Tag Archives: { feuilleton }

Holzmüller and the Quays

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US one sheet (1996).

Heinrich Holzmüller (also spelt Holtzmüller) was a German printmaker and calligrapher active during the 16th century. He may have been dead for centuries but this inconvenience didn’t prevent him from appearing as an interviewer in the catalogue for the MoMA exhibition of artworks by the Brothers Quay that ran throughout the end of 2012.

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Film tie-in edition of Jakob von Gunten (1995).

One of the more informative pieces of information to come from that interview concerned the Quays’ resurrection of typefaces designed by Holzmüller in his Liber Perutilis, a book about lettering and calligraphy published in 1553. The Quay versions were most visible around the time of the production of their first feature, Institute Benjamenta (1995): you can see them on the posters, on the cover of the Serpent’s Tail tie-in edition of Jakob von Gunten and also inside the rare soundtrack CD which the Quays designed for Lech Jankowski.

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Weekend links 322

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• Cover art by the Quays for Inner Sanctums—Quay Brothers: The Collected Animated Films 1979–2013, a Blu-ray collection which will be released by the BFI next month. Being something of an obsessive where the Quays are concerned I have a lot of this material already (some of the films in multiple copies), but I’ve been hankering for a BR collection for some time. The new set will include everything that’s on the BFI’s DVD collection plus more recent films, some of which have been the subject of previous { feuilleton } posts.

• Aubrey Beardsley: “The subjects were quite mad and a little indecent. Strange hermaphroditic creatures wandering about in Pierrot costumes or modern dress; quite a new world of my own creation.” Alan Hollinghurst reviews the catalogue raisonné of Beardsley’s work.

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Weekend links 308

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Frank Herbert’s Dune receives a new cover design by Alex Trochut together with other notable works of science fiction and fantasy for a new series from Penguin.

• “…poet, scholar and biographer Sandeep Parmar…has raised the possibility that a long poem by Hope Mirrlees, titled Paris and published by the Hogarth Press in 1919, was a strong influence on The Waste Land.” Alfred Corn on new TS Eliot scholarship.

• “[Evolution‘s] strain of body horror brings to mind an ethereal HP Lovecraft mixed with David Cronenberg.” Rachel Bowles talks to the film’s director, Lucile Hadzihalilovic.

• Library music “is a sonic world of ‘weird beats, odd instrumentations, albums full of dark jazzy interludes or bizarre garage rock.’” Adrian Shaughnessy on innovation in banality.

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Leather Cthulhu unleashed

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The beautiful leatherbound Complete Cthulhu Mythos Tales is officially published this Friday but the books are in Barnes & Noble stores already, and my complimentary copies arrived this week. Photos don’t do justice to the volumes in this series of classic reprints, you really need to hold one to see how well made they are. The leather is smooth and flawlessly printed—I was worried that I might have pushed the limits with some of the details in my cover design but every line and edge is where it should be. The pages of this particular volume are edged with gold, an effect applied to some of the books I’ve designed for Savoy but an uncommon thing in today’s book world.

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Shadowland covers

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Not the horror magazine, this is an earlier American title that ran from 1919 to 1923. Shadowland covered the arts in general with a preference for stage and film. The thing that immediately sets it apart from other film magazines of the period is the cover art by AM Hopfmuller; many of the paintings resemble theatre backdrops or backgrounds for animated films. The Internet Archive doesn’t have a complete run, unfortunately—the examples here are from volumes 1, 7 and 8—but more of Hopfmuller’s work may be found on other sites. The magazine interiors are also worth a browse for their colour plates and art photographs. (Thanks to Kristian for the tip!)

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Bosch details

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In which the indelible strangeness of Hieronymus Bosch’s triptych, The Garden of Earthly Delights (c. 1490–1510), is presented to us in the highest resolution. (I should say presented again since Google’s Art Project/Cultural Institute/whatever-it’s-called-this-week had a browsable version of their own in 2009 but this seems to have vanished. So much for the primacy of the Googleverse, etc, etc.) I’d always encourage people to see paintings in situ when possible but it remains a fact that very old and well-known works of art are difficult to study for any length of time in a crowded gallery. The more valuable works are also closely guarded by attendants who dissuade anyone from getting too close to those fragile surfaces, so it’s left to books or websites such as this one to give us the details. Not all paintings warrant this kind of attention, of course, but the crowded panels of Bosch and Brueghel the Elder certainly do. In addition to wandering among the figures you can also opt for a guided tour although bear in mind that the meaning (if any) of many of these details has never been resolved. Via MetaFilter.

