ABSTRACT

This chapter tackles the subtle relationship between autobiographical narratives and identity construction from a nonessentialist conception of identity. In a perspective that articulates philosophy of language, psychoanalysis, semiotics, and literary critique, I posit the concept of biographical space as an analytical instrument to make a critical update of the reconfiguration of identities and subjectivities in contemporary culture, marked by the predominance of the biographical, the private, and a “public intimacy” ( Berlant). This approach is more symptomatic than descriptive: it  intends to account for the rise of auto/biographical narratives and life stories, from canonic genres to their multiple derivations in the media, social media, and the most diverse artistic practices, a phenomenon that seems to reaffirm the notion of narrative identities by Paul Ricoeur. My analysis here-from an ethic, aesthetic, and political point of view-focuses on two visual art experiences closely related to these subjects, which have recently taken place in Buenos Aires, indicative of a new trend on international exhibitions in Argentina: the solo exhibitions of French postconceptual artist Christian Boltanski and British artist Tracey Emin. Each of these exhi bitions had a different biographical and aesthetical approach, proposing a significant connection between the individual and the collective that can be analyzed as a transnational contribution to the continuous reconfiguration of our own identities.