A literary gesture born of the enjoyment and intellectual nourishment Aesop derives daily through the written word, The Fabulist features fiction and non-fiction works.
On the occasion of the Serpentine Pavilion 2018, The Fabulist examines materiality and space. Alongside essays by Geoff Dyer, Rachel Kushner, Valeria Luiselli and Zadie Smith, this issue features an interview with Frida Escobedo, discussing her influences and Mexican constructions, and an introduction by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director of the Serpentine Galleries, and Yana Peel, CEO of the Serpentine Galleries.
In publication since May 2014, previous editions of The Fabulist honour the ancient Greek slave and fabulist whose name our products bear by presenting fables alongside four other rubrics:
What memory, asks Valeria Luiselli in her essay on Mexico City’s Palacio de Bellas Artes, can be held within a slab of stone? What is washed away when the flood comes, and how can rubble make an architect? In memoir, essay, and conversation, the texts that compose this edition of The Fabulist ask questions of the materials that surround us, to glean from them a series of stories, big and small.
What memory, asks Valeria Luiselli in her essay on Mexico City’s Palacio de Bellas Artes, can be held within a slab of stone? What is washed away when the flood comes, and how can rubble make an architect?
"Make everything more flexible in every way, so that the building becomes more like a palm tree and less like a completely rigid structure, because that’s the one that will fall down. Rigid things collapse."
Bellas Artes is a three-dimensional map of Mexico City. It’s a kind of hologram, or a Borgesian Aleph that contains, in its limited space, the entire history of the city’s many amphibian lives, real and imagined.
E. M. Cioran wisely warned that the farther a person advances in life the less there is to convert to, but even at an advanced stage of photographic appreciation you do not simply become an admirer of Luigi Ghirri’s work; you become a convert.
Even when we try to ignore the fact that we are, along with dolphins and apes, one of those rare narcissistic, self-aware, mirror-gazing sorts of animals, it proves difficult to repress for very long the shamefully rich feeling we have for ourselves.
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