31 Aug 2018

Tape 0: Ode to Inwardness

Inspired by Maximilian Le Cain's latest film, the six-hour-long avant-garde tour de force Scorpion's Stone, my newest collage, Tape 0: Ode to Inwardness, serves as an announcement for the article on the abovementioned film which I will be writing for EFS Publications.

(click to enlarge)

29 Aug 2018

Snow White and the Falling Angels Septet

Obviously inspired by the widely known fairy tale, my largest artwork to date (originally, 90x90cm) acts as an album cover for a fictional avant-prog-rock-neo-classic-blackjazz band with a female vocalist. So, I guess I owe you a tracklist for their debut, something along these lines:

1. Mirror, Mirror / Through the Wall 05:44
2. The Beast-Shaped Nightmare 06:16
3. Scream (Bloody Larvae) 07:51
4. An Apple for Your Thoughts 08:05
5. Dreaming of the Fallen Ones 09:13
6. The Glass Coffin 10:48

(click to enlarge)

28 Aug 2018

Beauty Approves of the Beast

With 16 Mythological Reveries finished, Sepulchral Solace: Persephone and Hades being the latest (but probably not the last), I decided to take a slightly different direction, and stir some unrest in the fairy tale territory. The first collage in this series, Beauty Approves of the Beast, as well as another 10 of my artworks are available for purchase, as art / canvas / wood / metal prints, coffee mugs, throw pillows, iPhone cases etc, in my Society 6 store.

(click to enlarge)

26 Aug 2018

Simargl's Loyalty

After peeking into the Aztec pantheon with Chimalma Reborn in the Industrial Age (click the link to see the image in my Ko-Fi gallery), once again I turn to Slavic mythology with the artwork representing the god of fire and the hearth, Simargl.

(click to enralge)

25 Aug 2018

La Telenovela Errante / The Wandering Soap Opera (Raúl Ruiz & Valeria Sarmiento, 2017)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ out of 10☼


In the initial vignette of the master Ruiz's posthumously released film, a middle-aged man flirts with his brother's wife, comparing the touching of her body to travelling across Chile, moments before handing over his own muscles (!) to her. "I thought they were like nerves." - she remarks gleefully, squeezing the pieces of raw meat between her fingers. Until that scene, the fourth wall is already broken (The people are watching us), the co-relation between divorce and leftist politics discussed, with reality dissolved and re-assembled as a wry parody of a soap opera, all in a matter of minutes!

Although it addresses post-Pinochet Chile to which Raúl Ruiz returned after years in exile (not to mention it was shot almost three decades ago), The Wandering Soap Opera feels pretty modern, relevant and universal, its timelessness stemming from the singular way it captures the bitterly ludicrous absurdity of any given country in transition, at any given point in history. One delirious dream after another, we are treated to refined, Bunuelean surrealism, humor so dry and irrational it makes Monty Python appear sensible, and the linguistically befuddling barrages of dialogue that shake you back and forth, then suddenly turn right to leave you left in a dimly lit corner of the disorienting world that out-Lynches Lynch in his Twin Peaks element or rather, out-Maddins Maddin's 'story within story ad infinitum' game of The Forbidden Room.


Telenovela tropes, from over-the-top performances to loosely defined rules regarding life and death, are borrowed solely to be wittily and mercilessly subverted into a puzzling and somewhat mildly frustrating narrative of Borgesian paradoxes lifted to another level. The TV-inside-TV existence of the characters lost in-between their own and others' soaps (with actors playing actors playing their roles or something along these lines) becomes increasingly phantasmagoric, not ceasing even when the director is 'resurrected' for the behind-the-scenes epilogue to announce: "Okay, the film's finished." 

Adding to the deconstructive 'fantasy' are both the deliberately slushy, yet unobtrusive score and grainy 16mm visuals that brilliantly mimic the cheapness of endless TV dramas and, simultaneously, come laced with unmistakably Ruizian flourishes of playful shadows, deceptive mirrors and peculiar camera angles. The weird cinema enthusiasts will also find much to appreciate in little, not-to-be-spoiled details which trigger an avalanche or two of delightful WTFery.

24 Aug 2018

Banshee Sings of Her Own Suicide

Following the piece titled Echo Drains Ancient Magic from Hypnotized Narcissus Through Mirror Illusion (click to see in in my Ko-fi gallery) which is a sort of a remake of a shot from my 8 pages long comic Circles and Their Lost Children (Part I / Part II) is the artwork that refers to the keening spirit from the Irish mythology.

