The book of watercolors and poems “El color del agua” by Martín Reyna and Lila Zemborain will be presented in the auditorium.
Speakers at the book presentation: The author and translator Zemborain Lila Sarah T. Reyna, Juan Lo Bianco, director of the art publishing and artist Martín Reyna.
Date: Saturday July 25th, 5 pm.
Place: Auditorium PROA
On Saturday July 25th at 5 pm, the book of watercolors and poems “El color del agua” by the poet Lila Zemborain and artist Martín Reyna will be presented - with free admission -in the auditorium of Fundación Proa. Lila Zemborain and the translator of her poems to the French language, Sarah T. Reyna, will be reading a collection of poems “Cromo soma tonal” in both languages. The presentation will be introduced by Juan Lo Bianco, art director of the edition. Afterwards, both authors will sign copies of the book.
“El color del agua” offers a dialogue between Martin Reyna’s watercolors and the poems of Lila Zemborain. It has been published as a bilingual edition in French and Spanish. The point of departure, as the editor Virginie Boissière stated, was “the enchantment caused by the water and color as they were spread over paper.” The images were a source of inspiration for writing the poems that were translated into French, later. This publication represents the first edition of the poetry of Lila Zemborain in the French language.
In the watercolors of Martín Reyna the action of water prevails, suggesting a sense of dematerialization. These motifs have remain constant in his painting since he saw for the first time the work of Bill Viola in the Chapel of the Hospital de la Salpêtrière: videos in which the figure disappeared under the water into a large aquatic mass.
The collection of poems “Cromo somo total” by Lila Zemborain has a compact and dilated structure, suggesting the image of a drop of water falling over paper. Words were written to fit the narrative created by the art director Juan Lo Bianco with the watercolors of Martin Reyna in Buenos Aires.
Interview with Lila Zemborain by the press department of Fundación Proa.
- When did the artistic collaboration with Martín Reyna started?
Lila Zemborain: I know Martín since the 80s, but we became really friends when he moved to Paris. Apart from having a family relationship - I am godmother of his daughter –we have both shared long discussions about painting or literature. Martín is a very good reader and during a period of his life he also wrote. On the other hand, I love his work, but never, until a couple of years ago the idea of collaborating on a project together appeared. I have been writing poetry about art for some years now, but independently. Certain images intrigue me and the desire to write about them is generated. In 2007, after the event “Ut Pictura poesis” in Rome, Alessandro Twombly in collaboration with Rafael Bueno asked me to write some poems for a catalogue which was due in a very short time. I wrote the first versions in Rome and when I arrived to Paris two days later, I asked Martín to read them since they were written in a very short time. The following day, Martín phoned me and asked if I wanted to collaborate with him in a book of watercolors that he was putting together. At the time, he told me he felt that the kind of poetry I was writing about art connected better with his watercolors than a critical discourse did. When Martín showed me the book project designed by Juan Lo Bianco I was fascinated. And that’s how this collaboration began, thanks to Virginie Boissière’s editorial skills this book became a reality.
- How does the design of your poetry connects with the watercolors of Martín Reyna?
LZ: Actually, I wrote these poems in an afternoon, but after a long process that took months. Martín gave me the layout of the book in March and I watched it with great attention three times in five months. The shape of the poems was outlined slowly, but I always knew I wanted to keep them brief. They had to be short poems had, compact and also dilated, almost like drops falling on paper. Just an allusion, a hint towards what was already there. What I did on that evening was simply to fill in with poems the blanks of the sort of “narrative” Juan Lo Bianco had put together. Each watercolor had its own image, its intensity, its atmosphere or mood, but it was at the same time part of a series. I think the poems have this sense of unity in the dispersion, and hence the blank spaces, the breaks, and the condensation.
- It came to my attention that the book is entitled “El color del agua” and the collection of poems “Cromo somo total”, How can we understand this?
