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An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter (2000)

av César Aira

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MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
5452044,136 (3.94)29
An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter is the story of a moment in the life of the German artist Johan Moritz Rugendas (1802-1858). Greatly admired as a master landscape painter, he was advised by Alexander von Humboldt to travel West from Europe to record the spectacular landscapes of Chile, Argentina, and Mexico. Rugendas did in fact become one of the best of the nineteenth-century European painters to venture into Latin America. However this is not a biography of Rugendas. This work of fiction weaves an almost surreal history around the secret objective behind Rugendas' trips to America: to visit Argentina in order to achieve in art the "physiognomic totality" of von Humboldt's scientific vision of the whole. Rugendas is convinced that only in the mysterious vastness of the immense plains will he find true inspiration. A brief and dramatic visit to Mendosa gives him the chance to fulfill his dream. From there he travels straight out onto the pampas, praying for that impossible moment, which would come only at an immense pricean almost monstrously exorbitant price that would ultimately challenge his drawing and force him to create a new way of making art. A strange episode that he could not avoid absorbing savagely into his own body interrupts the trip and irreversibly and explosively marks him for life.… (mer)
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César Aira uses the same detached perspective that I've seen in Bolaño. This is the method that uses the tone of a nonfiction book but then, almost surreally, covers details that a biographer or a historian couldn't possibly know. So you'll have a dry account of how this painter's letters indicated that he picnicked on a field south of town one Saturday only to dive into the painter's brain and examine how the universe is a series of unfolding aesthetic revelations or something like that. The total disregard for a consistent voice is more then just jarring, it's positively liberating. What's so great about it is that it is totally apropos to the subject matter. Bolaño, for example, uses it for his psychopaths and shell-shocked individuals. Aira, a little more subtly, uses it to convey the perspective of a true artist. Rugendas cares very little for interpersonal relationships, or typical travel details, or even really his own health and safety. All that matters is his quest for the "physiognomy of nature." Therefore the narrative itself is almost dismissive of physical events, but lovingly details the philosophical musings of a master trying to perfect his craft.
I also find the understatement of the title particularly amusing. The titular "episode" is an almost mythological cataclysm that unhinges and transfigures the artist into an even more perfect vehicle for artistic interpretation. This event, far from being a disaster, enables the artist to finally reach his peak. Rugendas as a drug addled, deformed maniac is finally liberated from humanity and becomes a creature totally fearless in the pursuit of art. ( )
  ethorwitz | Jan 3, 2024 |
Very powerful and eternally provocative. A book that has left me feeling as if I am looking at the world and nature and art with new and yet very ancient eyes. I think I have found another writer to love! Life is good. ( )
  Ccyynn | Feb 15, 2022 |
Riveting tale of an artist on a quest to find an indescribable something...Agonizingly brutal, a nightmare of excruciating pain ensues. This is an artist in search of the miraculous who finds himself a survivor that manages to hold onto his artistic talent despite the vicissitudes of fate. Minutely told in a rather matter of fact way, this is a story filled with everyday wonder. Overall astounding. "He felt a vague, inexplicable nostalgia for what had not happened, and the lessons it might have taught him." ( )
  dbsovereign | Aug 11, 2020 |
It has been a long time since I've read a story this good. Aira writes an adventure story, stays in 3 person past perspective, and yet, despite never entering the inner psychology of his characters, nor dwelling on philosophical concepts, manages to write a profound analysis of art and its relationship to life in a historical setting so brilliant it evokes a strange purity of form, nearly allegorical, while staying grounded into reality.

I'm going to be reading this one again but I highly HIGHLY recommend this. It's a novella with more to say than novels four times its length. ( )
2 rösta Adrian_Astur_Alvarez | Dec 3, 2019 |
It has been a long time since I've read a story this good. Aira writes an adventure story, stays in 3 person past perspective, and yet, despite never entering the inner psychology of his characters, nor dwelling on philosophical concepts, manages to write a profound analysis of art and its relationship to life in a historical setting so brilliant it evokes a strange purity of form, nearly allegorical, while staying grounded into reality.

I'm going to be reading this one again but I highly HIGHLY recommend this. It's a novella with more to say than novels four times its length. ( )
  Adrian_Astur_Alvarez | Dec 3, 2019 |
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Possibly not since Cormac McCarthy’s blood-sprent work has there been a contemporary novel such as the Argentine writer César Aira’s An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter—one that stresses the sublime without falling back on the props of magical realism. This fictional take on an actual historical figure is not without its surrealist touches, but such elements arise as a result of, as opposed to being imposed on, the setting itself.
 

» Lägg till fler författare (7 möjliga)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
César Airaprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Andrews, ChrisÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Bolaño, RobertoPrefacemedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Hansen, ChristianÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Risvik, KariÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Risvik, KjellÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Strobel, MatthiasÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter is the story of a moment in the life of the German artist Johan Moritz Rugendas (1802-1858). Greatly admired as a master landscape painter, he was advised by Alexander von Humboldt to travel West from Europe to record the spectacular landscapes of Chile, Argentina, and Mexico. Rugendas did in fact become one of the best of the nineteenth-century European painters to venture into Latin America. However this is not a biography of Rugendas. This work of fiction weaves an almost surreal history around the secret objective behind Rugendas' trips to America: to visit Argentina in order to achieve in art the "physiognomic totality" of von Humboldt's scientific vision of the whole. Rugendas is convinced that only in the mysterious vastness of the immense plains will he find true inspiration. A brief and dramatic visit to Mendosa gives him the chance to fulfill his dream. From there he travels straight out onto the pampas, praying for that impossible moment, which would come only at an immense pricean almost monstrously exorbitant price that would ultimately challenge his drawing and force him to create a new way of making art. A strange episode that he could not avoid absorbing savagely into his own body interrupts the trip and irreversibly and explosively marks him for life.

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