(click to enlarge)

23 Aug 2018

The Grain of Ultimate Silence

My second collage artbook, The Grain of Ultimate Silence, is now complete and available for purchase! Mostly drawing inspiration from dreams, mythology and avant-garde films, one of them being Rouzbeh Rashidi's masterpiece Phantom Islands, it stars Daniel Fawcett and Clara Pais as mysterious entities D and C on an esoteric adventure into the Unknown.
 
Buy your copy by following this link or clicking on the widget at the bottom of the page.
 
(page 2)

22 Aug 2018

Opera Jawa (Garin Nugroho, 2006)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼(☼) out of 10☼

Unless you are well-versed in Indonesian culture and/or the Javanese version of Ramayana which the film is loosely based on, there is a great chance you will be disoriented if not completely lost in Opera Jawa, but on the other hand, you will find a lot to enjoy in the exotic, weirdish blend of doomed romance, folkloristic musical and socio-political drama (sprinkled with unexpected humor), such as the beautifully composed visuals of predominantly warm colors, surrealistic sets involving hand-painted mannequins and meters of red silk, as well as the hypnotic dance numbers laced with arcane symbolism.

20 Aug 2018

The Grain of Ultimate Silence (P16 + P17)

“Do you remember that time when we turned Zeus into a deer?”
“Oh, yes, and the lingering tear in his left eye!”

(page 16)

(page 17)

19 Aug 2018

YOU'RE ON THE BALCONY TALKING ABOUT YOUR DREAMS (Sebastián Jiménez Galindo, 2018)

☼☼☼☼☼☼(☼) out of 10☼
 

Dreams of idle talk. Dreams of witch stories. Dreams of information overload. Dreams of traditional festivities. Dreams of driving in the rain. Dreams of fooling around with your closest friends. Dreams of a lovely, raven-haired maiden dressed in blue... Dreams of a huge ambition.

In his feature-length debut composed of works made between 2015 and 2018, Mexican-born literary student Sebastián Jiménez Galindo takes an essayistic approach to amalgamate collage and literature-based films with experimental documentaries and impromptu self portraits, trying to dissolve reality without losing touch with it.

There are many moments of sheer poetical beauty sprinkled throughout this 'anthology' whose greatest strength is also, paradoxically, its most glaring weakness. The over-reliance on (spoken) words, especially when they don't seem to carry much meaning, simultaneously serves and cripples the (daring) author in conveying the ideas of 'the impossibility of being invisible, of our intimacy as fiction and the newly-discovered truth that the Earth is flat once again', as the official synopsis notes.

On the other hand, Galindo makes the most of the lo-fi visuals, utilizing color filters, archive footage, glitch effects, dreamy superimpositions, topsy-turvy images, as well as various formats and aspect-ratios to put the viewer in a sort of a trance or rather, disoriented state further enhanced by occasional linguistic barriers (untranslated bits), cultural specificities, and the deliberate incongruity between the wild imagery and oft-deadpan voice-overs.

Intriguingly titled, his film carries some of the DNA of Rouzbeh Rashidi's early shorts, Splendor Solis by Daniel Fawcett and Clara Pais, Still the Earth Moves by Pablo Chavarría Gutiérrez, and the Dailies from the Dumpland series by Michael Woods, yet it comes off as less refined in comparison to the said contemporaries. However, one must not dismiss the passion of the young helmer who might surprise us in the years to come.

17 Aug 2018

The Grain of Ultimate Silence (WIP)

Recently, I put Mythological Reveries on hold and started working on a series of (equally dada-esque) collages with the two main characters portrayed by the filmmakers Daniel Fawcett and Clara Pais who also provided me with the photographs of themselves. Hereafter, I reveal the synopsis and the cover of a planned 'picture book'.

While searching for the mythical artifact known only as The Grain of Ultimate Silence, a couple of über-celestial entities, C and D, find themselves lost in a labyrinthine realm on the verge of hypnagogic collapse. Their short, transformative adventure plays out as a self-referential, weirdly irrational, slightly tongue-in-cheek phantasy, with each ‘étape’ posing as a poster for a fictive experimental film.

(click to enlarge)

In my gallery on Ko-fi, you can find page 4. While you're there, please consider to buy me a coffee, especially if you enjoy my film reviews and/or artworks. Thank you! :)

14 Aug 2018

Paskutinė atostogų diena / The Girl and the Echo (Arūnas Žebriūnas, 1964)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ out of 10☼
 
 
A great companion piece to František Vláčil's debut feature Holubice (White Dove, 1960), Paskutinė atostogų diena (lit. Last Day of Summer Vacation) enchants the viewer with its highly poetical simplicity. Set in an unspecified coastal area of the Lithuanian south, this mesmerizingly beautiful (family) drama evokes the sense of a 'paradise' we lose after transitioning to adulthood.
 
