I’ve always had a liking of graphic novels, comic art and comic books…but not just any type, it has to be a specific style, visualised in a specific way, with a specific narrative…dark psychological to physical undertones with brutal yet slight fantasy realism, linked to the personal, to the everyday, the real-life. I can actually hear you say that’s a lot of very specific things (overuse of the word specific here) and can this actually exist? Well I think it does…especially in the two works I’m going to mention below.
At Christmas, I got the very beautiful graphic novel ‘Aterios Polyp’ by David Mazzucchelli (thanks Roberto!)…and I’m a little bit addicted to it. The book design is something else, along with the use of limited palette colours to represent different sections and emotions within the books pages. Something special. It is a story of one man’s search for love, meaning, sanity, and “perfect architectural proportions” where design theory meets human perception.
“Meet Asterios Polyp: middle-aged, meagerly successful architect and teacher, aesthete and womanizer, whose life is wholly upended when his New York City apartment goes up in flames. In a tenacious daze, he leaves the city and relocates to a small town in the American heartland. But what is this “escape” really about? As the story unfolds, moving between the present and the past, we begin to understand this confounding yet fascinating character, and how he’s gotten to where he is. And isn’t.”
This week, I met a curator from Hong Kong who introduced me to the work of the Hong Kong illustrator and graphic/comic artist Li Chi-tak, specifically one body of work called ‘Welcome Home, Son’ (2012), as shown below. It was commissioned and included as inserts between each chapter within the exhibition catalogue for the ‘Mobile M+: Yau Ma Tei’ show last year. You can download a PDF of the comic strip here and read it in full. It is only short but again very, very beautiful. A true mix of delicate imagination, fiction, reality…a transcultural dreamland versus nightmare…a negotiation of the changing urban realm in Eastern and Western terms…and the harsh physical and psychological examinations that goes with it. I’m considering using the artist to create a dialogue within the zine/publication I’ll be producing for my PhD project, ‘THE TEMPORARY (临时): 01’, the “live” case study as part of my thesis. We will see…it might be a nicer way to represent the process rather than the use of words, hence why I’m using a lot of sound, sound works and sonic art too. I need to tell you more about that proposal.
I wish my life was a graphic novel or comic book sometimes…who would draw it? How would it look? How would it read? And more to the point, what’s going to happen next? I can’t wait to “read” on…