Time Blesses and Curses Us

Aug 25, 2016 | Interviews

“By losing we might learn many things, the loss of a human being, a friend, or a relative. Losing is always possible.”

Conversation with Sofía Imber, genius and icon.
by Rayma

The-wynwood-times-interview-icon-white I have been reading your interviews for last couple ofsome days all of your interviews, to come and have a cup of drink a coffee with you. The truth is that I really had a lot of fun with the severity and discipline always present on your stylish humor. Does Sofía go straight or is she an iron lady woman?

I might be a woman of tender flesh.


I would like to ask you about Venezuela

I don’t talk about politics

The-wynwood-times-interview-icon-whiteLet’s move to the field of arts. I compare Venezuela with Julian Freud and Francis Bacon, because it is disfigure. Do you believe, this could be a good translation in arts?

 I think so.


 Talk to me about a common friend, Pedro León Zapata

Pedro León Zapata is a complete man. Intelligent, wise, he knows how to do things how things should be done. He is unique. Losing Zapata? We can find his previous drawings, his interviews, and he comes to life again. Although, the absence of the corporeal is still here at any moment.


Is Zapata an eternal artist?

He is what Jews call a Mensch*, a complete man, a complete human being. (Yiddish/ a person of integrity and honor)


You studied a medical degree at some point, and some time ago you said that journalism is a kind of dissection. Is it a way of doing anatomy?

It’s a reality I keep with me.


Do you believe that well-conducted journalism could be a cure?

Exactly, you are answering these questions better than me.


Sofía, You make me think.

That could be the best occupation. If people in this country had thought, we would not be where we are now.


How does Sofia have such a clear mind?

I think that if we calculate proportions, we will get that there are less thinking people than people thinking of us. Because, if the proportion were the other way round, things would not be where are now or where they would be if we don’t halt them soon.

Sofía defines herself as a worker. What is your work discipline?

Discipline is not learned. It should be a goal. At home, there has only been a single discipline. My sister was the first woman in a men’s university. Then she was a doctor. My mother was very disciplined. My father took care of us. They teach us the discipline of getting up early to go to work, and going to bed tired of working.


Sofía, tell me about the Museum. I have always thought that the Museum is the Rosetta Stone of Venezuela’s art. It is the translation of what we are. Tell me about everything that happened in this marvelous creation.

I don’t know why we are doing this interview if you are saying just my words even that of “Rosetta.” The museum was as an indicator of an era because museums, when they are real museums, have the function of communicating people to the pieces of art. Even those who doesn’t like a piece of art, leave the museum being a different person, with an intense love, a discussion, a desire of coming back, a talk, but usually, it is not possible to talk about the museum without telling that now, a demonstration of what is happening. It is silent, I suppose for fear, like everything in Venezuela. The museum is not present in everyday life. People don’t go there as before to take some fresh air. When people goes there, realize of everything that is wrong in this country. This is not because the museum is in a poor condition or dirty, that’s not the truth. The museum is clean and has some paintings hanging, but the museum is death.


But art never dies

Art doesn’t die, and the pieces exhibited are good for people, because art amuses eyes and thoughts. That’s why it is here, but people don’t visit it. I made an effort, almost natural, of not thinking that the museum is in poor condition, but letting that happened, because, I can’t do anything. If I were there, surely, I would try to make the museum a communicator.

The museum is a communicator that, instead of words, have sculptures, paintings, pottery, it has its words. The museum says to communicate with me, that I have a message for you. Sometimes is a colorful message, other is absence of color or movement. The museum as you know is there.


There is a poem of Elizabeth Bishop named “One Art – The art of losing.”

I don’t know that poem, but I would like to read it. A poem chosen by you must be beautiful and terrible…


Hehehe, I will search it on the Internet, and I’m going to read it to you.

I would like to read it because learning to lose it’s a discipline, and as you know, I try to be disciplined. Losing has a point. It brings out the bright side of losing.


Do you believe that sometimes, you can win by losing?

By losing we learn many lessons, the loss of a human being, a friend, a relative. Losing is always possible. I have a grandson who plays football. Occasionally, He gets upset when he doesn’t win. I have taught him that he can win by losing, it is hurtful at the moment, but pain make him think about the possible mistakes, and in the next match he is going to do it better and won’t make the same mistake.

Sofía, How did you handle the museum with so many artists and egos? Often, when you like a piece, you are afraid of knowing the artist.

Rayma, you are terrible, why do you answer for me?

No, I want you to answer, tell me

This happens frequently, you almost in love with the artist. Either painter, sculptor, or potter, you accept his or her work very respectfully. You like it, and you show it. Then, as you become more familiar with the person, you notice that is quite apart from his or her work. And you wonder, how is it possible? This is very frequent, for example, those who exhibit pieces, they exhibit their whole ego, they commit to it. In that commitment, they show their personality, but sometimes, that personality doesn’t match with your expectations for their magnificent work.

Rayma, this happens to me all the time. Where I go, I find people who bless me, who say good things to me. But here comes a serious moment, you can believe all those words and think that you are so popular and wonderful. If you do that, you lose. I always said to my kids, all professionals now, don’t let success go to your head. It must lead you to grow up. Every extended hand has a great value, but I should not say “Wow! He extended his hand, and I will extend mine in the same circumstances.”

Therefore, Does Sofía have a very controlled ego or is it closed in a dark room?

I think that Sofía can say that she has humbleness in her DNA.

But you are asking me things that you already know. I am going to request that you go with me for my next interview.


I believe that Sofía has been asked about everything. What you need is to be asked as a Miss. Has somebody ever asked you as if you were a Miss?

Well, I have a great time with that kind of questions, but how could I be a Miss?


Sofía, tell me about a woman who is not Miss but Odalisque?

Hahaha, Can you imagine how I felt when the Matisse got lost? When I bought it, I thought the price was extraordinary. Of course, if there is still a museum and there is order, mind you, I have to acknowledge myself when I see how much I paid for that “Miss,” it was incredible. But, how I could have wanted it to lose, even for a minute. It was impossible to think that the purchaser was going to mishandle, steal and disappear it from the world. Responsible people just don’t like to buy stolen things. So much so, that we were lucky, and the “Miss” is at her home now. She is sad for her current house because she can’t be admired and she is a very coquettish woman.


Do you believe, the Miss visited some Mall in Miami?

I can’t even think about that…but maybe…

I have a present for you Sofía. This is my version of the Odalisque (Brave Odalisque) There is a note at its footer. It says: This Odalisque plenty of courage is to Sofía Imber, Thanks.


Sofía, Do you believe that humor is an act of intelligence?

Sure, when it comes from Zapata, Rayma or Weil…


What does Sofía think about time?

 What kind of question is it?, I’m terrified of every minute I lose, and they are many. I believe I can do, even more, I should do even more. There is something you don’t know yet: the old age. French people talking about time say “the beauty of merde.” Do we feel every hour, not only because we lose the few beauty we had, on the face, on hands that become stiff, everything is less quickly, let me touch wood (she touched her head) time governs us, time blesses us, and time curses us.
I pay too much attention to time. I have two watches because being late is a waste of time. Time is terrible my dear Rayma.

One Art

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.
Lose something every day.
Accept the fluster of lost door keys,
the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant to travel.
None of these will bring disaster.
I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.
Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Elizabeth Bishop