Universiteit Leiden

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Finding Your Way (In and Out of the Art World): A Phenomenology of the Art Novel

Tuesday 8 November 2022
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

"Can a novel about contemporary art change the ways in which individuals and collectives orientate themselves? Could there be such a thing as a phenomenology of the artist novel?
In this lecture, I argue that there is much to gain by understanding contemporary fiction about contemporary art as a mechanism for subversive orientation. Art novels have always been concerned with orientation by making some lives fashionable and worth being lived; by attributing aesthetic value to artistic objects; and by generating a “social contract” that produced an urge to “be creative” among readers. Focusing on Mayra Santos-Febres’ Fe en Disfraz (2009), a novel that follows the steps of an Afro-Venezuelan curator as she works on a macro-exhibition on slavery in the Americas, I attempt to expand on this interpretation by exploring the possibility of a subversive, queer orientation within the contemporary art novel, of a radical (re)positioning of self and others that constitute the starting point for a radical, non-individualistic sociality."

Dr. Carlos Garrido Castellano is Lecturer of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies at the University College Cork, Ireland. He is the author of Beyond Representation in Contemporary Caribbean Art (2019), Art Activism for an Anticolonial Future (2021) and Literary Fictions of the Contemporary Art System (2022). He has recently edited special issues on anticolonial and decolonial aesthetics (Third Text 2020; Interventions 2022) as well as on contemporary museums and coloniality in the Iberian context (Journal of Iberian and Latin American Research 2022). He is currently working on three projects: on cultural labour and creative paradigms in contemporary literatures in Portuguese; on the genealogies of modernism in the Caribbean; and on ecological crisis, alt-right politics and the subversive potential of the carnivalesque.

This lecture is supported by LUCAS and the Department of Art History.


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