Abstract

ABSTRACT:

Using the work of Barthes, Derrida, Pratt, Rancière, and Sontag, among others, this paper explores how what is shown, not shown, and hidden play an equally important role in the work of Antonio Méndez Rubio (1967-) and Ana Merino (1971-). While Merino's La voz de los relojes (2000) interrogates the visible by expanding and simultaneously subdividing it, showing that different people see different things, Méndez Rubio's El fin del mundo (1995) highlights the impact of the (in)visible and out-of-frame in his interrogation of the visible. Even though each poet engages with different forms of visual representation—painting in Merino's work and photography and film in Méndez Rubio's—and represents different spaces—Cuba in Merino's work and Albania in Méndez Rubio's—both show that it is possible to interrogate visual representation as a larger phenomenon even if their work does not use more traditional ekphrastic approaches in which poems engage with and establish a dialogue with existing visual representations. The work of these two poets ultimately reveals the importance of continuing this interrogation of visual representation, since such critiques of modes of representation do not sever the inextricable link between visual representation and discourse, but instead only reshape and reframe it.

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