Cesar Aira (Argentina, 1949)
Emma la Cautiva (1997)
Como me Hice Monja/ How i became a Nun (1998)
"Un Episodio en la Vida del Pintor Viajero/ An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter" (2000) is a brief story set in a mythical past that seems to
hide a discussion on the meaning, nature and evolution of art.
German landscape painter Rugendas, heir to a dynasty of painters, who had
already traveled to South America for four years and published a popular book
of drawings, travels again to South America for 17 years, accompanied by the
younger (and mediocre) painter Robert Krause,
producing more than 3,000 works.
They enjoy the hospitality of the landowner Emilio Godoy and then enter
Argentina's pampas but soon find themselves into a wasteland: locusts have
destroyed all the vegetation. Rugendas sets out alone to find vegetation and
is caught in a terrible storm. Hit twice by lightning, he survives but his
foot gets caught in the stirrup of a horse gone crazy. When Krause and the
guide finds him, Rugendas is breathing but his face is horribly maimed.
Luckily, they reach a big city and a hospital in time to save his life.
Rugendas is left horribly disfigured and afflicted by terrible migraines
with twitching and hallucinations. To survive the pain, Rugendas becomes
addicted to morphine. They return to the Godoy family.
Rugendas comes to terms with his appearance by writing letters to
his family and friends in Europe. In the letters we discover that
Rugendas did not write the book that gave him fame (it was written for him
by an art critic) and its lithographs were made by French artists.
From the beginning Rugendas had hoped to witness a raid by the "Indians".
It happened while he was convalescing and he promptly decided to remain
and paint the Indians rather than flee the scene. He covered his face
so not to terrorize the soldiers and followed them. An attack caused him
to lose consciousness. When he awoke again, he took his mask off and,
half blinded by the drugs, took to painting erratically. When the battle
ended Rugendas wasn't satisfied and decided to walk into the camp of the
Indians and paint them while they were celebrating by the fire. The Indians
were initially shocked to see the monster appear out of nowhere, but then
let him do his job and he happily got on his manic drawing mission, taking
advantage of the distortions caused by the flames and by his own hallucinated
La Mendiga (2002)
Canto Castrado (2003)
Una Novela China (2004)
El Bautismo (2004)
Las Noches de Flores (2004)
(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx) |
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