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The Book Lovers
Not a Concept but a Story

Sat 22 July 2017

Since the mid-1990s there has been a proliferation of visual artists who create novels as part of their art projects. They do so not with the ambition to write a literary work, but in order to address artistic issues by means of novelistic devices, favouring a sort of art predicated on process and subjectivity. In this sense, it is possible to speak of a new medium in the visual arts.

What is then at stake in the artist’s novel? What do artists try to achieve with it? How should it be read? How should it be shown? Giving answers to these questions implies radically reassessing well-established notions in the art world, because the artist’s novel is both the symptom and the vehicle for deep changes in the way contemporary art is produced and experienced. During the twentieth century the main critical strands in the art world silenced, when not overtly censored, the introduction of notions such as fiction, imagination, narrative, and identification in the visual arts. Nowadays artists are picking them up eagerly, using the artist’s novel to introduce these notions in their art practice at large.