samedi 12 avril 2008

Greenland 4

Greenland 4
This is the turning point in the story. Our woman-character is entering her vision of the dialogue with her companion. Blue makes the first connection. Whatever is seen as blue, whether it's already blue or not, will become a potential symbol of affection : the sky, the water in the bath, the telephone, the river, and finally the dress. Objects are blue not because it is their local color, but because they mean love, closeness, contact. At this moment the metaphors and comparisons are still very expected, but as it goes they will become more and more subjective and hard to follow. The reader is supposed to jump from one pannel to the next one because he/she is supposed to recognise there a common element, and that read is the second degree of the narrative. The story has proved too be illegible for some readers, and very effective for some others. If you are the kind that finds it difficult, just remember this: follow the color, and see what happens to it.

It is also important to consider Greenland was done in 1988 with very small experimental means, and of course no computer.
It was made with xeroxes on cels, the colors were painted directly behind the cels, to keep flat colors equal all the way through, keep the monotony and the possibility to identify without doubt the same color and be able to read the associations.
As the color has a very flat and non-mimetic aspect, the drawings were largely simplified to get an impersonal look, and this bad-print look that I aimed for.
The "impersonal" look was a way for me to stay away from neurotic expression of the line itself.
I was not interested in any psychology for the characters and not interested either to convey my personal feelings through my line work. If a certain expressiveness can be found here, it is through the intention and the device. Now, I also know the the lack of dialogue can be perceived as a very personal device.

I was largely reproched at the time, because of this impersonal linework, to use photographs, and a few publishers even told me I should learn how to draw. The truth is that I was not using photographs but just destroying my own line through the process of multiple xeroxes. I hated my line. Another personal information. 
This digital version is even worse (and therefore better) in terms of coldness and impersonnality. The line work is more compact and closer to what I was looking for. The scans are taken not from the originals but from the italian publication (and slightly restored).

The more it is reprinted, the more the graphic informations are lost, the better it gets.

mercredi 2 avril 2008

Greenland 3

Greenland 3
Here, we see what happens after the two lovers have entered the game; nobody speaks.
It is only by the relationship between the colors that the two subjective worlds communicate or not. The reader is invited to follow acurately what happens to the color, which has been simplified to flat and bold areas for this purpose. The color is the place where the unheard dialog should occur.
Dialog doesn't necessarily mean harmony or communication. Greenland is a narrative of mis-communication.
There is no psychology in Greenland. This is not yhe story of MR and MRs so and so. The characters can be just called masculine and feminine. They have no personal biography ; they are just the same stereotypes that you find in commercials or in Roy Lichtenstein's paintings, with even less expression, more absorption.
Sometimes, though, there will be a correspondance between the masculine and the feminine. Here, for instance, the smoke of the teacup is like the sky above the cabin and that creates a metaphor. On other occasions, the figure which will relate the two worlds will be a metonymy. And when there is no connection, we will have a contrast, or what we can call an arbitrary juxtaposition of elements. It is the same thing that we may find in a Japanese Haiku: two sentences that only the readers imagination can render relevant or absurd, or more lightly, comedic.

Paris, 2008, April, 2nd

dimanche 16 mars 2008

Greenland 1 and 2

Whether it was originally commissioned by Casterman "A Suivre" it was never published in France. The first part was published in a British magazine called Expresso "Special Romance" in 1991, with the help of Frank Wynne. The ensemble was published in Italy, two years later, in a magazine called "Corto Maltese". Ironically, the three parts were published in the last three issues of this magazine. Fulvia Serra gave a great help and at least the publication was very well taken care of.
Greenland has never been Published as a book.

The story
The story itself is about two lovers who decide to stay on the telephone without speaking to each other. Nowadays, it is very commonplace to have a msn window opened on a computer screen and not to talk, but at the time I don't think anyone would have used the telephone to remain silent.
Invisible communication is the general theme. This miscommunication is made visible through the color.
I will comment on each new page, in order to help the reader get at least the first degree of the story.
The absence of dialogue and its replacement by color was deliberately meant to create
"opera aperta", the way Umberto Eco implied it. So it has many significations.