• Maria Yolanda Liebana, La Virgen Puta, Digital Photograph, 2012
  • Maria Yolanda Liebana, Lipstick Series, Digital Photograph, Performance, 2012
  • Maria Yolanda Liebana, Lipstick Series, Digital Photograph, Performance, 2012
  • Maria Yolanda Liebana, Lipstick Series, Digital Photograph, Performance, 2012
  • Maria Yolanda Liebana, Untitled Installation, Pearl Mica, mixed media, 2012

The Narcissist in all of us wants luxury objects that portray who we are, where we belong, and who we wish to be. My desire object of choice is the designer handbag. Unapologetically, I allowed this obsession to enter my studio; I took the forms of the Louis Vuitton Speedy and the Celine Luggage Tote Bag and transformed them into grotesque mutated forms in an attempt to create another irresistible ‘status object’ — this time an object of art.

My abstract sculptures burst with my unrequited desire to own the real things. These colorful, bulbous paper maché forms are absurd, unrecognizable and therefore failed representations of these “it” bags. As stand-­ins, my sculptures still function as simulations of the ‘real’ bags; moving from the kitsch of knock­offs into the realm of invented novel objects that could only be construed as art.

The actual black market production of counterfeit designer bags blurs the lines between elite culture and the middle class. I am interested in the ways access to these well done replicas free us up to commit social status fraud (if I have that undetect­ably fake Gucci bag, no one will know that I live in a rental and am consumed by debt). This fakery, or gussying up, of social status is the underlying intellectual current that flows through my work.

Brooklyn, NY