Rafael Domenech at Socrates Sculpture Park

Rafael Domenech at Socrates Sculpture Park

Las Palabras son Muros [Pavilion for Astoria]

July 13 – November 3, 2019

Opening Reception:

Friday, July 12, 2019, 6:00pm - 8:00pm


Las Palabras son Muros [Pavilion for Astoria] (The Words are Walls [Pavilion for Astoria]) by artist Rafael Domenech is a collectively authored dynamic sculptural “book” project.

Scaffolding and construction mesh, provisional materials emblematic of the changing urban landscape, comprise the two semicircular towers of this outdoor piece. The mesh “pages” hanging from the scaffolding feature graphically dynamic laser-cut texts that rotate throughout the exhibition.

Domenech gleans these texts from visitors to the Park who can submit their words, phrases, and stories, which are selected through a digital algorithm. In its totality, experimental digital graphic technique and chance composition aggregates into an amalgamation of voices throughout the 16-week exhibition. Submit a message online at laspalabrassonmuros.info.

The work takes its title from a line of the poem Flamenco in Big Bang, a book of concrete poetry by Cuban artist, poet, and critic Severo Sarduy. Las Palabras son Muros embodies some of the neo-baroque visual and textual metaphors that Sarduy identified and articulated in his writing. The ellipse, as a shape rendered in relation to two focii, represents the conditions of dislocation, decentralization, and eccentricity. These elements appear both formally and conceptually in the work. Duality reverberates in the pairing of the towers, the outer borough geography, and the experience of migration. These dualities, the dissolution of authorship, and the embrace of artifice and exuberance evince Sarduy’s aesthetics.

After the completion of the exhibition, Domenech will produce a book that combines the texts and includes reused elements of the weekly mesh installments. The result will be a collection of fragmented perspectives conjoined into a new whole.


Palabras son Muros [Pavilion for Astoria] is made possible with generous support from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

Socrates Sculpture part is located at
32-01 Vernon Boulevard / Long Island City, NY 11106.