Jorgen Boberg’s Teresas

boberg1.jpg

The Teresa Egg.

Danish artist Jorgen Boberg (1940–2009) described these early artworks as Surrealist, but if they have to be pigeonholed then Fantastic Realism may be as good a description. Everything here is from a feature in issue 12 of Avant Garde magazine for May 1970, and at first glance I thought the paintings and etchings might be the work of Ernst Fuchs, co-founder of the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism. (Fuchs’ art did appear in issue 9 of the same magazine.) Boberg at this stage in his career shared with Fuchs a preoccupation with bodily metamorphosis, jewelled forms and religious iconography. All the pictures in this feature have “Teresa” in their titles, although whether the name refers to Teresa of Ávila or to a private fixation of the artist isn’t clear.

boberg2.jpg

Teresa’s Dream of Birth.

boberg3.jpg

The Metamorphosis of Teresa.

boberg4.jpg

Teresa’s Dream of the Temple.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Ernst Fuchs, 1930–2015

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The etching and engraving archive
The fantastic art archive

Beksinski at Mnémos

mnemos2.jpg

More book covers. Mnémos is a French publisher of horror, fantasy and science fiction some of whose recent titles have their covers filled with paintings by the great Polish artist Zdzislaw Beksinski. The pairings of book and picture aren’t always ideal but I appreciate the impulse to choose art from other sources than genre artists. Omni magazine adopted a similar approach in its early issues, matching stories and science features with paintings by artists who are often grouped together as Fantastic Realists: Mati Klarwein, Ernst Fuchs, HR Giger, Bob Venosa, De Es Schwertberger and others. Beksinski’s work was less visible in the late 1970s than that of his contemporaries but one of his (always untitled) paintings did appear in a 1993 issue of the magazine.

mnemos1.jpg

Of the Mnémos covers the one for the collection of Averoigne stories by Clark Ashton Smith is the most immediately fitting, Averoigne being an invented region of France that suits a painting of a Gothic cathedral turned fibrous and fungal. The painting for Zothique, on the other hand, could easily be used for HP Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness, while the dog-like creature on the cover of the Frank Belknap Long collection is nothing like the author’s trans-dimensional hounds. Mnémos have given Lovecraft his own Beksinski covers in a seven-volume collection of translated fiction, Lovecraft, l’intégrale prestige, but there doesn’t seem to be a page anywhere that shows the individual books.

mnemos4.jpg

What the artist would have made of all this attention may be gauged by comments like this one from The Fantastic Art of Beksinski (1998): “Meaning is meaningless to me. I do not care for symbolism, and I paint what I paint without meditating on a story.”

mnemos3.jpg

For more about the anti-symbolist, see The Cursed Paintings of Zdzislaw Beksinski by Marek Kepa. (As before, my apology to Polish readers for the unaccented names. The blog coding only works with a limited range of accents.)

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The book covers archive
The fantastic art archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Cosmic music and cosmic horror

Fantasmagie

fantasmagie01.jpg

Another post with a Belgian theme (a coincidence despite my present preoccupation with Franco-Belgian culture), and another that has to be filed under “further research required”. The splendidly titled Fantasmagie was founded by author Serge Hutin and artist Aubin Pascale, and was the newsletter/review for the Centre International pour l’étude de l’Art Fantastique et Magique. 52 issues were published from 1959 to 1979 charting the Belgian continuation of the Surrealist project.

fantasmagie02.jpg

I’d been hoping there might be a collection of all the issues online somewhere but this isn’t the case to date. However, the first 11 issues may be browsed in full at Scribd or downloaded if you use one of the PDF scrapers (search for “Scribd free”). Each issue showcases art by contemporary Surrealists or practitioners of what Ernst Fuchs called Fantastic Realism, all of which was of little interest to the art establishment of the time so from our perspective the artists are fresh discoveries. Issue 8, which is a collage special, is especially good.

fantasmagie03.jpg

fantasmagie04.jpg

Continue reading “Fantasmagie”

Trois peintres visionnaires, a film by Fabienne Strouvé

threepainters.jpg

Another gem of an arts documentary, Trois peintres visionnaires is a companion film to Mati Klarwein, peintre Américain: both films feature Klarwein and Ernst Fuchs, while this one also includes another artist, Austrian Arik Brauer (credited as Eric in the titles). As with yesterday’s film there’s a small extract from Popol Vuh’s Hosianna Mantra on the soundtrack plus one of the Cluster and Eno recordings. The three painters are shown performing an impromptu Tibetan (?) chant inside Mati Klarwein’s Aleph Sanctuary then talking together inside Fuchs’ resplendent museum where the Aleph Sanctuary was housed for several years. As before, the conversation is in French but you also get to see Fuchs at work, and there’s a roaming closeup of one of his jewelled paintings.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The fantastic art archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Mati Klarwein, peintre Américain, a film by Fabienne Strouvé
Ernst Fuchs, 1977
The art of Mati Klarwein, 1932–2002

Mati Klarwein, peintre Américain, a film by Fabienne Strouvé

mati1.jpg

And speaking of the 1970s and Ernst Fuchs and Mati Klarwein… Fabienne Strouvé’s Mati Klarwein, peintre Américain is a 25-minute portrait of Mati Klarwein and family made in 1979. Despite being filmed in New York City most of the conversation is in French—the Klarweins being fluent speakers—but if you like Klarwein’s art this is still a wonderfully insightful film. I always wonder about the size of paintings and other technical details so it’s good to see that, yes, many of Klarwein’s later works are larger than you might expect from reproductions, and it’s also instructive to see him at work with a portion of his painting covered by masking tape. Ernst Fuchs makes a couple of appearances (speaking French—”psychédélique!”), and you get a brief Mati guide to some of the paintings that comprise the incredible Aleph Sanctuary.

mati2.jpg

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The fantastic art archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Ernst Fuchs, 1977
The art of Mati Klarwein, 1932–2002