Saturday, 30 January 2010

Les Escargots

In 1965, several years before they collaborated on the feature length animation Fantastic Planet (above), René Laloux and Roland Topor made an 11-minute short, Les Escargots (The Snails), which you can see here. It's not quite as spectacularly warped as the later film, but well worth a look. Below are some stills.

I recently read Topor's incredible 1964 novel The Tenant, which is some sort of weird, terrifying hybrid of Kafka, Poe and The Wicker Man, and which was filmed by Roman Polanski in 1976. I can't quite believe Topor isn't better known over here. Perhaps, as Russell Mills suggested, the English are just suspicious of anyone who can do more than one thing. Anyway, I'll certainly be getting hold of Topor's other works that are available in translation... all two of them.

My copy of The Tenant includes a few of his short stories, along with a small selection of his drawings. Click for larger versions.

Below are a couple of his op-ed illustrations for the New York Times.

Lots more here.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

William Kentridge

Stills from the charcoal animations of South African artist William Kentridge. As a Jew of Lithuanian descent living in Johannesburg, and with a father who was on the defence team at the Rivonia Trial, it is perhaps inevitable that the politics of apartheid are alluded to in his work alongside broader themes of memory and loss. Using a single sheet of paper and a near-static camera for each scene, movement is created by erasing and re-drawing, leaving visible traces across the screen as the film progresses.

"In the same way that there is a human act of dismembering the past there is a natural process in the terrain through erosion, growth, dilapidation that also seeks to blot out events. In South Africa this process has other dimensions. The very term 'new South Africa' has within it the idea of a painting over the old, the natural process of dismembering, the naturalization of things new."

It would be nice if these were reissued on DVD at some point, but for now it looks like we'll have to make do with YouTube.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Thomi Wroblewski

I've had this copy of William Burroughs's Cities of the Red Night for over a decade, but for some reason I've only just gotten round to looking up the cover artist, Thomi Wroblewski. Here's what Momus, who collaborated with him, has to say:

"What I notice about Thomi Wroblewski's 1980s book jacket work now is that while it often transgresses against the standards of good taste, it has an interesting maverick diversity -- exactly the sort of quirky zing that Wolpe-period Faber books had, but Pentagram-period Faber had lost by the time they standardised their poetry line with the tight-assed, Laura-Ashley-like "pomo ampersand classic" design.

"This period of 1980s late pomo design is now coming back with a rush; the stretched typefaces on Thomi's 1988 Quick End anthology, for instance (The Quick End was a collection of short stories by Michael Bracewell, Don Watson and Mark Edwards, a writing group formed under the tutelage of Kathy Acker -- I faithfully attended all their readings) look rather like what Mike Meiré is doing now at 032c magazine. There's an awkward, ugly energy here which suddenly looks interesting again."

Read the rest here.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Jean-Michel Folon

Jean-Michel Folon (1934-2005) was a Belgian artist and illustrator who made, among other things, watercolours, silkscreens, etchings, mosaics and sculptures. His clients included the New Yorker, Time, Esquire, Amnesty International, the United Nations and Greenpeace, and he illustrated books by Franz Kafka, Jacques Prévert, Guy de Maupassant and Ray Bradbury. He also created an animated sequence for the nightly closing down of French TV channel Antenne 2 with music by Michel Colombier, which you can see here.

More Folon: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, plus obituaries at the Guardian and Independent.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Jakub Erol

More Polish posters, this time from Jakub Erol. The film poster above isn't for some cult sci-fi horror as you might imagine - it's actually for Raiders of the Lost Ark, believe it or not. Click for larger version. Again, next to no info to be found, but go here, here and here for more images.

I didn't know Lou Reed had starred in any zombie films...

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Andrzej Bertrandt

These are by Polish artist Andrzej Bertrandt, who was also responsible for the great Solaris poster in my previous post. I can't find any information whatsoever on Bertrandt, other than that he was born in 1938, but there are more images here and here.