OuLiPo. 55th Anniversary
The Museo marks the 55th anniversary of the OuLiPo group with two activities: The presentation of the work 66 Exercises in Style by Colectivo Armadillo, which is inspired by Queneau’s book Exercises in Style (1947), and a discussion which revolves around the group.
Founded by François Le Lionnais and Raymond Queneau, OuLiPo (Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle, Primer of Potential Literature), emerged in 1960 from a group of mathematicians and writers interested in maximising the possibilities of language through the creation of contraintes. This term is normally translated as constraints or obstacles and alludes to the rules imposed by a literary structure; in the contrainte oulipons find the capacity for language in order to establish unusual connections between words, which allows for unsuspected relationships. From the beginning, OuLiPo would distance itself from literary movements, scientific seminars or literary workshops to build a key chapter that reconsiders the relationships between art and writing, or between language and meaning. Despite taking up previous experience from Dada and Surrealism, it would also displace random exploration and the subconscious with multiplied meaning, projecting and transforming both avant-garde movements from the 1960s onwards. Writers such as Georges Perec, Italo Calvino, Julio Cortázar and Samuel Beckett and artists like Oyvind Fahlström, Guy de Cointet and Allen Ruppersberg would express how greatly indebted they were to this group with regard to approaches to the creative potential of writing. The Museo Reina Sofía joins in with this acknowledgment via the first theatrical approach to OuLiPo’s inexhaustible present.
Two actors/homo ludens brimming with dramatic literature and theatrical art history, invaded by voices from every epoch, and locked inside the loop of a trivial stage without resolution.
Setting out from Raymond Queneau’s book Exercises in Style (1947), the piece considers a game of trivial appearances developed in absolute seriousness, a rhetorical pastime, both mannerist and extravagant and not devoid of comedy but also possessing a didactic component that displays its blueprints and intentions. Something that doesn’t materialise into a performance piece but a draft, sketch and project, theatre performed in front of the spectator.
Armadillo is a collective made up of Jesús Barranco, Pilar Campos, Oscar G. Villegas, Raúl Marcos, Luciana Pereyra and Carlos Rod. The collective has developed theatre experiments on the works of Georges Perec (The Raise), Thomas Bernhard (On Earth and in Hell) and Bertolt Brecht (Unfinished Work).
66 Exercises in Style is created and performed by: Raúl Marcos/Jesús Barranco. Sound design and lighting: Óscar G. Villegas
Nouvel Building, Protocol Room
In collaboration with: Institut Français
A round-table discussion centred on the OuLiPo group’s. With participation by leading especialists and some of the protagonists of this historic literary experiment.
Paul Fournel, member of the OuLiPo group since 1972, provisional secretary until 2003 and the current chairman. He is the author of an expansive body of literary work that includes Clefs pour la littérature potentielle (Gallimard, 1972), Guignol (Editions du Seuil, 1995) and Les Athlètes dans leur tête (Aldus, ed. Spanish translation, 2009, winner of the Prix Goncourt de la Nouvelle in 1989).
Pablo Martín Sánchez, writer, author of El anarquista que se llamaba como yo (The Anarchist Whose Name Was Mine, Acantilado, 2012), selected as the best debut novel, and the only Spanish member of OuLiPo.
Pablo Moíño Sánchez, Spanish translator of Georges Perec – The Art of Asking Your Boss for a Raise (Spanish translation, La uÑa RoTa, 2009) and Raymond Queneau – The Last Days (Gallo Nero, 2013). He is also author of un verso en una casa enana (A Verse in a Tiny House, La Discreta, 2011).
Carlos Rodríguez, one of the editors of La uÑa RoTa, a publishing house which released Es un oficio de hombres (Autorretrato de hombres y mujeres en reposo) (It’s a Man’s Profession [A Self-portrait of Idle Men and Women]) and has works by Georges Perec and Samuel Beckett, among others, in its catalogue.
Daniel Montero Galán, illustrator, author of the graphic novel Zooilógico. Bestiario de seres mitoilógicos (Zoo. Bestiary of Mythological Beings, Ediciones Jaguar, 2011) and, together with Juan Mayorga, the illustrated play El elefante ha ocupado la catedral (The Elephant Has Taken Over the Cathedral, Veintisiete letritas, 2012). He also illustrated the cover to the book OuLiPo Es un oficio de hombres (Autorretrato de hombres y mujeres en reposo) (It’s a Man’s Profession [A Self-portrait of Idle Men and Women]), (La uÑa RoTa, 2015).
Nouvel Building, Auditorium 200