Sturtevant: Author of the Quixote

Don quixote sturtevant

Elaine Sturtevant

2008

Book, 17.5 x 11.5 cm, 48 p, language: English, publisher: Walther Koenig, ISBN: 9783865604729.
Materials: Ink, paper

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. B 2027/54).

Literary synopsis

In her artist novel, Elaine Sturtevant draws upon Jorge Luis Borges’s short story Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote, in which Borges combines fiction and reality in such a way that these become indistinguishable.

The protagonist of the Argentine writer’s tale is the French author Menard, who aims not to copy, but to recreate the Don Quixote of Cervantes, line for line. The result is a work identical to that created by Cervantes 400 years earlier, for Menard’s version is the only perfect way to reinvent Quixote. It is a reflection on questions of originality and authorship – the ideal reference for the conceptual approach taken in Sturtevant’s artistic work.         

Relation of the novel to the artist’s practice

Sturtevant is known for copying the works of famous artists – including Warhol, Johns, Stella, and Rauschenberg – while at the same time employing original techniques. Her aim, as she herself notes, is to evade the compulsion to be original that burdens all artists.

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