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R proof of art s indifference his life *might have been broken "In Two But Painting " two but painting been broken in two but painting still the bridge of dreams In order to achieve the depth of soul and vision necessary to become a true artist Rainer Maria Rilke prescribes a life of solitude However this exchange of artistry for solitude may come at a very high price While on a ourney through Argentina to paint landscapes German painter Johann Moritz Rugendas suffered a tragic accident that left him with an horrifically maimed face and damaged nervous system As his disfigurement and bouts of pain separate him from his companions pushing him inward towards his own solitude his new morphine fueled vision unlocks the inner beauty of the world and pushed him further into an elevated artistic spirit It was as if he had taken another step into the world of his paintings C sar Aira s An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter is a succinct allegory of an artists solitude and place in the wide world as Aira s compact prose illustrates a grand portrait of artistic history and the delicate balance of existenceLandscape by RugendasAira is so precise so exacting with his language that this succinct novella retains the broad scope of a lengthy novel In 80pgs Aira covers a story and a deep well of ideas that could easily have been discussed for hundreds of pages yet the reader does not feel that Aira has slighted them with his brief but powerfully moving book Every word hangs perfectly in balance not a word out of place which is impressively fitting with many of Rugendas and his companion s investigation of balance in the world Although Episode finds its roots in factual biography this is for all intensive purposes a fictionalized account of Rugendas however like the way Rugendas hallucinations blend with reality the blend of fact and fiction opens up the inner beauty of life and art that is impenetrable to fact and common reality And yet at some point the mediation had to give way not so much by breaking down as by building up to the point where it became a world of its own in whose signs it was possible to apprehend the world itself in its primal nakedness To further embody this sentiment Aira crafts his fictional account to resemble a biographic novel writing as if citing letters that don t actually exist and interspersing encyclopedic asides of biographical information This seemingly factual information grows in the soil of fiction to become something far greater Reality was becoming immediate like a novel Having studied in the genre of physiognomy of nature a scientific approach to landscape painting laid out by the ideas of Alexander von Humboldt Rugendas reproduced exactly species to create a perfect scientific totality Rugendas aim was to apprehend the world in its totality and the way to do this he believed in conformity with a long tradition was through visionThe artistic geographer had to capture the physiognomy of the landscape by picking out its characteristic physiognomic traitsThe precise arrangement of physiognomic elements in the picture would speak volumes to the observer s sensibility conveying information not in the form of isolated features but features systematically interrelated so as to be intuitively graspedThe key to it all was natural growth which is why the vegetable element occupied the foreground The artistic style has him reproduce exact scientific elements in each painting to maintain an accurate image of reality to highlight a specific moment in fluid history As he reproduces small details of flowers to better capture the whole of a landscape when drawing the Indian cattle raids he comments that each toe each tiny element of the Indians body is an expression on the whole of the man which then must be reproduced seeing it as part of the multitudinous species which would go on making nature Continually reappearing from the wings the Indians were in their way making history History itself becomes an important motif of the novella On their ourney each vision absorbed into them contains some statement on the history of the world and mans mark he has made on it The mules were driven by human intelligence and commercial interests expertise in breeding and bloodlines Everything was human the farthest wilderness was steeped with sociability and the sketches they had made in so far as they had any value stood as records of this permeation While storytelling is often the method for passing down history Rugendas argues that art was useful that discourse If all the storytellers fell silent he argues that history could be better passed down by a set of tools which would enable mankind to reinvent what had happened in the past with the innocent spontaneity of action Rugendas argues for repetition that all of humanity s actions deserve to happen again to better learn from them The repetitions of events lead to the telling of humanity and each individual part speaks volumes to the whole Like the reproduction of individual flora and fauna to create an accurate landscape each scene E chance to fulfill his dream From there he travels straight out onto the pampas praying for that impossible moment which would come only at an immense price an almost monstrously exorbitant price that would ultimately challenge his drawing and force him to create a new way of making art A strange episode that he could not avoid absorbing savagely into his own body interrupts the trip and irreversibly and explosively marks him for life. ,

