He believes that, as architects, we have the possibility to either impose an absolute transcendental control over our design or to accept its immanent characteristics by integrating a protocol of desappropriation within the creative process of the design itself. What Marc-Antoine Mathieu does with his frames, his pages, his lines, we can do with our walls, our floors, and our ceilings. You use its graphic and narrative elements as a creative essence of spatial, temporal, and metaphysical labyrinths that compose your books. These labyrinths are not the classical ones, drawn by a demiurge architect from above, who is laughing to see all these small bodies getting lost in the complexity of his lines. The labyrinths you create seem to me in the continuity of another form, invented by Franz Kafka, who also gets lost in the labyrinths he creates. How important is this figure of the labyrinth for you?
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A number of great contemporary artists and cartoonists that have been reshaping the comic book landscape on the other side of the ocean are slowly but steadily having their work translated and released here. Both Memory and Vaults which I reviewed last year are entertaining books, but neither of them achieve the sort of formulist-inspired frenzy that the Acquefacques series does though Vaults gets close at times.
Page four to be exact. Julius is perplexed -- how could some artist know exactly how he started his day? Anyway, as Julius attempts to unravel this mystery, more and more pages are sent to him, some from later in the book, foretelling his future Mathieu gets a nice deja vu joke in at one point. So far, so familiar. There certainly have been plenty of self-referential American comics over the last thirty odd years to satisfy those who love a good breaking of the fourth wall.
Here, Julius awakens one morning, gets dressed and turns around to find It turns out, however, that he is five minutes early and thus is sent to the wrong room, where he is forced to undergo a bizarre experiment. Eventually Julius comes upon "the vortex," and here Mathieu reaches near-divine inspiration, creating a die-cut spiral that opens up as you turn the page, whereupon you discover a two-dimensional, paper Julius interacting with a photographic, three-dimensional world.
Sounds cool, right? His books are filled with a healthy appreciation of the absurd that echoes authors like Ionesco and Kalfka take "Kalfka" backwards, spell it in French and you have Acquefacques.
Why live there? In the Acquefaques series, Mathieu engages in some delightfully bizarre world-building which he then proceeds to subvert and take apart as often as possible. Someone needs to translate these books. And fast. For more information on Mathieu, I highly recommend tracking down issue over at Arthur magazine. You can also read a rather recent profile of the artist Share.
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