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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


 

Salomé and Wilde Salomé

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Three years on and Al Pacino’s recent pet projects—Salomé and Wilde Salomé—have yet to be given a general release. Salomé is the one I’m most eager to see, a filmed performance of the Oscar Wilde play with Jessica Chastain in the title role. There is at least a trailer now, which gives an intriguing taste of the production. Like Steven Berkoff, Pacino has opted for modern dress while making some of the details—the moon, Jokanaan’s well—more material. If Wilde’s Symbolist melodrama seems rather effete for a man known for playing gangsters it should be noted that the play features a suicide and two executions, as well as a strong theme of paternal incest and even necrophilia. Herod, of course, is notorious for being a child-murdering king.

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Pacino and Jessica Chastain are in London on Sunday at BFI Southbank talking with Stephen Fry about Salomé and the feature-length production documentary, Wilde Salomé. Both films will also receive screenings. Here’s hoping the rest of us won’t have much longer to wait before we can see them.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The Oscar Wilde archive
The Salomé archive

 


The Scottish Fairy Book

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A post with some connection to the main news of the week, namely the vote for Scottish independence. At the time of writing the outcome is still in a quantum superposition between Yes and No. I’ve lived in England all my life but I’m half-Scottish (and a quarter Welsh) so the question has a personal relevance beyond being a citizen of the United Kingdom. For the record I would have voted Yes if I’d had the opportunity.

The Scottish Fairy Book (1910) is a popular retelling by Elizabeth Grierson of fairy stories and folk tales. The illustrations are by Morris Meredith Williams (1881–1973), an artist who was born in Wales but lived in Edinburgh for several years. This is only a small selection of Williams’ illustrations for the book which also include many half-pages, vignettes and two self-contained pictorial sequences: Times to Sneeze, and a dialect version of Monday’s Child. Browse the rest of the book here or download it here.

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Jacques Houplain’s Maldoror

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This is more like it. In 2008 when I posted one of Jacques Houplain’s etchings for a 1947 edition of Les Chants de Maldoror there were none of the other pictures in the series to be found. Now there’s a website devoted to Houplain’s work which features a page of his Maldoror illustrations. There’s a crude vigour to these pieces that gets much closer to Lautréamont’s fervour and viciousness than do the illustrations by Houplain’s famous contemporaries. Houplain is also one of the few illustrators to pay some attention to Lautréamont’s frequent digressions into the animal kingdom. The artist’s other work is worth a look; Legendes is a series of prints of medieval demons.

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Hans Bellmer’s Maldoror

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Les Fleurs du Mal.

That favourite novel of the Surrealists receives the attention of yet another Surrealist artist. Dalí and Magritte both made their own attempts to illustrate Lautréamont’s Les Chants de Maldoror, a book that many people would consider beyond the reach of easy pictorial representation. I tend to think that the novel’s delirious, dream-like prose offers endless interpretations; this earlier post managed to haul one paragraph in the direction of the Cthulhu Mythos.

Hans Bellmer’s series of 33 intaglio prints were produced from 1967 to 1971, and use the book as a mirror for the artist’s erotic obsessions. Not an unwarranted point of view but Bellmer makes the novel seem much more overtly erotic than it is. The images here aren’t the best quality. Better copies and a complete set of the prints may be viewed at a larger size here.

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Ecstasy.

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The art of Fabrizio Clerici, 1913–1993

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Un istante dopo (1978).

An Italian painter of the fantastic who’s managed to stay off my radar for one reason or another despite doing many of the things I like to see: weightless structures, imaginary architecture, and (towards the end of his career) a series of variations on Arnold Böcklin’s endlessly adaptable The Isle of the Dead. The latter paintings are some of the best Böcklin variants I’ve seen. These alone would have made him worthy of attention but the rest of his oeuvre is an equally accomplished development of late Surrealism (or, if you need another category, Fantastic Realism). The official website is a very good one so there’s plenty more to see. (Thanks to Michelangelo for the tip!)

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La tromba d’aria (1965).

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Latitudine Böcklin (1974).

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The fantastic art archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
A Picture to Dream Over: The Isle of the Dead
The Isle of the Dead in detail
Arnold Böcklin and The Isle of the Dead

 


 


 

Books

    The Haunter of the Dark
    Reverbstorm

 


 

Previously on { feuilleton }

    svankmajer.jpg   harlequin.jpg

 


 

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School Daze by Patrick Cowley

 

Somnium by Steve Moore

 

Strange Attractor Journal Four

 

Clive Hicks-Jenkins

 

A Humument by Tom Phillips

 

Schalcken the Painter

 

Berberian Sound Studio

 

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The Stone Tape by Nigel Kneale

 

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David Lynch Collection

 

Children of the Stones--The Complete Series

 

BBC Ghost Stories for Christmas (Box Set)

 

The Erotic Films of Peter de Rome

 

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The Crackdown by Cabaret Voltaire