Nes for An Episode in the Life of a LANDSCAPE PAINTER ARE TO BE FOUND HERE AND HERE Painter are to be found here and here suggest you immediately leave off this mediocre and humdrum musing and devote your attention to thoseLandscapes aren t they the paintings that graced the walls of hotel rooms prior to the arrival of pastel impressions that compliment the barrenness of rooms neutered in their standardization and into which they provide the only sources of color Landscape artists Landscape artists It s unthinkable Unless of course one thinks of what Cormac McCarthy can do with a landscape or Thomas Hardy or C sar AiraPeaks of mica kept watch over their long marches How could these panoramas be rendered credible There were too many sides the cube had extra faces The company of volcanoes gave the sky interiors Dawn and dusk were vast optical explosions drawn out by the silence air shafts voluminous as oceans Dammit Jimmy beat me to the punch *with that uote but it bears repeating Maybe there was a point behind all the references to the sublime *that uote but it bears repeating Maybe there was a point behind all the references to the sublime Longinus tudinal study that can t be right in those Lit classes of so long ago Now if your indulgence persists consider a landscape filtered through a mantilla read the book you ll see why it matters One person s lacy mantilla is a matter of discretion and self effacement for another it s a work of needlecraft art and display For some a mantilla filters what s beyond it for others it filters what s concealed inside or beneath For some art is an imaginative creation mediating the real and the real Finishing this book and writing this review such as it is leaves me wondering 4 stars or 5 It s not one I d recommend whole heartedly for any and every reader It is one I d recommend whole heartedly for some readers If you re one who likes artists writing about art and other artists read it On my profile I ve said the difference between 4 and 5 stars is that I liked a book and that I read it at the right time I read this one at the right time and I m going from this to by this author yeah it s another slim volume one of NDP s Pearls a series or collection that bodes well for me as I ve yet to be disappointed in NDP A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us To live is to be slowly born Antoine de Saint Exup ry Flight to ArrasThe power of art can easily be compared to the marvels of nature since both contribute a great deal in understanding life If nature reflects the beauty of life art helps in seeing that beauty through the kaleidoscopic vision of an artist As that vision broadens so does the dimensions of the said beauty and we reach an epiphany both as a creator and a witness of art where we break free of the conventions and discover new ways of presenting and finding various facets of life and subseuently come across the fact that there lies an inexplicable shred of beauty in the apparent ugliness of many things Such discovery can be a lifelong process for some while for others an occurrence of a single event is enough to attain a whole new perspective accompanied with a renewed confidence and strength to give shape to a dream no matter how farfetched it appeared before Such an Episode occurred in the life of our Landscape Painter Johan Moritz Rugendas He along with his friend Robert Krause set out on a ourney to Latin America in order to paint the pristine beauty of the landscapes and to capture the physiognomy of nature This phrase alone is worth considering the ambition depth and uniueness of the task undertaken by Rugendas and suggests about the difficulty involved in executing it Artists are stubborn creatures If they are clear about what they want to achieve and look forward for an ideal opportunity to fulfill their dreams then nothing almost nothing can stop them if they find that one chance Rugenda experienced such moment and with that this novella also elevates to a level of pure genius I have immense respect for short story and novella writing format The challenge involved in carving out something captivating and yet maintaining the charm of brevity is no child s play Everything needs to be done within limited means and if the scope of the writing can t get wider it needs to be dug deeper and that s exactly what Aira did with this book Like other readers this book left me fascinated with everything it packed under the guise of the label novella Aira s writing has the uality of being easily approachable even when he s writing about the technical aspects about the art of painting I never thought I would read such things and enjoy them too The twist in events and the impeccable style in which the narrative shift is executed clearly establishes Aira s talent There were numerous instances when the surrealism becomes the focus of storytelling but the sheer honesty of the teller manifested through his words were enough for me to Assume Surreal As Nothing surreal as nothing than real In short this book satisfied me as a reader and proved that sometimes best things indeed come in small packages Highly recommended It was anothe. Ver this is not a biography of Rugendas This work of fiction weaves an almost surreal history around the secret objective behind Rugendas's trips to America to visit Argentina in order to achieve in art the physiognomic totality of von Humboldt's scientific vision of the whole Rugendas is convinced that only in the mysterious vastness of the immense plains will he find true inspiration A brief and dramatic visit to Mendosa