Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Karel Teissig

This recent article by Rick Poynor prompted me to order a book that I'd had my eye on for a while, Marta Sylvestrová's Czech Film Posters of the 20th Century. It arrived in the post today, and I think it's the largest book I now own - if there are no further posts on Cardboard Cutout Sundown, it may be that my girlfriend has used it to try and knock some sense into me.

Some of my favourites in the book are by Karel Teissig (1925-2000), and you can see many more of his designs at Terry Posters, who specialise in Czech film posters. There are also several examples of his book covers and illustrations (below).


Also at Terry Posters: Bohumil Štěpán, who's one of my favourite finds at A Journey Round My Skull.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Max Walter Svanberg

Flicking through Gérard Durozoi's enormous History of the Surrealist Movement, the art of Max Walter Svanberg (1912-1994) caught my eye. Having co-founded the (Surrealist-influenced) Swedish Minotaurgruppen and Imaginistgruppen in 1943 and 1946 respectively, Svanberg was "discovered" by André Breton in 1957. He provided illustrations for the third issue of the Surrealist publication Médium, as well as an edition of Rimbaud's Illuminations, an example of which can be seen above, fourth from the bottom. More info here and here.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Demdike Stare

I rather like these LP covers for Manchester duo Demdike Stare, a "collaborative project [that] tracks the sonic leylines of cult soundtracks, Arabesque dubs and psychotomimetic ephemera with a proper Lancastrian twist". They're by Andy Votel, who runs the Finders Keepers and Twisted Nerve labels and, I believe, used to teach at Stockport College. From Boomkat's description of Tryptych, their latest release:

The music Demdike Stare make is hard to pin down, based largely around archival musical sources ranging from obscure library records to long forgotten jazz, early electronic, and industrial recordings, alongside an array of Iranian, Pakistani, Turkish and Eastern European material largely unknown in the Western world. Demdike Stare absorb and re-align these found sounds via their ever-expanding array of analogue machinery, ending up with something that is in part Plunderphonic, but ultimately completely new.

Check out the video for "Hashshashin Chant" at The Wire.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Borough Satyr

Essential purchase: Borough Satyr: The Life and Art of Austin Osman Spare, available from Fulgur, who don't seem to want you to copy and paste their images... so here's one of his automatic drawings from this post at Monster Brains instead.

See more at The Cabinet of the Solar Plexus, a blog you really should be following.

There's no shortage of unjustly neglected artists, but even so I find it astonishing that Spare is so little-known outside of occultist circles (I have to admit I was entirely ignorant of his work until fairly recently). It isn't all that difficult to fit him into the conventional art historical narrative, either as a proto-Surrealist or a post-Beardsley decadent type. And his relatively conventional portraits, several of which can be seen in Borough Satyr, are spectacularly accomplished.

From BBC2's otherwise largely excruciating The Culture Show, here's Alan Moore on Austin Osman Spare. It looks like Phil Baker's biography of Spare should be out soon.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Black Swan posters

These will probably be everywhere soon if they aren't already, but I couldn't resist posting them anyway. They're by La Boca, a London-based collective, and there are two more here. There might just be some hope for the film poster after all...

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Dan Fern

These are from Dan Fern's Works with Paper. Born in 1945, Fern studied and later taught at the Royal College of Art, becoming head of the department of Communication Design in 1994 (see this interview from 2001), a position from which he retired last year. He recently instigated a collaboration between the RCA and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, "MAP/making", in which students from the two colleges work together on commissions for six months. You can see his "Walks With Colour" series - inspired by the Vercors national park in south-east France, where he has a studio - here.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Wallace Smith

I first came across Wallace Smith's illustrations for Ben Hecht's 1922 novel Fantazius Mallare in this post at {feuilleton} from 2007. These are some of the most extraordinary post-Beardsley/Harry Clarke type drawings I've seen, but frustratingly there was very little else to be found by or about Smith. Thankfully the whole book is now available at, and Golden Age Comic Book Stories posted many of the images. There's also an article here with a few other pieces by Smith, including the one for Hecht's The Florentine Dagger at the top of this post. According to the article, "the illustrations he provided for his own books and for the newspaper columns and stories he wrote were competent but very conventional", but even so it would be nice to see more of his work.

Thanks to everyone who's been spreading the word about Cardboard Cutout Sundown. Happy new year!