Notes on Conceptualisms

Nice to see that Notes on Conceptualisms has been translated into Spanish, and is attracting some serious attention in that language.

Depending on who you are, that title is either going to really excites you or scare the shit out of you. If you’re part of the latter group, though, there’s no reason for it. The book mostly consists of aphoristic statements about art and literature, all of which are interesting in and of themselves, and even more so when read in order. Yes, as the title suggests, it’s mostly about conceptual art, but in a way that even people who don’t particularly care for conceptual art can relate to and find applicable to all sorts of other things that they do find fascinating.

El año pasado, Conaculta publicó Notas sobre conceptualismos de Vanessa Place y Robert Fitterman, traducción de Notes on Conceptualisms (Ugly Duckling Press, 2009) a cargo de Cristina Rivera Garza, una de las escritoras mexicanas que con frecuencia reflexiona sobre (y practica) los procedimientos de apropiación y desapropiación en la literatura como una forma de cuestionar las nociones de autoría, originalidad, público y productor en el ámbito literario. Escrito con una disposición similar al Tractatus de Wittgenstein, aunque con antecedentes más cercanos en textos de Charles Bernstein, el volumen es, en palabras de los autores, más una colección de apuntes y aproximaciones a la escritura conceptual que una preceptiva o un texto definitivo; por ello no resulta ajeno a la propia concepción del texto que se encuentren algunas consideraciones vagas o contradictorias, de hecho, estas contradicciones mostrarían la inestabilidad propia de la escritura conceptual, cuyo eje más importante, dejando de lado la cuestión material de los textos escritos, es mostrar las zonas grises, incluso oscuras e incómodas, en las que parecen borrarse las tensiones entre la metafísica de la autoridad y el esencialismo de lo textual.

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