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


 

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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Institute Benjamenta soundtrack booklet (1998).

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Institute Benjamenta soundtrack booklet (1998).

I’ve had the MoMA catalogue since it was published, and more than once had searched half-heartedly for Holzmüller’s book without success. A more recent search turned up the goods, however (sometimes it helps to keep following leads from one page to another): a copy of Liber Perutilis may be found online at the Universitätsbibliothek Basel.

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Liber Perutilis is only a short book compared to some in the field, but it’s also much more varied and original than others I’ve seen. Among the alphabets which the Quays digitised there are sets showing the letters doubled and tripled in the manner of monograms. The Quays have often signed themselves using a double Q so this may explain the attraction. The undoubled alphabet is especially striking for Holzmüller’s distortions of the letterforms which make them seem like characters viewed under rippled glass. At a time when most books about lettering and calligraphy were showing alphabets produced by careful and elegant hands this is a feature which to our eyes seems surprisingly advanced. The Quays have copied the alphabets fairly closely, making minor changes such as rounding off an E and adding the J and U which are always missing in Latin alphabets of the period. Elsewhere in the book there are many examples of calligraphic flourishes and some unusual pieces of decorative knotwork. As for Holzmüller’s posthumous interview, copies of the MoMA catalogue are still available, while the interview itself will be reprinted in the booklet for the BFI’s forthcoming Blu-ray collection, Inner Sanctums—Quay Brothers: The Collected Animated Films 1979–2013.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Unmistaken Hands: Ex Voto F.H., a film by the Brothers Quay
Animation Magazine: The Brothers Quay
The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer, a film by the Brothers Quay
More Brothers Quay scarcities
Eurydice…She, So Beloved, a film by the Brothers Quay
Inventorium of Traces, a film by the Brothers Quay
Maska: Stanislaw Lem and the Brothers Quay
Stille Nacht V: Dog Door
Quay Brothers: On Deciphering the Pharmacist’s Prescription for Lip-Reading Puppets
Brothers Quay scarcities
Crossed destinies revisited
Crossed destinies: when the Quays met Calvino
The Brothers Quay on DVD

 


Weekend links 324

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Untitled painting by Aleksandra Waliszewska. The artist is profiled by S. Elizabeth at Dirge Magazine.

• “…from my point of view, the only thing to do with any genre, any medium, is pretty much to break it, to transcend it, to find out what its limits are, and then go beyond them, and see what happens.” Alan Moore (again) talking to Heidi MacDonald about his novel, Jerusalem, which is out next month.

• A Monument to Outlast Humanity: Dana Goodyear gets the reclusive Michael Heizer to talk about his decade-spanning sculptural project, City, work on which is almost finished.

William Burroughs’ appearances in adult men’s magazines: a catalogue which includes some downloads of uncollected Burroughs essays and other writings.

• Mixes of the week: Homegirls & Handgrenades Mix by Moor Mother, Secret Thirteen Mix 194 by Kareem, and hieroglyphics #014 by Temples.

Remoteness of Light is a new album by The Stargazer’s Assistant inspired by the depths of the oceans and the vastness of space.

• RIP Gilli Smyth. “The silliness ran deep in Gong, but they could groove like mothers, too,” says Joe Muggs.

Guide to Computing: historic computers presented by James Ball as though they were new machines.

• “Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis is one of the greatest love letters ever written,” says Colm Tóibín.

• “Will You Dance With Me?” Derek Jarman films dancers in a gay club in 1984.

• Snapshots from an editor: Donald Weise on working with Edmund White.

Stupid by Wrangler (Stephen Mallinder, Phil Winter and Benge).

The Rutt-Etra-Izer

Dynamite/I Am Your Animal (1971) by Gong | Witch’s Song/I Am Your Pussy (1973) by Gong | Prostitute Poem (1973) by Gong

 


Roger Dean postage stamps

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Roger Dean book covers last week; this week it’s postage stamps. These are exclusive to the Isle of Man Post Office, unfortunately, so there’s little chance of buying them over the counter in mainland Britain. First day covers, presentation packs and individual sheets may be ordered from the post office website, however. For those who can visit the Isle of Man there’s also an exhibition of Dean’s art running at the Manx Museum in Douglas until November.

