180.0 x 120.0 Size (cm)
70.9 x 47.2 Size (in)La Esperanza [hope] shows an action made with a second-hand dealer the artist met in Ciudad Juarez’ city center (Mexico). Teresa Margolles asked him to intervene on the frontage of an abandoned grocer’s shop, by marking the outlines of the word LA ESPERANZA [hope] that was painted on the building with a metal object.
This single word sounds ironical as the shop was abandoned due to the local rise in violence, and spreads on the frontage like a spectral reminder of the missing owners.
In the mythology, hope is the last evil that slipped out of Pandora’s Box, and Friedrich Nietzsche defines it as “the worst of all evils, because it protracts the torment of men” (All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits, 1878). Yet, according to theology and Christian philosophy, hope, together with faith and love, is a theological virtue, enlightening the human mind and associated with salvation.
The ambiguous connotation of the term is rightly rendered by the photograph, as it is impossible to say whether the man on the ladder is writing or erasing the letters spelling the word hope.
Specifically located in Ciudad Juarez, a city devastated by drug trafficking and violence, this action is full of meaning: thousands of inhabitants have been murdered or fleeing the region since 2007, marking the rise in violence near the US border and the progressive abandonment of the city.