Friday, 2 April 2010

Poisoning my brain

I couldn't resist posting a few of these works by Roland Topor from Galerie Martel.

"[Learning to draw] should take no more than twenty minutes. But your responsibility is to put your deepest soul on paper, to communicate directly from your nakedness. Anything less is unforgivable. You mustn't do lots of roughs or listen to the client. I draw when I have to draw, when the idea is poisoning my brain so much that I must vomit it out."
- Topor, quoted in All the Art that's Fit to Print

I recently watched a couple of Topor-related films. I was, perhaps inevitably, a little disappointed by Roman Polanski's adaptation of Topor's novel The Tenant. The film is let down by some weak performances, not least from Polanski himself who plays the main character, Trelkovsky. It also lacks the ambiguity of the source material by implying that Trelkovsky's visions are just that - visions, rather than something far weirder.

There's no lack of films about the Marquis de Sade ( Marat/Sade, Quills, Švankmajer's Lunacy), but Marquis is surely the strangest of them all. Some sequences were produced by claymation, but mostly it's performed by actors in animal masks, with the dialogue dubbed afterwards. On the eve of the French revolution, Sade is imprisoned in the Bastille, where he spends most of his time conversing with his penis, which has a face and is called Colin. The words 'not for everyone' spring to mind. Marquis was directed by someone called Henri Xhonneux, who seems to have done little else of note, and Topor is credited as co-writer and art director.

Topor also played Renfield in Werner Herzog's excellent 1979 version of Nosferatu.

This site has several more of his drawings. Previous posts on Topor here and here.


  1. did you ever check out the links I sent you for Oz magazine?

  2. Yeah, not had a proper look yet but will do, cheers.