The Global Art Project

The Storytellers: Narratives in International Contemporary Art

The story begins on the pages of the literary treasures that turn libraries into places of magic and wonder. Inspired by the powerful narratives that unfold in award-winning books, the artists featured in The Storytellers translate the stories of legendary authors into magnificent works of art. This exhibition was initially inspired by a personal interest in Latin American literature and its distinct tradition of storytelling. Authors such as Jorge Luis Borges, Pablo Neruda, Mario Vargas Llosa, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Octavio Paz, Reinaldo Arenas and Jorge Amado have all had a tremendous influence on the development of literature and poetry both in their home countries and internationally. Neruda’s poems, Borges’ labyrinths and Marquez’s magical realism, is the stuff that bibliophile dreams are made of. Through the years,their stories and poems have provided a valuable source of inspiration not only for other authors, but also for artists. More than ever before, the impact of literature is also seen within the realm of international contemporary art.

While the inspirational seed for this exhibition was planted in Latin America, it has grown and blossomed far beyond its roots, reaching across geographical, linguistic, and creative borders. The result is an exhibition that features contemporary artists from around the world whose work is also inspired by authors such as James Joyce, William Blake, Karl Marx, Virginia Woolf, Ibsen, Italo Calvino and Rimbaud.  

The exhibition title is inspired by Mario Vargas Llosa’s book The Storyteller, a captivating story with an intricate narrative that juxtaposes the voice of  the narrator with chapters relating to Peruvian Indian mythology. The Storyteller contains all the elements of a classic, award-winning novel: an underlying personal struggle and a search for meaning and truth found along the path of a life-changing journey of discovery. The story hints at many of the underlying themes in this exhibition, and also captures the unique and powerful storytelling qualities of many of the artists featured in this exhibition.  Just as Mario Vargas Llosa guides us into a mythic and magical world with his poetic tale of a storyteller, the artists included in this exhibition are visual storytellers who capture our imagination with their interpretations of some of the greatest stories ever written. 

Participating artists: Georges Adéagbo, Liliana Angulo, Mónica Bengoa, Milena Bonilla, Monika Bravo, Ryan Brown, Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Eloisa Cartonera, William Cordova, Mariliá Dardot, Alfredo Jaar, William Kentridge, Lobato & Guimarães, Cristina Lucas, Fabio Morais, Ernesto Neto, Ulf Nilsen, Rosana Ricalde, Eder Santos, Tracey Snelling, Valeska Soares, Elida Tessler, Sergio Vega, Young-hae Chang Heavy Industries, and Nina Yuen.