On Contemporary Art

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By César Aira. Translated by Katherine Silver. Foreword by Will Chancellor. Afterword by Alexandra Kleeman

Translated into English for the first time, On Contemporary Art, a speech by the renowned novelist César Aira, was delivered at a 2010 colloquium in Madrid dedicated to bridging the gap between writing and the visual arts.

On Aira’s dizzying and dazzling path, everything comes under question—from reproducibility of artworks to the value of the written word itself. In the end, Aira leaves us stranded on the bridge between writing and art that he set out to construct in the first place, flailing as we try to make sense of where we stand. Aira’s On Contemporary Art exemplifies what the ekphrasis series is dedicated to doing—exploring the space in which words give meaning to objects, and objects shape our words.

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