‘Had I been born Chinese, I would have been a writer, not a painter. I would write my paintings.’ Pablo Picasso

Stéphane Zagdanski was born in Paris on April 1963. For the past twenty-five years, he has written about twenty books published by Gallimard, Fayard, Le Seuil… His new autobiographical novel, RARE, relates the life and thoughts day by day of a Parisian man of letters obsessed by a question: ‘What is writing’. In this way, RARE is the diary of a writing process.

This story, which starts in English and continues in French, relates its own transformation all along the conception and the extravagant redaction of ‘Chaos Brûlant’. However, RARE doesn’t simply describe a metamorphosis, it is the metamorphosis itself.

‘I was about to write by hand a novel which would describe a writer’s inner life. I was about to make tangible the thoughts of a man dedicated to writing. A man who would decide, after having consecrated an entire novel to the nihilist destruction of the world, to save his own writing in a Noah’s Ark of Art, made of the paintings this story would be written on.’ RARE, page 99

Indeed, RARE spreads out its narrative and body through one hundred distinct calligraphy works. All media, instruments and objects were literally sacrificed on the altar of Writing.

This unprecedented hybrid of Literature and Contemporary Art was presented in its entirety, for the first time, at the Galerie Éric Dupont in Paris. Printed in a non-commercial limited edition, the entire novel was offered as a certificate of authenticity to every acquirer of one of those 100 ’pages’.


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