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Visual poetry in the Contemporary Art Workshops

Despite its literal meaning, visual poetry is not exclusively linked to the gaze. The breadth of its margins—and therefore the difficulty of defining it—is because in this type of poetry, the word acquires a specific dimension and density. Beyond the hierarchy of meaning, visual poetry enables different phenomena that converge in language to establish a network of links and affections that does not depend exclusively on conceptual aspects. In this respect, the body—in its different meanings and connotations—determines the sphere of action of this intersection between the artistic and the verbal. Using innumerable resources, visual poetry opens the horizons of the lexicon to the ups and downs of the concrete and the sensorial.

The exercises proposed for this visual poetry exhibition with members of the TACO Contemporary Art Workshops community are drawn from a class/workshop held throughout a year and a half of work. With a range of backgrounds, ages and origins, the creators selected for this project were forced to cope with a two-fold challenge: tackling a hybrid subject —visual poetry—whose systematic, organized study is still in its infancy in Mexico. In contrast to the interest, demand, and a certain Mexican tradition of pairing the arts and literature, the material and documentary funds required to organize an academic review of this creative phenomenon are still scarce or disperse in this part of the world. However, this obstacle became a virtue, since dispensing with a hegemonic, overarching story meant that each artist created their own genealogies to suit their interests.

The dynamics and inertia of each creative process pose a second challenge. Each of the exhibitors is completely au fait with their area of training and the specialized tools of their respective disciplines. Coordinating accumulated experience in a field as dissimilar and anomalous as that of visual poetry involves pushing the boundaries of personal work to a greater or lesser extent. Nevertheless, curiosity always prevails, which, in each collaboration, and because of the involvement of language, guides the transition from the merely graphic or retinal towards a complexity capable of drawing on different contexts, mental tones and worldviews which, in the different works produced, create genuine intertextual warps.

Given the current adverse circumstances for public and community exhibition, staging a show in which language and visuality are hybridized involves a final reflection: What or for whom are we staging an exhibition? Far from confidently answering this question, doubt enables us to engage in a liberating degree of trial and uncertainty. In keeping with this spirit of exploration, TACO proposes an exhibition of visual poetry in a museum specializing in prints to direct curatorial attention towards the physical supports of the printing and publication of a piece of writing. However, this center should not be understood as an academic or a historical review, but as an artistic one, in which publishing acts as an intermediate zone between words and images. Accordingly, and beyond the principles of clarity and legibility, visual poetry addresses the craft of publishing from an aesthetic perspective coupled with its recreational possibilities.

In short, the effort that drives a visual poetry project such as INTRATEXTUAL resembles an essay with several voices and writings; an indefinite, wandering essay, yet one which at the same time focuses on exploring different states and territories of the text to explore what other sensations and experiences emerge during the act of reading.



Based on the visual poetry workshop, I propose a series of graphic pieces and installations designed to review the notion of text, its alterations, and connotations. To this end, I use fragments of printed matter, diagrams, and editorial reproductions, either in photocopies or prints on several types of medium. By linking the textual to its material and etymological root—in other words, with the idea of weaving—I take apart and reassemble the physical and cultural warps that support written culture (such as paragraphs or lines, but also different encyclopedic, letter or commercial formats or diagrams) to make the transition from verbal reading to reading as form and space.

For this series of pieces, the writer María Baranda produced a notebook of poems entitled Una de otra. 


In THE TRIBE AND THE BODIES, I propose a state of lyrical and emotional connection between the individual, their language, and their most essential vital area. Using the principles of three-dimensional images to build and compose human figures from paper and words, this work becomes an enumeration that enables each viewer to explore the rhythm of their personal physiology and mood. Like a tattooed spell of symbols printed on a multiple dressed as a tribe, I use this work to evoke my own associations: the body as a linear interpretation, as an instrument, an idea of construction, a symbol, image, and appearance. The body is seen as a home, an industry, and a journey. It is regarded as real and Utopian. It is subject to vulnerability, but also to words as protection and refuge.

Rodrigo Flores Herrasti: OBIRE

Through the piece called OBIRE, I explore the obstacle as the basis of a dynamic in collusion with language. On different sheets of paper, I cut out the letters that form the Latin verb in the infinitive: obire, which can be translated as “go to meet someone” (although in a figurative sense, it meant dying). Then, I place these pieces of paper between a wall and various light sources as a matrix in such a way that the shadow cast between the gaps creates an impression that enables us to understand the words. In this way, readability is prevented by the same barrier that, ironically, allows writing. Through OBIRE, I underline the nature of secondary structure inherent in all text (Kristeva), which is composed of shadows and eclipses here. In keeping with the prefix ob, which means placing something in front of something else, OBIRE proposes engaging in an encounter between the dialectic of the original and the copy (inherent in the graphic process) and the word, to discover the latter through a barrier that makes revelation possible.



This series comprises various monotypes that evoke the display of the codex format—in other words, a book open to a double page—to create different visual compositions that play with editorial illustration, the reference to books and the dissemination and teaching of art history. By using Gerard Genette’s notion of paratext as a system of graphic rather than conceptual organization and communication and taking the commercial art book as a starting point, I refer to distinct cultural realities (the publishing world and artistic work), whose interplay creates a complex syncretism between structures, everyday familiarities, and ways of consuming or altering the image and the canonical notion of author.

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