Beksinski at Mnémos

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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

A Mountain Walked

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Art by David Ho.

This may be a frustrating post for some since it concerns a limited edition anthology that sold out almost as soon as it was announced a year or so ago. Even though the book was published last year it’s taken a few months for my copies to arrive. A Mountain Walked is a collection of Cthulhu Mythos stories compiled by leading Lovecraft scholar ST Joshi, and published in the US by Centipede Press. Anyone familiar with Centipede’s more luxurious volumes will know that they don’t do things by halves, and this weighty tome is no exception: a large-format hardback (the signed edition is also cased), with heavy paper stock, colour printing, tinted sheets and a bulk that runs to almost 700 pages.

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Art by David Ho.

Many of the stories are reprints but there’s also new material from contributors including Thomas Ligotti, Neil Gaiman, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Laird Barron, the late Michael Shea (to whom the book is dedicated), Patrick McGrath, TED Klein, Gemma Files, Ramsey Campbell and many others. The artwork also ranges widely; I’d not seen anything by David Ho before but he’s very good, hence the samples shown here. But there’s also a variety of other work, even a Lovecraftian Peanuts comic strip by Julien Baznet. I was pleased that my Cthulhoid picture was placed with the introduction, it makes up for my never having responded to Mr Joshi when he wrote to me years ago asking if I’d be interested in contributing something to Necronomicon Press.

Since the book was so successful there’s been talk of doing a cheaper reprint. In the meantime, bloated Lovecraftian plutocrats (Yuggothcrats?) will find very expensive copies for sale on eBay. A few more page samples follow.

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Continue reading “A Mountain Walked”

The weekend artists

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Flower Me Gently (2010) by Linn Olofsdotter.

Yes, this is one of those lazy end-of-year retrospectives, a look back at all the artists whose work was highlighted in the weekend posts for 2011. Thanks to BibliOdyssey, Form is Void and 50 Watts for so often pointing the way.

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Blasphemous Rumours (2009/2010) by Ryan Martin. The artist now has a dedicated site for his paintings.

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DG-2499 (1975) by the fantastic (in every sense of the word) Zdzislaw Beksinski (1929–2005). See the Dmochowski Gallery for a comprehensive collection of the artist’s work.

Continue reading “The weekend artists”

Weekend links 47

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DG-2499 (1975) by the fantastic (in every sense of the word) Zdzislaw Beksinski (1929–2005). See the Dmochowski Gallery for a comprehensive collection of the artist’s work. Thanks to BibliOdyssey for the tip.

• More ICA events: From Animism to Zos: Strange Attractor Salon will be “a series of weekly events, consisting of a talk and a film, exploring some lesser-known intersections of culture, history, mind and nature” running from 10 March–12 May, 2011.

• And on May 10, the London Word Festival presents a Dodgem Logic evening with entertainment provided by contributors to that magazine:

Alan Moore’s reinvigoration of the underground fanzine, Dodgem Logic, comes alive in the non-conformist surroundings of Hackney’s Round Chapel. A night of art, comedy, comment and put-something-back localism. (…) With Robin Ince heading up a colossal stand-up bill, artists Steve Aylett, Savage Pencil, Melinda Gebbie and Kevin O’Neill panel-up to talk about their comic work, while music comes from hyperactive racketeers The Retro Spankees. With an exhibition of artwork from the magazine, and conducted by editor-in-chief Alan Moore.

• Taschen publishes a collection of Dennis Hopper’s photographs this week. The Independent has a small selection here. Also new from Tachen, Alex Steinweiss, The Inventor of the Modern Album Cover.

Bass Notes: The Film Posters of Saul Bass at the Kemistry Gallery, London.

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DG-2507 by Zdzislaw Beksinski.

While riding through the bustling streets of London from 1603 to 1621, one was liable to hear the shout “Long live Queen James!” King James I of England and VI of Scotland was so open about his homosexual love affairs that an epigram had been circulated which roused much mirth and nodding of the heads: Rex fuit Elizabeth: nunc est regina Jacobus—”Elizabeth was King: now James is Queen.”

There’s more about the private life of the man who gave his name to the King James Bible here.

Addams and Evil, a Tumblr devoted to the great Charles Addams.

Hannes Bok again at Golden Age Comic Book Stories.

Caravaggio’s crimes exposed in Rome’s police files.

Deserted City, photographs by Kim Høltermand.

• The blue sand dunes of the planet Mars.

• A map of the ghost signs of Chicago.

The movie title stills collection.

The pitfalls of e-book buying.

Life On Mars? (1971) by David Bowie | Uncle Sam’s On Mars (1979) by Hawkwind | Eyes On Mars (1980) by Chrome | Cache Coeur Naif (1997) by Mouse on Mars.