Harold Pinter once said of the graphic artist Andrzej Klimowski, “He leads the field by a very long furlong, out on his own, making his own weather. He is Klimowski, unafraid”.
In this short video, filmmakers Stephen and Timothy Quay, author David Crowley and designer Jeff Willis discuss the work and influence of this most daring and brilliant of artists.
In the mid-1970s, Andrzej Klimowski’s fearlessly original artwork caught the eye of leading Polish theatre and film companies, for whom he designed some of the period’s most influential and iconic posters. The London-born artist, who moved to Poland at a time when many East Europeans dreamed of going West, went on to create posters for works by filmmakers and playwrights from Scorsese to Altman, Beckett to Brecht.
Drawing on folk art, Polish Surrealism and the work of his mentor at the Warsaw Academy, Henryk Tomaszewski, Klimowski uses techniques including photomontage and linocut to create posters that are filled with metaphor, drama and originality.
What goes into creating an 80-page comic book adaptation of The Communist Manifesto? The answer, it seems, is hours and hours of hard labour.
In this extraordinary timelapse video - ten hours of work compressed into five minutes - Martin Rowson creates one elaborate double page spread. His tools: various ink, paint and brushes, and a mouth atomiser.
The first two volumes of Best of Enemies, Jean-Pierre Filiu and David B.’s graphic history of US and Middle East Relations, took in two hundred years of conflict and diplomacy, from the Barbary Wars to the Reagan era. The third and final volume, out now, is an essential guide to the events of the late twentieth- and early twenty-first century: thirty turbulent years that shaped the political and humanitarian crises of today, from the rise of populism and the so-called Islamic State to the global refugee crisis.
Best of Enemies: Part Three begins with Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and ends with Obama’s decision, in 2013, to put military action against Syria on hold. Spanning the First Gulf War, the rise of al-Qaeda, the military response to the September 11 attacks and the ongoing conflict in Syria, the third and final volume is propelled by a clash between four US presidents and their Middle Eastern antagonists: Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and Bashar al-Assad.
Filled with David B.’s trademark playfulness and wit, Best of Enemies is both erudite and immensely readable. It lands many satisfying satirical blows while never losing sight of the complexities of this troubled relationship and the difficulties faced by those attempting to manage it.
Best of Enemies is out now and available in all good book shops.
January blues? Fear not, folks: the days are getting longer, the end of dry January is getting closer and green shoots are sprouting on the horizon. We're gearing up for a spring season that promises everything: cutting edge fiction, graphic adaptation, political non-fiction and art books of unparalleled beauty. Here's what we're publishing over the next six months.
In February, we release the third and final volume of Jean-Pierre Filiu and David B.’s much lauded history of US and Middle East relations, Best of Enemies. Filled with wit and insight, it’s a concise and engaging guide to a period that began with Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and ended with Obama’s decision, in 2013, to put military action against Syria on hold.
Reinhard Kleist's Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: An Art Bookhas so far been available only through nickcave.com. In March, it is released to bookshops country-wide. Find this full-colour, LP-sized coffee table book, filled with illustrations of the musician and his band, at a bricks-and-mortar store near you. You won't be disappointed.
March also sees the release of the Klimowski Poster Book, a handsomely produced collection of poster designs by the graphic artist Andrzej Klimowski. Working for Polish theatre and film companies, and drawing on folk art and Surrealism, Klimowski designed some of his generation's most iconic and influential poster designs. He is currently Professor Emeritus of Illustration at the Royal College of Art.
In April, a haunting, beautiful and devastating work of fiction: Out in the Open by Javi Rey. Adapted from Jesús Carrasco’s award-winning novel of the same name, Out in the Open follows a young boy who, after suffering violence and betrayal at home, flees into an uncompromising landscape ravaged by drought. An elderly goatherd is his only hope of saviour.
In May, to mark the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx's birth, we bring you Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson’s graphic adaptation of The Communist Manifesto. Rowson employs his trademark draughtsmanship and wit to this singular, energetic adaptation of Marx and Engels' revolutionary pamphlet. To this day, it remains one of the most important works of political theory ever published.
In June, lift off... Writers Matt Fitch and Chris Baker have teamed up with Marvel and DC regular Mike Collins to tell the remarkable story of the first moon landing. Apollo unpacks the urban legends, the gossip and the speculation to reveal a remarkable true story about life, death, dreams and the reality of humanity's greatest exploratory achievement.
Finally, also in June, John Harris Dunning and Michael Kennedy bring us a stylish contemporary thriller, Tumult. At a house party, Adam Whistler meets – and beds – the lovely Morgan. But when he encounters her a few days later, she has no memory of him and introduces herself as Leila. People are being murdered and Leila, who has dissociative identity disorder (or “multiple personalities”), fears that Morgan might be the killer.
So, there's a lot to look forward to, basically. Stay tuned for news of launches, festival appearances and much, much more.
Over the last few years, comics artist Frederik Peeters has proved that he can turn his remarkable talent to any subject whatsoever, from autobiography (Blue Pills), through surrealism (Sandcastle, Pachyderme), to high science fiction (Aama). Now, in a collaboration with the writer Loo Hui Phang, he reinvents another genre: the Western.
Phang is an experienced comics writer whose own wide-ranging career has seen her produce plays, films, performances and installations, and collaborate with illustrators from Blexbolex to Ludovic Debeurme.
In The Smell of Starving Boys, Phang crafts an intense and philosophical Western that explores the clash between two worlds: one defined by rationality and technology, the other by shamanism and nature.
Set in post-Civil War America, the book follows an expedition led by the geologist Stingley, who is looking to capitalise on "unclaimed" land to the west of the Mississippi. As they enter the native Comanches' last bastion of resistance, the boundaries between the "civilised" and the natural worlds begin to blur, social conventions dissolve and an ambiguous relationship burgeons between Stingley's travelling companions, the photographer Oscar Forrest and the young assistant Milton.