes from engineering do you use in your artwork?
JE: Yes. Everything I studied was to do with materials and technical processes of factories and industries, and that’s what I base myself on in my art, following the same processes as if I were a physicist, chemist or engineer. However, with an artistic perspective in mind, it also has to have a certain beauty and message for the viewer, so I try to make art that all can understand…that everyone can take something from.
Do you start off with a message in mind or does it develop naturally
JE:In any art form, whether that be poetry, music or whatever, people take from it what they identify with. If you have a song about love or heartbreak, there is obviously a clear message there, but everyone will bring it to their own level and identify it with their own story. So I try to send my own message, but that message is always translated and changed by the experiences of those who receive that message. I love that people can enjoy art for what I want to say and what they in turn take from it
How do you feel the exhibition is being received?
JE: To be honest, I didn’t expect such a great reception and such a good response from the public. Those who know about art are enjoying it from an expert level, and those who do not are still understanding it and enjoying it. I love that everyone is able to take something from it. Also the children who have come in and done workshops have had a great time, painting, cutting and drawing. There was a bit of destruction [of the exhibition], but it was beautiful, innocent destruction. They were playing and it was natural.
Your art pieces were made up of Toy soldiers, Native Americans and Cowboys. Why these toys in particular? Is there a theme of conflict and violence?
JE: No, not at all. I find it funny that toys, like soldiers or cowboys, guns in hand, have a completely different role in the hands of a child. That child is seeing in their hands what they see on TV and they probably relate a cowboy more to Andy from Toy Story, than with violence. I get all these toys from a factory; they give me the ones that don’t meet production standards. I’m also going to be getting cars and boats soon so I’ll use them in my next pieces.
What is the significance of using thrown away toys rather than new ones?
JE:I want to be sustainable. I want to give a second life to things. Not being up to sale quality, they’ll be thrown away. Instead of being thrown out or melted down, I want to put them in art, on a wall.
Do you think you’ve achieved what you’ve set out to with this exhibition?
JE: My objective was to showcase this concept that I’m working on and to create a dialogue with the public, which I think I’ve achieved. It wasn’t just the number of people in the gallery; it was how they interacted with the art, and how they interacted with each other. There was a really good atmosphere and I think that was created by their environment. I want to give people happiness, and that was what I saw in the gallery.
Does this happiness come from our childhood?
JE: I think happiness comes from shutting off that internal voice which goes around in our head all day. From not placing too much importance on unimportant things, from not having prejudices, which has become all too common in our adult lives. When you’re a kid you’re happy almost naturally, it doesn’t take a lot to make you happy. You see other kids and you go and play with them without worrying about who they are or where they’re from. It’s only in our adult life that we learn these prejudices. But we need to remember where we come from. I use toys to remind viewers of their childhood, rather than more ‘grown up’ materials like spoons or straws. If I used them the message wouldn’t land.
This is a truly fascinating exhibition and I urge everyone to go and check it out. You will not be disappointed. The exhibition is at ‘La Mercería gallery’ until November 27th.
Report by Danny Weller
For more on the artist: https://www.instagram.com/jacoboeid/
Until November 27th
Tel: +34 630 72 36 01
Address:Moratin 7, bajo izq. 46002 Valencia
Ronald Mcdonald Foundation