Seldom do two exceptional kindred spirits find each other by chance, but this is true of one of the singular literary figures of the twentieth century, Jorge Luis Borges (1899–1986), and his second wife, María Kodama. They met by accident in 1953 in a bookstore in Buenos Aires; she was in high school, he was already an established writer, and he was losing his eyesight. Both infinitely curious and adventurous spirits, they shared a deep interest for many different cultures. Beginning in 1973, Borges and María traveled extensively, and she became his eyes.
The library was one of Borges’s favorite literary images, often repeated in his stories, and in 1955 he was appointed director of the National Library in Buenos Aires. Borges expertly blended the formats of essay, poem and short story, blurring the boundaries between reality and fiction. Using symbols including labyrinths, mirrors and chess, his language is clear, his style almost laconic. His love of riddles and paradox provide a sense of magic, giving birth to a new literary genre. Throughout his life, Borges never stopped searching, learning, reading and writing. “The work of a poet never ends. You are continuously receiving things from the external world… and a revelation can come at any time.”
Diagnosed with cancer in 1984, Borges decided to keep his condition secret; he and María left Argentina for Geneva to spend his final days. As Borges was losing his eyesight, María became his guide and support as well as his companion, and when he passed, he named Kodama his sole heir and literary custodian, to preserve his legacy. Featuring rarely seen photographs, this volume, produced in collaboration with Fundación Internacional Jorge Luis Borges in Buenos Aires, elucidates one of the great love stories of our time, intertwined with Borges’s compelling poems and manuscripts, allowing readers to discover the celebrated Argentine writer’s intriguing oeuvre.
Cristina Carrillo de Albornoz , a former diplomat to United Nations, is an independent art curator for museums around the world. As an art critic and author, she has contributed to publications including Spanish, Italian, German and Mexican Vogue; The Art Newspaper and The Observer in the UK; Beaux Arts and L’Oeil in France; El País and AD in Spain; and La Repubblica in Italy. She has written twelve books, including Balthus, Santiago Calatrava, Ai Weiwei and Fernando Botero for Assouline. She has curated exhibitions in major institutions around the world on Rubens, Balthus, Fernando Botero, Santiago Calatrava, Manolo Blahnik, and 2000 Nobel Prize winner Gao Xingjian. She works with Arthemisia leading company in Italy for organising art exhibitions, with most significant photography archive management company Iconic Images, and with art galleries such as Marlborough in New York and White Cube in London, including collaborations with artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, Ai Weiwei, Harland Miller, Tadao Ando and Zaha Hadid, among others.