This is an open novel, for you to project your mind into. Every page is a stimulating field for your imagination. The images are raw scans of original pages made by me, using cheap acrylic paint on sheets of ordinary office paper. The pages were made over a period of 4 or 5 years. It took a few weeks to select which hundred to assemble into this book, and a few more weeks to decide on which order to put the pages. One page has a black line on the right hand side, which I left there.
Most of the marks were made using a technique known as decalcomania. You spread ink or paint on a surface, then print off that surface, which results in chaotic, organic, blotty shapes. The Surrealist artist Oscar Domínguez invented this technique in 1936. Max Ernst made several paintings which used decalcomania along with other techniques. One example is Landscape with Lake and Chimeras (ca. 1940). To the best of my knowledge, nobody has attempted a whole novel in this style before.
Two surreal collage novels by Max Ernst, Une semaine de bonté (“A Week of Plenty”) (1934) and La femme 100 têtes (“The 100 Headed Woman/The Headless Woman”) (1929) inspired me. By means of strange collaged pictures, he gives hints, which the reader must somehow make into a story. They give a sense of atmosphere, and leave you wondering, rather than telling a typical story.
There are other published works, both in the realm of literature, and coming from graphic novels or comics, which are related to mine. The Giant’s Fence, by Michael Jacobson (Barbarian Interior, 2006) is a novella full of symbols invented by the author. The symbols are very precisely drawn or written. His book could be held to be the yang to my yin creation. as it were, by Rosaire Appel (Press Rappel, 2010) is full of abstract graphic short stories.
Nautilus by Andrei Molotiu (Fahrenheit, 2009), is a series of abstract comics sequences. He works with similar shapes to me. Most of his images are arranged in comics frames, and appear to be manipulated by computer. His earlier mini comics BLOTS (self-published, 2003) is also full of inkblot shapes, one per page, sometimes superimposed on other images such as drawings by old masters such as Degas. The science fiction novel Golem100, by Alfred Bester (Sidgwick & Jackson, 1980) has some graphic sequences among conventional chapters. Chapter 17 includes some folded inkblot shapes (technically known as kleksographics), although there are words accompanying them, which is different to my intention. Some of Maurice Roche’s novels include odds and ends of graphics. A designer named Françoise Rojare made a graphic translation of parts of Maurice’s novel Compact (Éditions du Seuil, 1966), titled Mnémopolis, which was published in the review Change #5 (1970). You can see her full translation at http://avance.randomflux.info/Mnemopolis.pdf .
The novels The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick, (English translation of Die Angst des Tormanns beim Elfmeter) by Peter Handke (English edition: Methuen, 1977) and The Battle of Pharsalus (English translation of La Bataille de Pharsale), by Claude Simon (English edition: Jonathan Cape, 1971) both have a page or two which incorporates pictogrammes among paragraphs of words. Donald Barthelme’s short stories The Flight of Pigeons from the Palace and At the Tolstoy Museum use pictures as a basis for spinning silly stories. The Explanation includes some large black squares. All of these are included in Barthelme’s 40 Stories (Penguin, 1987).
The French avant-garde group known as the Lettristes (in English, “Lettrists” or “Letterists”) invented the hypergraphic novel: a novel which uses letters, symbols and images. Isidore Isou, Gabriel Pomerand, Maurice Lemaître, Roland Sabatier and Anne-Catherine Caron all wrote hypergraphic novels, often using pictures as rebuses, to spell out French words. Alain Satié’s Ecrit en prose (PSI, 1971) is the most open-ended, and closest in idea to my own.
100 Scenes (New Edition)
Publication date: 06/04/2019
An Abstract Graphic Novel
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