El gesto narrativo. Forms of the contemporary

The Most Secret Memory of Men, by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr (2021)

CollectionConversationsRead groupIVAM Centre Julio González

The collection from IVAM is organised using six chronological and themed blocks which explain, with their own voice, the art developed from the beginning of the 20th century to the modern day. Perhaps not everything is as it is (or was), but it is everything that exists. Stories of the present – and those that come from far away but are updated in our present- should be told as a polyphony of voices and from contexts that make us sharpen our critical eye regarding their construction and relevance.

Over six sessions, using six books, we will delve into the narrative actions that literature offers us and we will link them together, sometimes with simple gestures and sometimes with more complex choreography, with the IVAM collection. The worlds of fiction build reality; they are reflective mirrors or transparent windows, but they always tell us what we are, or what we are eager to become, from our previous experience and towards our future possibility of transforming ourselves. In these narrative gestures, traversed by stories and lives, we will slow down.

2002-2021: Forms of the contemporary

The most recent of the historical periods, with the closest relation to the present day, offers us several lines of thinking on prospective projects focusing on the early decades of the twenty-first century. With this in mind, we can tackle the many ways of imagining the revolt, the performative phenomenon of the protest as a sociological staging which also relates to the iconography of nineteenth- and twentieth-century art. Actions and interventions in different contexts may mesh with some of the aims of feminist and queer activism, or the conflicts of globalism in its inequality, current forms of communication and the new awareness of crisis as a global phenomenon. Contemporary art is now postconceptual, its meanings are open, it has recuperated the document, narrative, and embodied practices through performance and the use of the word.

The Most Secret Memory of Men (2023) by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, Other Press
(La más recóndita memoria de los hombres, Mohamed Mbougar Sarrgar Sarr, Trans. Rubén Martín Giráldez. Ed. Anagrama).

This book might have exchanged places with Lumbung Stories in the previous decade, and vice versa. Both books are highly relevant to the present day, and deal with some of the aspects we have had to face in the first decades of the twenty-first century. Nevertheless, we decided to leave this work of literature on literature for the last reading. This book looks at what it means to write and tell stories, at the reader’s reception of the written word, and of the hold it has on later writers: at the power of creative work on its maker, its audience or observers, and on anyone who thinks about it after reading it. An ambitious novel, a maze of stories, real and fictional characters, which won the Prix Goncourt in 2021 and proves that stories are not only still necessary; they also make us, individually and collectively.


El gesto narrativo

02 nov. 2022 – 10 may. 2023
CollectionConversationsLibraryRead groupIVAM Centre Julio González