Several of the paintings on the stamps are from the covers for albums by Yes and Asia, including the one above which was used twice on the live Yessongs album in 1973. (The large version inside the gatefold had a figure of a girl and a fish spacecraft added.) The version appearing on the stamp is Dean’s recent reworking of the piece. This removed the airbrushed clouds—added to disguise the footprints of his cats which had walked over the painting when it was drying—and also smoothed the gradients and added a reflection. I’ve been familiar with the album version of this picture for decades so I prefer the rougher original as it is on the cover (and in Dean’s Views book) without the girl and spacecraft.

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One other thing of note is Dean’s lettering design for the stamps. When I wrote about Dean’s art a few years ago I drew attention to the way his design work has been either marginalised or ignored altogether by people who dismiss him as a mere fantasy artist. All of Dean’s album covers have included unique letterforms that are immediately recognisable as his own (so too the logos and lettering he was designing for computer games in the 1980s) but I’ve yet to see this side of his work given any serious attention. (Postage stamp tip via It’s Nice That.)

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Previously on { feuilleton }
Roger Dean book covers
Design as virus 17: Boris and Roger Dean
Roger Dean: artist and designer

 


Weekend links 323

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Mescaline Woods (1969) by Gage Taylor.

• The soundtrack to The Man Who Fell to Earth will be released for the first time next month in a double-disc set (CD & vinyl). This isn’t, as some people have hoped, David Bowie’s unheard music for the film, but a collection of the pre-existing songs and other pieces, plus the original compositions by John Phillips. Consequence of Sound has a track list.

• At Scream Addicts: Joe R. Lansdale talks about the only film adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House that you need to see: the 1963 version directed by Robert Wise.

• The new wave of new age: How music’s most maligned genre finally became cool by Adam Bychawski.

• Transmissions From The Abyss: Dark ambient music for the perfect headspace by S. Elizabeth.

Jason Farrago reviews Art Aids America, an exhibition at the Bronx Museum, New York.

Curse Go Back: a limited reissue of tape experiments by William Burroughs.

Samuel Wigley on Notorious at 70: toasting Hitchcock’s dark masterpiece.

Toyah Willcox remembers working with Derek Jarman on The Tempest.

• “Why are musicians so obsessed with David Lynch?” asks Selim Bulut.

• Read the original 32-page programme for Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.

David Parkinson chooses 10 essential films starring Oliver Reed.

• Mixes of the week: The Sounds of the Dawn NTS radio shows.

Keith Haring envisions Manhattan as a kingdom of penises.

Frank Guan on Massive Attack’s Blue Lines, 25 years on.

Honky Tonk Pts 1 & 2 (1956) by Bill Doggett | I’ve Told Every Little Star (1961) by Linda Scott | I’m Deranged (1995) by David Bowie

 


Roger Dean book covers

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The View Over Atlantis (1972).

The covers in question are the handful that Roger Dean produced for paperbacks in the 1970s and 80s, rather than those for his own books and the ones he edited. Given the popularity of Dean’s work in the 1970s you’d expect there to be more than this although I’m not sure he would have had the time for any more work than he was doing already.

The two covers for Pan Science Fiction vexed me for a while since the art is reproduced in Dean’s Views collection but with no mention of the book titles. It’s taken some time, but ISFDB has updated its Roger Dean page so I can finally sate my curiosity. The Michell cover is an ideal illustration for the author’s theorising about ley lines but the Pan SF paintings are vague enough to be used on other books, or even on album covers.

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The Puppet Masters (1973).

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Gold the Man (1973).

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The War of the Worlds (1986).

I’ve not read the Colin Greenland books so I can’t say whether their cover art relates to the novels but the Wells cover certainly does. A rare example of Dean depicting a scene from somebody else’s imagination.

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The Hour of the Thin Ox (1987).

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Other Voices (1988).

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The book covers archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Design as virus 17: Boris and Roger Dean
Roger Dean: artist and designer

 


 


 

Coulthart Books

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    Reverbstorm

 


 

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