In 2017 in the back room of a gallery in Buenos Aires, I found a copy of the first edition of POEMAS INTERDICTOS by Manuel Maples Arce, a book published in Xalapa, my hometown in Mexico in 1927. The cultural value of the book in my hands is not in doubt. However, I have tried to elaborate a story about the symbolic value of the meeting between the book and me, coming from the same city, 8000 km and 90 years away. This meeting has been the trigger to carry out an investigation on the relationship between the avant-gardes in America, and to work with the materiality and legibility of the texts, issues that I have addressed in my artistic practice for three years The main features of the found book are found in the margins. The portrait of the poet appears on the first pages, made by the painter Leopoldo Méndez, printed in a color selection system, and in the colophon. The humidity, the passage of time, the fungi and the acidity of the ink in the portrait print produce an involuntary contact impression on the previous pages. Holy Shroud of technical reproducibility. Like the academic photocopies in my previous work, its visual richness is already there.
The most important revelation is found in the colophon: in addition to the city and date of printing, the names of the workers and their functions in the process of making the book appear. Like the photocopies, the political-aesthetic charge is already there. The installation presents the original book in the center, showing the portrait of Maples Arce made by Leopoldo Mendez and the colophon. Around it, there is a series of objects that make visible the passage of time on paper, machines from which hang engraving punches, plates, paper and charcoal that are never touched. Proliferation of the editing process and the printed matter.
At one of its ends is a printed copy of the book, in which every trace of the author and the poems it contains has been digitally erased The marks of time remain. the folds and those indications of the existence of the workers and their work or layout.