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John Batten’s Indian Fairy Tales

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I keep intending to write some longer pieces, including a review of Aleksei German’s unforgettable Hard To Be A God, but the workload has been heavy again so here’s another illustrated book.

Illustrations by John Dickson Batten (1860–1932) have appeared here before, all of them for collections of fairy tales compiled and adapted by Joseph Jacobs. Indian Fairy Tales (1892) is another Batten/Jacobs collaboration, and is as fine as their other books, with Batten enclosing many of his full-page drawings in elaborate frames. Most of the figures look nothing like Indian people but that’s standard for books of this period. The Internet Archive has several copies of this title, including a limited, numbered copy with hand-coloured illustrations. I prefer the illustrations in black-and-white, however, so that’s what you see here.

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Hell, a film by Rein Raamat

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An inferno of a different kind, Hell (1983) is a short film by Estonian animator Rein Raamat based on a series of etchings by Estonian artist Eduard Wiiralt (1898–1954). The drawings date from around 1930 when Wiiralt was living in Paris so they’re understandably connected to Surrealism. Browse some of the originals at 50 Watts. (Thanks to Modzilla for the tip!)

Previously on { feuilleton }
Inferni
Mirko Racki’s Inferno
Albert Goodwin’s fantasies
Harry Lachman’s Inferno
Maps of the Inferno
A TV Dante by Tom Phillips and Peter Greenaway
The last circle of the Inferno

By: { feuilleton }
Via: Feedbin Starred Entries
Source: http://j.mp/1Q9EgOP

The Reflected Faun

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Another one to add to the stock of fauns, satyrs and Pan figures that proliferate from the 1890s to the 1920s, Laurence Housman’s The Reflected Faun appeared in The Yellow Book in 1894. The magazine’s publisher, John Lane, also published Arthur Machen’s The Great God Pan in the same year although an early version of Machen’s story had appeared a few years before. What’s notable about Housman’s drawing is the way he combines in a single image several distinct themes: Faunus/Pan, the reflected Narcissus, and all those tales of beguiling spirits lurking in water. The nature of the spirit in this picture is distinctly androgynous, a detail that wouldn’t have impressed those critics who considered The Yellow Book to be an unwholesome publication. The androgyny may be taken as deliberate: Housman was one of London’s “Uranian” artists, and a few years later joined George Cecil Ives’ Order of Chaeronea, a secret society for gay men and lesbians. In the light of this, the drawing might be interpreted as a symbol for a clandestine existence where true desires remain buried or submerged.

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Weekend links 257

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The Nine of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith, and the same card from The Ghetto Tarot, a Haitian deck created by photographer Alice Smits and Haitian art group Atis Rezistans.

Almost four months after the murders in Paris, Charlie Hebdo continues to be problematic, to use a common epithet. The “p” word occurs with such frequency in current discussions about offence—and those discussions so often seem like a secular version of old religious arguments, with Manichean forces pitted against each other, and the same schisms, heresies and witch hunts—that I’ve taken to translating “problematic” as “sinful”. Charlie Hebdo is nothing if not a heretical text even if many of those pronouncing on its heresies have never read a copy. Back in January I was confident that we’d be seeing a great deal of equivocation (if not outright victim-blaming) when people began to look closely at the magazine, or at least read hasty appraisals of its contents. You didn’t have to be a psychic to predict any of this because the equivocations are merely the current manifestation of a familiar syndrome. This week’s authorial objections about PEN America honouring Charlie Hebdo have led to a reiteration of the grumblings we heard in January: “Yes, of course, we condemn the violence but…” But, what? “But, it’s a sinful publication…”(This piece by one of the PEN objectors in the LRB is typical.) Publication liberties, which in the UK are more constrained than in the US, are apparently best championed for the virtuous (the responsible, the respectful, etc), not the sinful. In 1963 “Yes, but…” equivocations about freedom of speech were being deployed in the letters page of the Times Literary Supplement with worthies such as Victor Gollancz and Edith Sitwell wondering why it was necessary to defend a deplorable book like The Naked Lunch; in 1992 I sat in a courtroom watching a judge make similar comments when grudgingly overturning an obscenity ruling against David Britton’s Lord Horror novel. The same judge then upheld the obscenity charge against Britton & Guidio’s Meng & Ecker comic which he regarded as trashier fare, “luridly bound” and containing “pictures that will be repulsive to right-thinking people”.

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