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

Archive for October, 2014

 

A mix for Halloween: Unheimlich Manoeuvres

Unheimlich Manoeuvres by Feuilleton on Mixcloud Presenting the ninth Halloween playlist, and another mix of my own. The one last year was pretty abrasive so this year I’ve put together something that’s more concerned with atmospherics and dynamics than jangling the nerves. There’s some continuity in the presence of Roly Porter who brought things to […]

Posted in {electronica}, {film}, {horror}, {music} | 1 comment »

 


Fuseli’s Nightmare

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The Nightmare (1781). Christopher Frayling’s Nightmare: The Birth of Horror (1996) opens with a prologue examining Henry Fuseli’s most celebrated painting: Henry Fuseli, who later wrote that “one of the most unexplored regions of art are dreams”, and who was said to have supped on raw pork chops specifically to induce his nightmare, made his […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {comics}, {film}, {horror}, {lovecraft}, {painting}, {work} | 8 comments »

 


Nightmare: The Birth of Horror

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Nightmare: The Birth of Horror (1996): Dracula (and Louis Jourdan again). Christopher Frayling, like Marina Warner, is that rare thing: a British academic with an enthusiasm for popular culture, and a talent for communicating that enthusiasm to a general audience. Both writers also have more than a passing interest in the darker areas of fiction, […]

Posted in {books}, {horror}, {television} | 1 comment »

 


Albin Grau’s Nosferatu

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For many directors a film like Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror (1922) would have been a career peak, but Friedrich Murnau went on to make The Last Laugh (1924), Faust (1926) and Sunrise (1927). All those films improve cinematically on Nosferatu but the vampire film continues to cast the longest shadow: quoted, remade, and with even […]

Posted in {art}, {film}, {horror}, {occult} | 5 comments »

 


Count Dracula

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Vampires: if they’ve never been very scarce they didn’t used to be quite so commonplace. The fortunes of Dracula, on the other hand, seem to have diminished in recent years following a centenary peak in 1997. The surprising spike of interest in the 1970s might explain the BBC’s decision to adapt Bram Stoker’s novel for […]

Posted in {books}, {film}, {horror}, {television} | 5 comments »

 


Weekend links 231

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Design by Julian House. Always good to hear of a new release on the Ghost Box label, and a new album by The Advisory Circle (due on 5th December) is especially welcome. From Out Here is described thus: “Exploring darker territory than 2012’s more pastoral As The Crow Flies, The Advisory Circle hint at a […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {burroughs}, {electronica}, {gay}, {horror}, {music}, {photography}, {science fiction}, {science}, {theatre} | Comments Off

 


Igor Mitoraj, 1944–2014

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Testa Addormentata (photo by Dave Miles). The first I saw of the work of Polish artist Igor Mitoraj was the serene bronze face, Light of the Moon, sitting outside the British Museum in the late 1990s. I’ve enjoyed seeing pictures of his other sculptures ever since so it was dismaying to read of his death […]

Posted in {art}, {sculpture} | 2 comments »

 


Knapp’s Egypt

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One last post about American illustrator J. Augustus Knapp. Egypt (1900) is a slim volume by Laura G. Collins that presents a poetic remembrance of an Egyptian visit with embellishments and drawings by Knapp. The text is hand-written in that peculiar tree-branch style you often find in 19th-century literature, while Knapp’s illustrations look to have […]

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The occult Knapp

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Yggdrasil, the World Tree of Norse mythology. Following up the work of Etidorhpa‘s illustrator, J. Augustus Knapp (1853–1938), I realised that I’d already encountered some of his later paintings. After illustrating books by John Uri Lloyd, Knapp moved to California where he met occult historian, mystic and book collector Manly Palmer Hall. Knapp exchanged Lloyd’s […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {illustrators}, {occult} | 2 comments »

 


Etidorhpa by John Uri Lloyd

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I wouldn’t usually post so many illustrations but these depictions by J. Augustus Knapp for Etidorhpa by John Uri Lloyd add a great deal to the attractions of this early work of science fiction. Lloyd’s book is subtitled The End of Earth; The Strange History of a Mysterious Being; The account of a remarkable journey […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {drugs}, {illustrators}, {science fiction} | 4 comments »

