Penumbra, a novel (yet to be released)


The novel Penumbra, yet unfinished (hopefully released by the end of 2023)  focuses on the life of a middle-aged female artist who tries to maneuver her way in the world of art as well as outside of it. Past pandemic, moving away from her life in a big city and its art events, to live in the Italian countryside. Entering a new social group of agriculturers and their lifestyle, evokes an entirely new way to look back at her own upbringing in a lower middle-class family with a working class background. With this experience she starts to review past events of her life in general under the focus of class and privilege as being inscribed in all kinds of social groups, such as art, as well as society as a whole.

The novel attempts to analyse and describe the problem of class within the world of art. It raises questions about equal opportunities, not only in becoming an artist, but also in becoming part of an art-affinized-society. It further examines the honesty in dealing with an imbalance between classes and given privileges in cultural production in general. Art today, often appears as part of a consumerist upper-class world, therefore tends to appear detached from the everyday concerns of many people, who also seem to face difficulties in accessing it, both spatially and intellectually. Still art claims for itself to be important for the whole of society. But it has yet to prove again and again its status as such.

Structurally, the novel is based on John Berger's "Into their labours" Trilogy, especially the first part named Pig Earth. In that, it defines artists as a fluid class in their own right, who are close to and often play with bourgeois and high society life and their lifestyle, but are often viewed as outcasts of the lower classes. Although very rarely artists come from a lower middle class or working class, let alone a peasant background. Though no matter their origin, they often face precarious living situations as part of their career. These contradictory experiences turn artists into a unique part of society. The novel also contains parts of a structure similar to that used by Bell Hooks in Where We Stand; Class Matters, by using auto-fictional episodes on an equal footing alongside poetry and essay-like sequences, just as Berger did to tell the story.

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