 
Draped in bittersweet nostalgia, and colored with childlike innocence 'guarded' by a seagull and a dolphin, the film revolves around a young girl, Vika (the endearing first-timer Lina Braknyté), and her short-lived friendship with a new kid in town, Romas (Valerijus Zubarevas), before his betrayal and her departure back home. 
 
 
She is in perfect tune with nature, whereas he rejects the harmony over a group of local rascals, because, well, boys will be boys. Once they go separate ways, there's no turning back, and Žebriūnas awakens his inner feminist to console the little heroine, without ever resorting to sentimentality. 'Arming' her with a little horn, he turns her into a siren of sorts - a herald of liberty and immaculate dreams. All the while, the sea rustles quietly and the rocks that oft-appear as petrified mystics answer in secret codes, but only to those who know how to catch the echo. The sun-bathed black and white cinematography (many kudos to Jonas Gricius) most lovingly captures both the craggy colossi and the children's playfulness, turning the mundane into a miraculous reverie.
 
No, they don't make them like this anymore...

10 Aug 2018

Eros Grieves / Thanatos Experiences Sex Change

“So, how come I am the only one insane here?”
“Your truth is higher than mine, I guess.”
“It is the lie you are talking about.”
“Whatever. The heavens can’t tell the difference. You can’t do anything about it, unless...”
“Erode... Yes! I must erode to overcome this unexistence.”

(click to enlarge)

Jorogumo Invites Anansi to a Cup of Tea

In the ninth mythological reverie, spidery characters from the Japanese and West African myths and folktales meet under the drab skies of a disenchanted post-apocalyptic world.

(click to enlarge)

8 Aug 2018

Mythological Reveries (August 6/7/8 '18)

One collage a day keeps despair at bay. The latest three artworks of mine focus on female figures from Slavic and Japanese myths, in a kind of an 'apples and oranges' situation... 
 
Vila Yearning for a Hero


Morana Invokes Czernobog in an Awkward Moment
During the Summer Solstice


Amaterasu Delights in a Landscape Film

(click to enlarge)

Touha zvaná Anada / Adrift (Ján Kadár & Elmar Klos, 1971)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼(☼) out of 10☼


Based on the 1928 novel Something Is Drifting on the Water (Valamit visz a víz) by the Hungarian writer Lajos Zilahy, this little-known gem is considered one of the last films of the Czech New Wave movement. A great result of a troubled production which involved the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, Touha zvaná Anada (lit. Desire Called Anada) is a noir-esque, thought-provoking psychological drama/mystery imbued with potentially supernatural elements.

Its challenging, retrospectively told story focuses on the tumultuous inner workings of a glum fisherman, János (an excellent performance by Rade Marković), whose quiet, wearisome life is turned upside down after he and his kind wife, Zuzka (Milena Dravić, radiant and brilliant), save an enigmatic young woman, Anada (the ethereal presence of Paula Pritchett), from drowning and welcome her into their humble home. As the conflict of his conscious and subconscious mind grows and his guilt rears its ugly head(s), the tragedy seems imminent...

Providing us with subtle hints to Anada's (divine?) origin, as well as to where reality ends and János's imagination takes over, Kadár and Klos create convincing characters, deliver a nuanced, engaging, borderline surreal narrative, and aptly visualize their (anti)hero's unhinged psyche (to paraphrase Denis Grunnes). The stark contrast of the hut's dimly lit, claustrophobic interior compared to the lush, liberating, yet somewhat intimidating openness of the sweeping Danube's surroundings reflect the 'small' man's struggle between maintaining the dull status quo and taking a risk to pursue the personal happiness - in other words, leaping into the Unknown. And though the bits of humor, unsolved rebuses and Vladimír Novotný's cinematography may not suit everyone's tastes, one can not deny the intermittent moments of sheer beauty supported by Zdeněk Liška's grandiose score.


7 Aug 2018

Chappaqua (Conrad Rooks, 1966)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼(☼) out of 10☼

In his mind-altering debut feature (the first of the two films that he made), Conrad Rooks joins forces with the counterculture figures such as Allen Ginsberg (playing Messiah) and William Burroughs (personifying addiction itself) in order to introduce us to his own experiences in drug and alcohol abuse, fiercely plunging the viewers into the 'beat fantasy' of psychedelic non-sequiturs, fourth wall breaking, cleansing rituals (?), rapturous dancing (which involves a druid-like character grooving at the Stonehenge) and ethereal visions of transcendental beauty (gorgeous non-professional actress Paula Pritchett, credited as Water Woman), all to the sublimely delirious score by the Hindustani virtuoso Ravi Shankar (in the role of the Sun God).