LZ: We had a sort of division between the concept of the image in the book and the concept of the poem in the book. “El color del agua” is the name that Martín probably gave to the process of painting the watercolors, and it is a beautiful name. My poems, however, responded to another name, which emerged from a more diffuse state of attention and increasingly concentrated in the body, so the organic reverberations of chromium (color), soma (body), tone (sound).
- I noticed that in “El color del agua” different languages can be traced. On the one hand, the Spanish language, in which the poems were written, also French, language to which the poems were translated and the English language as well, the one of your city of residence. How do you think they interact within the book?
L.Z: The translation process was great. Sarah had already been working on another book of mine, which she fortunately found interesting to translate. Therefore I had, in addition to our friendship, a relationship with her through language. Sarah speaks excellent Argentinian Spanish and has a keen sense of rhythm, sound and image. Besides a translator and poet, Sarah is a speech therapist, so her working material is language. The translation of the poems to French was very fluid, perhaps much more fluid than when they are translated into English, given that the grammar structure is the same. Moreover, Sarah is well aware of Martin’s work so she could subtly translate what I saw in the watercolors.
- What is the place of this book in the context of his work?
LZ: This book has been a pleasure, a break, and has a playful quality that may not be present in my other books. Probably, because when we enter into the compulsion of the other we forget our own compulsions. Martín’s watercolors have a sense of joy and that has made the writing lighter, less dense. I think that is definitely the effect ekphrastic poetry (a verbal representation of a visual representation) has on me. Leaving one’s own obsessions through the images created by others.
- I read that you are interested in the relationship between visual arts and contemporary Hispanic American poetry, Does this book respond to that interest?
LZ: Yes, I love to read ekphrastic poems, wherever they come from. One of the poems that impresses me the most in this genre is the poem by Ashbery on the painting of Parmigianino, “Portrait on a convex mirror.” But who really gave me the idea of writing about painting was Robert Creeley, through a few poems he wrote for a catalogue of an exhibition of Francesco Clemente in 1997. I believe that living in New York, gave me the chance to be in more contact with the ekphrastic poetry that is written here, though I know that Latin American poets have written wonderful ekphrastic poems. Just a couple of years ago, I organized a series of poetry readings at KJCC that I direct in NYU, they were poems written specifically about Latin American geometric art from Fundación Cisneros, wich was being exhibited at a gallery of the university at the time. There, Coral Bracho, Yolanda Pantin, Mariela Dreyfus, Cecilia Vicuña, Roberto Echavarren, Jussara Salazar and Edwin Torres read. It was incredible. Each poet created a vision of the works chosen completely unusual. In this exchange, the different textures of diverse types of art fed each other.
Interview with Martin Reyna
- When did the artistic collaboration with Lila Zemborain started?
Martín Reyna: We have been friends with Lila for many years, now. Poetry and literature are recurring themes when we meet. When I read the “Letters to Cézanne” of Rilke I felt that the best way to put words to painting was through poetry. Later, Lila made me read the poems she had written on Alessandro Twombly’s paintings and when I saw them I realized her verses would work perfectly with my poems.
- How do your paintings interact with the poetry of Lila Zemborain?
MR: The link appears in the dialogue that we have in the book. When I look at the watercolors and at the texts that are next to them, I am in presence of new sounds that refer to new forms that begin to exist in new ways for my vision. This has been so important to me, that for organizing the details of the exhibition “El color de agua” at RedGaleria I have used Lila’s poems to guide me through the selection of materials.
- What can we find in “El color del agua” from your first encounter with the work of Bill Viola?
MR: The water theme was a constant in my painting from the beginning, but it had always emerged from a representative perspective. When I saw the videos of Bill Viola- where the drop of water becomes a mighty mass of water that washes out the picture - I started using water as working material. In recent watercolors, the water works on the paper and gives shape to the colors, leaving the painter behind, acting as a companion to the accidents that the action of the water dictates.