 


The recurrent pose 55

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And still they come… These latest examples of the Flandrin pose are in the Flandrinesque category since they don’t quite match the figure in Flandrin’s painting. The one above is Spanish model Emilio Flores, photographed by Matteo Felici, one of a series featured at Homotography. The one below is another of those mystery pictures whose […]

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Heaven and Hell calendar

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Painting from the poster art for The Highbury Working (2000) by Alan Moore & Tim Perkins. Unlike last year, this year’s CafePress calendar arrives on time, its creation being eased by the fact that it’s a reworking on an earlier version. The idea with the previous Heaven & Hell calendar had been to alternate various […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {design}, {gay}, {music}, {occult}, {religion}, {work} | 3 comments »

 


Weekend links 230

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Cover art by Arik Roper. Peter Bebergal’s Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll was published this week. Articles about rock music’s occult preoccupations have been a recurrent feature of music magazines, especially around Halloween, but Bebergal’s book is the first attempt at a wide-ranging, full-length study. Despite the subtitle, the […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {cities}, {design}, {electronica}, {film}, {gay}, {horror}, {music}, {occult}, {psychedelia}, {religion} | 1 comment »

 


Newlyborn, a film by Dave Colohan

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Dave Colohan was in touch recently to tell me he enjoyed the posts here (thanks, Dave) and also to point the way to Newlyborn, a short film he’s made. This is a moody piece that suits the season, black-and-white shots of South Longford, Ireland, accompanying Niamh Beirne’s narration. The music is minimal but Dave Colohan […]

Posted in {film}, {music} | 2 comments »

 


The Devil’s Cabaret

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Halloween approaches so here’s a frivolous piece of Hollywood Diablerie. The Devil’s Cabaret (1930) was one of several short films made to showcase dance sequences shot for The March of Time, an MGM musical abandoned by the studio halfway through production. The footage from the earlier film is a short ballet sequence featuring a company […]

Posted in {dance}, {film}, {religion} | 9 comments »

 


Wildeana 13

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Oscar Wilde, no. 26 (1882). One of a series of photo portraits taken by Napoleon Sarony when Wilde was in New York. Every day is an anniversary for something. Among other things, October 16th 2014 is the 160th anniversary of the day that Oscar Wilde was brought to Earth in a spaceship—see Velvet Goldmine for […]

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Ivan Bilibin’s Russian Wonder Tales

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Halloween approaches so a picture of Wassilissa the Beautiful carrying a skull on a stick suits the season, as do the psilocybin-like mushrooms in the border. This edition of Russian Wonder Tales (1917) was a retelling of Russian folk tales by Post Wheeler for a British readership. Ivan Bilibin’s illustrations date from some twenty years […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {illustrators} | 4 comments »

 


Here and There, a film by Andrzej Pawlowski

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I only realised earlier today that the post about The Saragossa Manuscript provides continuity with last week’s examples of Polish cinema; unintentional but it shows where my head is at just now. Here’s another example, and another abstract filmmaker I hadn’t come across before. Andrzej Pawlowski (1925–1986) was also a painter, and his films take […]

Posted in {abstract cinema}, {film}, {music} | Comments Off

 


Saragossa Manuscript posters

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Polish poster (1965) by Jerzy Skarzynski who was also the film’s production designer. I love The Saragossa Manuscript, both the novel by Potocki and the movie by Has. I saw the film three times which, in my case, is absolutely exceptional. Luis Buñuel in My Last Sigh (1983) No surprise that a lifelong Surrealist was […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {design}, {film}, {surrealism}, {theatre} | 4 comments »

 


Weekend links 229

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Untitled (2007) by Remko van Drongelen. • Another week, another Kickstarter project: Frank Woodward’s 2008 documentary, Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown, was an excellent study of HP Lovecraft’s life and work featuring interviews with John Carpenter, Neil Gaiman, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Peter Straub, Guillermo Del Toro and leading Lovecraft scholar ST Joshi; the film also […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {cities}, {design}, {drugs}, {electronica}, {film}, {gay}, {horror}, {lovecraft}, {magazines}, {music}, {painting}, {science fiction} | Comments Off

