La poesía de Sánchez Peláez se lee en imágenes / Carmen Victoria Méndez

Sánchez Peláez’s Poetry Is Read in Images

Photo: Manuel Sardá
Twelve artists reinterpret the author’s work by means of the languages of contemporary art. The group show combines media such as installation, video, assemblage and photography.

“I don’t want to swell up with words,” wrote Juan Sánchez Peláez. The verse exists not only in the verbal sense, but also in the physical world, at least starting this week, when the artist Ricardo Báez reveals the installation with the same title that forms part of the group show Antología visual [Visual Anthology] that the gallery GBG Arts will dedicate to the poet starting tomorrow, with the participation of 12 artists curated by Alicia Di Pasquale.

Each artist reinterpreted a poem by the author in a visual manner, through media such as assemblage, video installation, video art and photography. Báez’s piece is placed in the entrance of the gallery and functions as a threshold between the world of the word and that of the image. The artist codified the alphabet in a scale made with black ceramic bars. In this system, the letter “A” is 2 centimeters tall; “B,” is two centimeters taller; and thus successively, until reaching “Z,” which is 52 centimeters long.

This was the method he found to translate the text into the language of minimalist, abstract and three-dimensional art. “Since I was formed in the world of design and typography, I’m interested in seeing how the letter can be represented in another form and how poetry can be turned into an object.”

Sánchez Peláez’s text “The Circle Opens” sent the photographer Daniel Benaím to the series The Fix Is In. “I read several poems and couldn’t find a relation between my work and the poetic oeuvre. Until I stumbled on this phrase: “[...] can’t you hear as if there were a great breeze in the branches, can’t you hear the senseless words of a mandolin? May the happiness we had and the plateau return.” These words took me to New York, where I created a series that has to do with natural spaces I rescue from the urban.”

Rosario Lezama approached the artist’s work through painting, assemblage and video. Her piece Reconstrucciones deals with the topic of migrations and transculturalism. “I remembered that I had a friend who was giving Spanish classes to groups of children from China. It seemed interesting to me that some of the lessons they received include poems by Sánchez Peláez. I chose a short one and we had the children recite it.”

Marco Aguilar translated the poetry into stains by means of video and photography. He did it based on conversations with poet friends. The artist achieves a parallelism between the way authors choose words and the composition techniques of the work of art.

José Vívenes relates the assemblage El grito (de los mutilados) [The Scream (of the mutilated)] with “Experiencias menos objetivas” [Less Objective Experiences], a text based on the painter represents by cutting out the image of the characters he portrays. Sandro Pequeno made a visual synthesis with several poems by Sánchez Peláez in which the word “corazón” [heart] is repeated, and which he reinterpreted in a series of glass pieces. The installation also includes recordings of the honored poet reading his verses. Alfredo Herrera, a poet and visual artist by profession, will exhibit a monotype accompanied by a recording in which a fragment of Sánchez Peláez is heard.

Nayarí Castillo, Efrén Rojas, Michael Roy and Joaquín Urbina also participate in the collective show whose conceptual axis was to encompass the greatest quantity of media possible. “What can we do with literature in such a visual world was our premise,” says Di Pasquale.

{ Carmen Victoria Méndez, El Nacional, 29 May 2013 }

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