- What was the criterion employed to select the watercolors?
MR: Juan Lo Bianco, who designed the book, came to my shop to see the watercolors and he proposed to start an editorial project with them. There, I put him in contact with Virginie Boissière, the editor who was already working with this project before. Juan Lo Bianco carried out the selection and assembled the sequences from which Lila wrote. I think that Juan found a visual rhythm that works very well with the nature of my work.
- What place does this book have in the context of your work?
MR: “El color del agua” is conceived as a dialogue, in which my pieces work in tune with the intervention of others. Putting the watercolors at the service of the idea and visual rhythm of Juan and at the verses of Lila is something new to my work. And, precisely, my paintings in watercolor on paper, that have started several years ago, achieved with this edition a central place in the context of my work, having in mind that working with watercolors in large formats was a way to restore this technique that was historically rendered as secondary, used only for notes or blueprints. My project consists on giving watercolor a central role instead of considering it as support for another more relevant work.
Born in Buenos Aires and lives in New York since 1985. From 2000 to 2007 was director and editor of the poetry series Rebel Road since 2003 and directs the series of poetry KJCC at the King Juan Carlos I Center at New York University, where he is Clinical Assistant Professor in the Masters in Creative Writing Spanish. In 2007 he received the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship.
He has published books of poetry Rasgado (Buenos Aires, Tse-Tse, 2006), mauve orchids of the sea (Buenos Aires, Tse-Tse, 2004) / Mauve Sea-Orchids (New York, Belladonna Books, 2007), Guardians of the Secret (Buenos Aires, Tse-Tse, 2002) / Guardians of the Secret (Texas, Naomi Press, 2008), You (Buenos Aires, Ediciones Ultimo Reino, 1998), open sesame under water (Buenos Aires, Ediciones Ultimo Reino, 1993 ). Has been included in anthologies Women looking South. South American poets in the USA (Madrid, Torremozas, 2004), Actual triantología poetry of Argentina, Brazil and Peru (Lima, Humunculus, 2004), The Light of City and Sea An Anthology of Suffolk County Poetry 2006 (South Beach Street Press, 2006) and Corresponding Voices (Syracuse, Point of Contact Productions, 2002) and in the catalogs of art Heidi McFall (New York, Aninna Nosei Gallery, 1995), and Alessandro Twombly (Brussels, Alain Noirhomme Gallery, 2007). In 2002 published the essay Gabriela Mistral. A faceless woman (Rosario, Beatriz Viterbo Editora).
Born in Buenos Aires in 1964. Since 1994 lives and works, also in Paris. In 1983 he participated in the exhibition presented by Rafael Bueno “Recent painters’ workshop in the area together with Sergio Avello, Joseph Garofalo, Alejandro De Ilzarbe, Miguel Harte and Gustavo Marrone. Was convened in 1986 by M-13 Gallery in the East Village of New York for the exhibition “Latin American in New York” with Guillermo Kuitca and Raphael Bueno. In 1991 he traveled to Paris for the exhibition “L’atelier de Buenos Aires organized by Philippe Cyroulnik who participated in the Pablo Suarez, Roberto Elia, Jorge Macchi, and in 1992 held his first solo exhibition Gallery Michel Vidal, Paris.
Discovered in 1994 videos of Bill Viola, from that moment on the water - a constant in his work - no longer occupy a representative to become a working material. He developed the series of paintings “Abstract Landscapes” (2000). The Infinite Art Gallery of Buenos Aires and Virginie Boissière Art Contemporain in Paris published the first monograph of his work in 2004. In the same year, made a presentation at the Space and Adamski in Paris Del Infinito Arte Gallery presented his work at the ARCO fair in Madrid. Virginie Boissière presented their work in London and Scoop Fair Lineart, in Ghent, Belgium in 2005 and in 2007 exhibited his works in the university library of Angers in the Annual Congress of the Arts in the Hispanic world.