Petra Narcisa

Juan Carlos RodrÍguez Torres


Artist Novel, 21,5 x 14 cm, 180 p., language: Spanish, publisher: Isla de libros, ISBN: 978-958-59680-8-0.
Materials: ink, paper

Literary synopsis

Petra Narcisa introduces us to the landscape and the llanera speech, as a chronicle of the paradoxes of daily life marked by violence and fear that circulate in that 'infinite horizon', confronted with the passion that represents the effusion of verse, of dance and the music of its singers. From the voice of a leading narrator, that local memory is recovered and, at the same time, reflections on the cultural contradictions that have marked Venezuela since 1998 are inserted. From a perspective that constantly expresses doubt, cultural policies against memory and the instrumentalisation of the so-called 'popular art', as well as the different positions that artists assume in the face of the mediations of the cultural and political system. This need to evoke is connected with the reflection on art and writing (the story within the story as an abyss). Thus, Petra Narcisa, the woman, emerges as a metaphor for primordial passion, which invites us to build that memory interwoven with conflicts and drives, such as betrayal and hopelessness. Disappearance is the common thread that anchors us step by step in uncertainty and in the body as the last bastion to fight and to love unbridled from a consciousness capable of self-questioning and renewing itself step by step, since it is housed in the recognition of that vitality, because it remains in many of those who inhabit the Colombian-Venezuelan plain.

Relation of the novel to the artist’s practice

Petra Narcisa is a structuring part of the Cuatro Veranos project, which involves a performative and installation journey through the plains of Colombia and Venezuela. The choice of a fictionalised narrative is due to the importance of the word, both oral and written, in these cultures, which privilege it over visual manifestations such as painting or photography. Juan Carlos RodrÍguez had to find a connection channel according to these populations, which would allow, at the same time, direct communication with audiences more closely linked to the visual arts.
Cuatro Veranos was carried out in two moments: the first one was a four-year journey through different towns in the plains of Venezuela and Colombia, where stories were collected from a playful and collective action based on conversation accompanied by the traditional consumption of tobacco paste (chimó). Thus, while a group was conversing in semi-informal meetings about daily life, a group of fabrics was spitting out that became one of the visual memories of the experience.
The second moment, based on all the recorded conversations, consisted of shaping the story, the novel, and at the same time configuring different visual and audiovisual devices that accounted for the experience and the very structure of the story.

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