Park Nights: Enrique Vila-Matas and Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster
Writer Enrique Vila-Matas and artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster appeared together for the first time in London.
Though she is a character in Vila Matas’ latest novel Dublinesca, Gonzalez-Foerster is much more than a character. She is a personal friend of the writer and an artist, very much admired by him. Vila-Matas has always been fascinated by the way Gonzalez-Foerster, in her daring installations, marries cities and literature, films and hotels, architecture and abysses, psychic geographies and rain. The exchange of ideas and artistic dialogue between Vila-Matas and Gonzalez-Foerster has existed since they first met in Granada. They arrived at a reception in a hotel at the same moment and recognised one another at once as if they had always known each other. The event at the Serpentine Gallery offered the possibility of a new exchange in their international and animated conversation since they began to ‘fictionally’ work together.
Enrique Vila-Matas (born 1948, Barcelona) has led a very long and outstanding literary career and is one of the most prestigious and original writers in contemporary Spanish fiction. He is the author of several books which, as a trademark of his genius, mix different genres. Among his works one should not fail to mention: La asesina ilustrada (Tusquets, 1977), Historia abreviada de la literatura portátil (Anagrama, 1985), Extraña forma de vida (Anagrama, 1997), El viaje vertical (Anagrama, 1999. Rómulo Gallegos Prize), Bartleby y compañía (Anagrama, 2000, trans. Bartleby and Co., The Harvill Press, 2004 – New Directions, 2007), El mal de Montano (Anagrama, 2002, trans. Montano’s Malady, The Harvill Press, 2007 – New Directions, 2007), París no se acaba nunca (Anagrama, 2004, trans. Never Any End to Paris, New Directions, forthcoming) and Dietario Voluble (Anagrama, 2008). He is the recipient of several awards such as Premio Rómulo Gallegos 2001 (El viaje vertical). Bartleby y compañía was selected as the best book of the year by French booksellers and was awarded the Ciudad de Barcelona Award and the Fernando Aguirre-Libralire Award. El Mal de Montano (Premio Herralde, 2002) has been granted the Critics Award both in Spain and Chile, as well as the Prix Médicis in France and the Ennio Flaiano International Award. Doctor Pasavento (Anagrama, 2005) won the Fundación Lara Award 2006 and the Real Academia Española Award 2006, and El viajero más lento won the Elsa Morante Litterary Prize 2007. After Dietario voluble, Vila-Matas published Ella era Hemingway / No soy Auster, two short texts published by Alfabia in their Cuadernos Collection. His latest book is the novel Dublinesca (Seix Barral, 2010, trans. Dublinesque, The Harvill Press and New Directions, forthcoming). His works have been translated into 30 languages.
Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster was born in 1965 in Strasbourg, France. Among her recent solo exhibitions are projects for The Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London (2008); MUSAC Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y Léon (2008); Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris / ARC, Paris (2007); Kunsthalle Zürich, Zurich (2004); and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2002). Her work was on view in Making Worlds, 53rd International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, 2009. She also participated in Skulptur Projekte Münster (2007) and Documenta XI, Kassel (2002). She is the recipient of the 2002 Marcel Duchamp Award, Paris, the 1996—97 Mies van der Rohe Award, Krefeld, and the Villa Kujoyama, Kyoto artist residency in 1996—97. In November 2009, she presented, in collaboration with composer Ari Benjamin-Meyers, a new performance in New York City as part of PERFORMA 09. Gonzalez-Foerster lives and works in Paris and Rio de Janeiro.
Park Nights is an annual series of music, theatre, performances, talks and film screenings staged on Friday nights in the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, designed in 2010 by Jean Nouvel. Park Nights culminated on the weekend of 16th and 17th October with the Serpentine Gallery Map Marathon, the latest in the Serpentine’s series of Marathon events, conceived by Hans Ulrich Obrist.