6 Aug 2018

Mora's Nightmare

In Slavic mythology, Mora is a malicious spirit who - transformed into a fly - enters the household through the keyhole and sits on sleepers' chest, strangling them and giving them nightmares. She is repelled by garlic, elaborate prayers, broom turned upside down and sharp objects thrusted into the door.

(click to enlarge)

5 Aug 2018

4 Aug 2018

Mythological Reveries

With the trio of collages included in this post, I'm opening the door to Mythological Reveries - the planned cycle of artworks inspired by world myths and borrowing the color palette of Glum Glamour artbook which you can purchase on itch.io for 5. And if you appreciate the content of NGboo Art, please consider a small donation. I also remind you that you can commission a collage from me via my fiverr gig.

Pygmalion's Microcosm


Athena's Contemplation


Dazhbog's Harvest

(click to enlarge)

2 Aug 2018

Stereoniria: The Island of Exiles and Eidolons

It's no secret that I admire Rouzbeh Rashidi's latest opus Phantom Islands (you've read about it twice on these pages) and that the radiant phantasmagoria In Search of the Exile made me fall for the works of Daniel Fawcett and Clara Pais. That is why I'm using my latest collage to pay a loving homage to the said films and their authors, though there are certainly some other influences involved here as well.

***

When the Alchemist opened the door of their hut, the Lovers had already reached the Whispery Approximation of the Stars’ Paradox, with the entire room turned into the Seventh Key of Yonder during the process. At the very same moment, his sigh pierced through the ear of Chronos...

(click to enlarge or click HERE to download
the image in its original size, 60x30cm 300dpi)

1 Aug 2018

Belle Dormant / Sleeping Beauty (Adolfo Arrieta, 2016)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼(☼) out of 10☼


A prince smoking while still being charming and jamming his heart out on his set of drums is probably the last thing you would expect to see at the beginning of a famous fairy tale adaptation. But, that is exactly what Adolfo Arrieta - the pioneer of independent film in Spain - wants you to see, snatching your attention right from the start.

The royal beau is played by Niels Schneider whom you might remember from You and the Night (Les rencontres d'après minuit) or Polina - the dance choreographer Angelin Preljoçaj's directorial debut. With his curly hair and chiseled, 'Greek statue meets Schiele-like illustration' face, he seems like a perfect choice for the role of a prince living at the tail end of the 20th century. His name is Egon and his country Litonia is fictitious, just like the kingdom of Kentz where princess Rosemunde (an ethereal portrayal by the lovely jewel designer Tatiana Verstraeten in her first film appearance) fell asleep in 1900, on her 15th birthday... at least according to the Litonian legend.


As you've probably guessed already, Arrieta tells the familiar tale from the modern-day perspective, with the 100-year long dream closing to an end. In doing so, he manages to awake not only the passive heroine for the 'happily ever after', but also the inner child in his viewers, all the while keeping them on an ironic distance by way of a peculiar, slightly cheeky sense of humor. Over his cast comprised of non-professionals and actors whose names are often seen in auteur projects, he casts a spell of deadpan performance, 'sparing' only the German veteran Ingrid Caven whose Evil Fairy emanates the 'queen of camp' glow.

In re- / deconstruction of Perrault's story, he goes as far as turning the curse-breaking fairy, Gwendoline (the magnetic presence of Agathe Bonitzer), into an archeologist, Maggie Jenkins, who works for UNESCO and has secret agents (or rather, legend keepers) all around the world, one of them being prince Egon's tutor, Gérard Illinski (Mathieu Amalric, demonstrating some low-key greatness). Playing with the idea of old vs. new and real vs. imaginary within the context of (time's) transience, simultaneously mocking the aristocracy with fine subtlety, he avoids as much special effects as possible and relies on rather modest production values, as well as on dreamy digital cinematography by Thomas Favel (Diamond Island). There is something pure, Nouve Vague-ish and even Eugène Green-esque about his simple, yet effective magic...

Onerous Night, Astral Nought

“Let me get you that shiny triangle out of your head.” – he suggested reluctantly. However, her third angle had already been eaten by an emancipated ladybug.

(click to enlarge)

Glum Glamour PDF artbook on ITCH for only 5.00€
Commissioned collages on FIVERR for $10