 


Stairs, a film by Stefan Schabenbeck

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YouTube in recent years has become an increasingly worthwhile repository for short animations or experimental films, many of which you might otherwise never get to see. Stairs (1969) is another great piece of Polish animation, a brief scenario concerning a Plasticine figure who wanders into a terrain of random steps which soon turns mountainous. The […]

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The art of Adolf Hirémy-Hirschl, 1860–1933

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Ahasuerus at the End of the World (1888). Regular readers will know that I have a fondness for the academic or historical painters of the 19th century if their work is sufficiently grotesque, macabre or fantastical. These paintings by Adolf Hirémy-Hirschl push a number of the relevant buttons, especially Ahasuerus at the End of the […]

Posted in {art}, {painting}, {religion} | 3 comments »

 


More vapour trails

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Those covers everyone likes. My designs for KW Jeter’s steampunk novels from Angry Robot and Tor Books. When I wrote a brief history of steampunk for Eye magazine last year I ended by somewhat provocatively declaring that until something better appeared this was the defining aesthetic of the moment. A year later, the movement (if […]

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Crime and Punishment, a film by Piotr Dumala

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More from the Polish animator, and a stunning, wordless adaptation of Dostoevsky’s novel. Crime and Punishment dates from 2000, and utilises the same technique as Dumala’s earlier films—images scratched into a plaster ground—only this time there’s a muted colour palette and considerable depth achieved through cast shadows and blurred objects layered over the drawings. Yuri […]

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Walls, a film by Piotr Dumala

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Polish animator Piotr Dumala was among the filmmakers contributing to Academy Leader Variations, the short anthology that was the subject of a recent post. He also received a mention in the Screening Kafka post for his memorable animated portrait of Franz Kafka. Walls (1988) is another short film made just after Academy Leader Variations, and […]

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The art of Toshiaki Kato

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Toshiaki Kato isn’t the first contemporary Japanese artist to work variations on Aubrey Beardley’s style but he’s one I’d not come across before. Kato’s cover illustrations run a gamut of familiar styles, not only Beardsley but Harry Clarke, Gustav Klimt, Tamara Lempicka, Maxfield Parrish and no doubt a few more I haven’t recognised. Beardsley’s influence […]

Posted in {art}, {black and white}, {illustrators} | 2 comments »

 


Weekend links 228

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White, Red and Black (1949) by Marlow Moss. • British television’s greatest director, Alan Clarke, rates on the cult scale here for his work on Penda’s Fen but his career was long, uncompromising and still hasn’t received the full appraisal it deserves. His more violent dramas—Scum, Made in Britain, The Firm, etc—have all appeared on […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {design}, {electronica}, {film}, {gay}, {music}, {painting}, {politics}, {science fiction}, {surrealism}, {television} | Comments Off

 


October

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October (1877) by James Tissot. The autumnal month in paintings, and a post that brings this series full circle since the first one was for October last year. I try to be accurate when dating things but some of the dates of these pictures are either vague or missing altogther. The search at the BBC’s […]

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Chocolate devils

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If the Devil has all the best tunes he may as well have the chocolate to go with them. I was hoping there might be more examples of this brand but it seems not. Details about the designs are also scant but Fausta was a product of the Maison Prouvost Motte chocolaterie in Tourcoing, France. […]

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A tabled question

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Work-related research this week had me wondering who it was that first thought of turning Battersea Power Station into a table. For the past few days I’ve been looking at a lot of the illustration work that George Hardie produced for the Hipgnosis album covers in the 70s and 80s; I’ll explain why in due […]

Posted in {art}, {collage}, {design}, {music}, {sculpture} | 7 comments »

 


George Barbier’s Mirages

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Mirages (1919) is a book of poems by Renée de Brimont with illustrations by George Barbier, an artist whose work has featured here on several occasions. This is a minor addition to the Barbier oeuvre with fewer illustrations than I would have hoped for, a handful of designs that show a different style to his […]

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“feed your head”