Ekphrasis. Narrative Interventions in Contemporary Novels Open The Possibilities of a New Exhibition Space

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Ekphrasis - Intervention on page 87 of the novel Gramatica Parda by Juan García Hortelano

Ekphrasis: Hortelano num. 01. Text intervention in "Gramática Parda" by Juan García Hortelano.

Ekphrasis - Intervention on page 314 of the novel Gramatica Parda by Juan García Hortelano

Ekphrasis: Hortelano num. 02. Text intervention in "Gramática Parda" by Juan García Hortelano.

Ekphrasis - Intervention on page 355 of the novel Gramatica Parda by Juan García Hortelano

Ekphrasis: Hortelano num. 03. Text intervention in "Gramática Parda" by Juan García Hortelano.

(...continued from "Taken by The Hand")

What was behind all those efforts to vindicate the status of the sketch note?
The sketch note holds, in a very compact way, a promise that we can think as purely ideological. The economy of the sketch note is reduced to the succinct communication of information. It has no other pretensions. It never worries about its methods of production. That's why it can easily present concepts with a vocation that's clearly self-regulated. It can convey what we could consider as "pure ideas" (...) At the end, there was a kind of give-and-take between the sketch notes and the status of painting. We lost somehow the original use of the notes which, from the onset, only try to give a mnemonic direction, if only vaguely, to the process of painting. Painting, meanwhile, lost its demonstrative quality, and accepted the informational sufficiency of the notes. We're talking, by the way, about the same sufficiency that is inherently present in the writing of ekphraseis in the same way that we might be fully satisfied by the reading of a play without having attended its presentation on stage.

You want ekphrasis to play a very important role in your upcoming works, ain't it? Ekphrasis is a literary description of a work of art. In Classical Antiquity they played a very crucial role in rhetorical exercises and the education of the Greek youth. At present, its use it's so widespread in critical writing and the works of art historians that I don't quite understand what relevance It might have in your work.
Nothing is left of the paintings of ancient Greece. We can only access descriptions that were written in texts that somehow have survived the passing of time. There's a heavy mythological component in the communication of things that we're never going to be able to see. There is a fictional truth in this affair that I'll like to explore. No one is concerned with the enormous potential that might be hidden under that unquestioned practice...

...like what?
Imagine a meticulous description of a work of art that has not yet been finished, a bit like the ones you constantly hear in conversations among artists. If we can talk about the mystification of the extinct object, we can, as well, talk about the enigmatic mystery of an object that is never going to be produced, no? In other words, how is fascination built around an object that escapes our sight? I would like to ask Walter Benjamin what is the auratic content of a lost original? ...or what is the auratic content of an original that will never exist? With the sketch note, for instance, we are beginning to sense the potential of that type of inquiries. This is the territory I want to step into now.

How does it work?
I choose a novel, read it, and decide a viable intervention in the text. By intervention, I mean that I write an ekphrasis of a painting that makes sense in the context of that specific literary work. I need to study the style of the author, and make an effort to imitate it. At the end, I publish one edition of the book with the ekphasis included. As you can see, there are a good amount of interesting issues surfacing the foregrounding this practice.

Ekphrasis - Intervention on page 54 of the novel Paisajes Después de la Batalla by Juan Goytisolo

Ekphrasis: Goytisolo. Text intervention in "Paisajes después de la batalla" by Juan Goytisolo.

Ekphrasis - Intervention on page 55 of the novel Paisajes Después de la Batalla by Juan Goytisolo

(cont.) Ekphrasis: Goytisolo.

Ekphrasis - Intervention on page 218 of the novel American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

Ekphrasis: Bret Easton Ellis. Text intervention in "American Psycho".