INTERPRETACIÓN DEL SONETO DE LAS ESTRELLAS (HOMENAJE A ESTEBAN VALDÉS)
Jesús “Bubu” Negrón
10 Julio de 2013 - 05 Enero de 2014
Espacio de exhibición: Cubo
Curaduría: María Elena Ortiz
Interpretation of the “Sonnet of the Stars” (Homage to Esteban Valdés) by Puerto Rican artist Jesus “Bubu” Negron is a new production that recuperates the work of Esteban Valdés, a poet born in Mexico that made the first book on concrete poetry in Puerto Rico. Negrón centers this installation on an artist who, without canonical recognition, developed his literary-object practice onto actively working towards labor rights in Puerto Rico, from a Gramscian standpoint, that is to say, he became an activist and advocate for the rights of workers in Puerto Rico. In 1977, Valdés published “Out of Work”, a compilation of poems that includes one of his best known works, the “Sonnet of the Stars.”
In order to introduce Vlades to the Mexican artistic context, Negron assumed the position of a mediator that works with the museum and the processes disregarded by the art historical discourse. While the piece can be read on three different levels, Negron points to the tension between an intellectual and economic practice, but also to the one between a craft-based skill and a profession.
While the piece can be read on three different levels, Negron points to the tension between an intellectual and economic practice, but also to the one between a craft-based skill and a profession. As a result of a two month residency in Mexico City, the artist collaborated with Taller Tlamaxcalli to validate those modes of production and to incorporate these into the contemporary art system.
Pointing to its historical significance, the exhibition recuperates the original silk-screen that gave publicity to the poem in 1977. The artist worked with students, teachers and enthusiasts to produce a performance version of the piece in Cuernavaca. Along with the film-maker Rafael Ortega, Negron finishes his homage to Vlades with a short video that shows the action filmed at La Tallera on July 2nd, and also expands on the collaborative mode of artistic production that distinguishes Negron’s practice.
With a global aim, Negron is part of a generation of Puerto Rican artists that work in San Juan. The majority of these artists worked from alternative spaces to reconstruct the island’s art history. Almost a decade ago, Interpretation of the “Sonnet of the Stars” was meant to be realized for an exhibition paying tribute to the poet organized by local artists, who found a forgotten copy of the book. For Negron, producing the piece in the Mexican context has allowed him to question the concept of nationhood as a failed ontological construction.