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The Afterlives of Georges Perec$
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Rowan Wilken and Justin Clemens

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474401241

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474401241.001.0001

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Georges Perec’s Enduring Presence in the Visual Arts

Georges Perec’s Enduring Presence in the Visual Arts

(p.23) Chapter 2 Georges Perec’s Enduring Presence in the Visual Arts
The Afterlives of Georges Perec

Mireille Ribière

Edinburgh University Press

A former student of Roland Barthes, Perec rejected the dogmatism of the French avant-garde and the oppressive nature of theory in the late 1960s and 1970s, while dismissing the myth of the inspired artist and upholding those aspects of modernism that enabled art to assert itself as constructed intentionality. When he reconsidered the issue of the subject in its relationship to history and society, to the real, and to time and space, he managed to steer clear of expressivity, psychology and conventional mimesis. The co-existence of autobiographical and sociological concerns with formal constraints that both challenge and integrate the notion of chance, as well as his particular brand of formal pre-composition, which does not exclude humour, playfulness and immediacy, constitute further aspects of his enduring presence in the visual arts. This chapter argues that Perec practised literature both as a craft and as a form of conceptual art, and examines how the fundamental questions he raised, the conversations he initiated and the various methodologies he proposed have made, and continue to make him relevant to contemporary artists.

Keywords:   Georges Perec, compositional constraints, visual arts, modernism, Oulipo, Duchamp, Daniel de Paula, Christl Lidl

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