gives him th. Hot damn Starts out in a digressive Historical Mode That S Reminiscent mode that s reminiscent WG Sebald then seamlessly incorporates breathless action seuences and genuine grotesuerie while ruminating on the nature of art and perspective Exuisite and surprising Basically a perfect novella This book is short though usually referred to as slim at eighty eight pages Its prose rather than slim deepens in ever reaching transcendental layers never revealing intention There is no trace of crafting it down or trying to say The allotted pages were precisely what this story called for and where it ended It was created in the absence of the tools of the post modern trade Its immediacy ran the length of the *Novel Maintaining Its Tightened Grip *maintaining its tightened grip the last word Each of Aira s words are important in this seamless narrative thoughtful crafted uietly carrying the weight of its meaning The story can be read with eual relevance as in all excellent literature in different ways I will try to express my reading this book is like a goddamn greek myth in its perfect symmetry and simplicity a painter traveling through the mountains and plains of argentina is struck by lightning and turned into something of a freak physically deformed enlightened twisted destroyed dragged down flattened elevated and everything is suddenly different the natural world itself seems less a collage of beautiful randomness than a coded mosaic aarrrggghhh manimals indian raids endless horizons the subtle distinctions of angled sunlight aira packs into 87 pages than most novelists Changing the subject is one of the most difficult arts to master the key to almost all the others Johann Moritz Rugendas was a renowned German landscape painter of his time He was particularly well known for his work in the Americas Inspired by Alexander von Humboldt he sought financial support for an ambitious project of recording pictorially the life and nature of Latin America In his word it would be an endeavor to truly become the illustrator of life in the New World In 1831 he traveled first to Haiti and then to Mexico In Mexico he did drawings and watercolors of Morelia Teotihuacan Xochimilco and Cuernavaca He also began to practice oil painting with excellent results After becoming involved in a failed coup in 1834 against Mexico s president Anastasio Bustamante Rugendas was incarcerated and expelled Fascinating MagnificentAn Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter by C sar Aira is a beautiful and wonderful piece of literature This is a work of fiction about and around the trips of the German master landscape painter Johann Moritz RugendasNature in its nineteen vegetal phases adapted itself to his perception enveloped with Edenic light a morphine landscape To be a landscape painter means to be present at the feast of the nature Rain sun two whole days of impenetrable fog night winds whistling winds far and near nights of blue crystal crystals of ozo Said a bit too loud Ha Wow immediately after finishing its perfect ending Not to hype it too much but maybe a new favorite short novel It s a little like the Bartlebooth sections in Perec s Life A User s Manual crossed with Fitzcarraldo Imagine if Herzog exhumed Kinski for one last old timey early 1800s South American romp Seriously swell lit Very little dialogue no uotes no conventional literary fiction dramatization no character revealing convos etc no sections rendered as freakin PPT files Mostly exposition Objectively fantastic sentences examples to come the product of clear perception perfect phrasing insightful and often odd but never feels languagey Similes are rare and wielded with extreme care like a knife to the udders of night If he d filled out the summarized scenes with traditional dramatization this would have maybe felt like The Radetzky March in spirit As is it s 87 pages of awesome fictional biography and as such feels like a novel due to density and evocation of a world Shades of Sebald Bolano his most vivid bits but accessible easier reading focused at times way gripping vividly described very active things happen Anyway Se or Aira has earned another fan Might try to read some of his stuff in Spanish once I exhaust what s available in English apparently only 4 of 60 novella length books have been translated The translation by the way reads ridiculously well If you re trying to figure out which little Aira book to read first in English only five or six of 80 are available so far I d suggest you start with this one as I did Ghosts was a semi distant second for me with the others falling way back almost like they were by another writer Note if you re a New Directions editor or someone like that search the word faced and fix it for the next printing In a moronic attempt to get a ump on my 2111 Reading Challenge I opted for the slimmest title on my TBR list a novella of 87 pages that should have taken only moments from a day spent reading other people s reviews and wishing I had time to read the books they ve reviewed Speaking of other reviews much better An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter is the story of a moment in the life of the German artist Johan Moritz Rugendas 1802 1858 Greatly admired as a master landscape painter he was advised by Alexander von Humboldt to travel West from Europe to record the spectacular landscapes of Chile Argentina and Mexico Rugendas did in fact become one of the best of the nineteenth century European painters to venture into Latin America Howe. Un episodio en la vida del pintor viajero