Interpretación Soneto de las Estrellas (homenaje a Esteban Valdés)
Interpretation of the Sonnet of the Stars (Tribute to Esteban Valdés)
2013. Curated by Taiyana Pimentel at the Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros, Mexico City, Mexico.
Sonnet of the Stars (Homage to Esteban Valdés) recuperates the work of Esteban Valdés, a poet born in Mexico that made the first book on concrete poetry in Puerto Rico. Without a canonical recognition, Valdés developed his literary-object practice onto actively working towards labor rights in Puerto Rico, from a Gramscian standpoint. In 1977, Valdés published Out of Work, a compilation of poems that includes one of his best known works, the visual poem “Sonnet of the Stars.” The poem challenges the notion that there can be such a thing as recipes or formulas for poetic creation.
In order to reintroduce Valdés to the Mexican context where he had been born, a three-part project was produced. Pointing to its historical significance, the project recuperates the original silk-screen that gave publicity to the poem in 1977. The artist then worked with students, teachers and enthusiasts to produce a performance version of the piece in Cuernavaca, in which the sonnet’s formal structure is respected, but 154 asterisks or “stars” replace the poetic syllables. For this performance, Negrón summoned about 150 people to light the poem. Along with the film-maker Rafael Ortega, Negrón finishes his homage to Valdés with a short video that shows the action filmed, but also to expand on his collaborative mode of artistic production.
Additionally and as part of his interest in local modes of popular folk and craftwork, Negrón worked with the Tlamaxcalli Workshop in order to produce a floor piece made out of sawdust. "Sawdust rugs" are a popular Easter tradition from a village near where the poet was born. Negrón assumed the position of a mediator that works with the museum and the processes disregarded by the art historical discourse.