Sunday, March 20, 2011

Pleasures of the Macabre

Thomas Ott is a Swiss artist and graphic novelist whose work consists largely of wordless images rendered with scratchboard and whose tastes run decidedly towards the gruesome. These images are from a work, "Recuerdos de México," that so far I've only seen on the web, although it has appeared in some collections in Argentina (in the wonderfully named comics magazine Suda Mery K.!) and in Europe. It is scheduled to appear in the US in Ott's collection R.I.P: Best of 1985-2004, which will be released in April 2011 by Fantagraphics Books.

The country that produced José Guadalupe Posada would seem like a natural source of inspiration for Ott, and these pictures bring to mind Octavio Paz's oft-cited and splendidly garish words from The Labyrinth of Solitude:
The word death is not pronounced in New York, Paris or in London, because it burns the lips. The Mexican, in contrast, is familiar with death, jokes about it, caresses it, sleeps with it, celebrates it; it is one of his favorite toys and his most steadfast love.

All of the above images are from El blog de la muerte, which has quite a few others as well.

Below are the covers from two of Ott's other books, both of which were also published here by Fantagraphics (although the Cinema Panopticum cover shown is from the French edition). Given a choice, I would start with Cinema Panopticum, which is a collection of several tales linked by a frame-tale, but both are worth exploring. There is more at Ott's website.

No comments: