Cover image of the review

Mira Gojak and Takehito Koganezawa: The Garden of Forking Paths

1 Dec 2018
Buxton Contemporary 7 Nov - 17 Feb 2019

It's almost impossible to imagine the influence four small volumes of less than 60,000 words each by the great Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges exerted on Western culture throughout the latter part of the 20th century. Compiled from a selection of short stories and essays originally written in Spanish in the 1930s and '40s, Fictions and Labyrinthes first appeared in French in 1951 and 1953 and then as Ficciones and Labyrinths in English in 1962.

Installation view, Mira Gojak and Takehito Koganezawa, The Garden of Forking Paths. Image courtesy the artists and Buxton Contemporary.

The great post-War generation of French philosophers all adored and attempted to channel him. (There is a wonderful photograph of Derrida meeting his hero for the first time and looking like a nervous schoolboy.) The whole group of American meta-fictionalists—Robert Coover, John Barth, Donald Barthelme—were all absolutely inspired by him. The Conceptualists drop his name incessantly in their writings. (The recent Robert Smithson show at MUMA featured Smithson's own heavily underlined copy of Labyrinthes) The post-modernist Sherrie Levine in her attempt to prove the author was dead kept on reprinting an excerpt from Borges' 'Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote' as an artist statement. (If anything, it proved the opposite.)

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