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I Am the First Consciousness of Chaos: The Black Album

by Odilon Redon Solar Book
Pub Date:
Pbk 208 pages
AU$62.00 NZ$63.48
Product Status: Available in Approx 14 days
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French artist Odilon Redon (1840–1916) was a key precursor of Surrealist thought. A contemporary of the Impressionists, Redon instead chose to align himself with literary Symbolism, as evidenced by his friendship with poet Stéphane Mallarmé and his visual interpretations of the decadent texts of such writers as Baudelaire, Flaubert, Poe, and others. I Am the First Consciousness of Chaos collects Redon’s key “noirs,” as he called his works in black—lithographs, etchings and charcoals—that evidence the artistic lineage from Symbolism to Surrealism.

Never previously available in a single volume, the majority of Redon’s noirs—over 250 illustrations—are finally collected here, along with illuminating excerpts from the texts which inspired their creation, including work by J. K. Huysmans, Flaubert, Baudelaire, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, and St John the Divine, as well as an autobiographical introductory essay by Redon himself. Within the pages of this dark and bizarre collection are grotesque and oneiric images: giant and sundered eyes, fantastic cannibal shadows, skeletal harbingers of dread, and the nebulous phantasms that erupt from the night.
Bertrand-Jean Redon, better known as Odilon Redon, was a native of Bordeaux, France. His works can be found in the collections of such museums as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Tate Modern.

Candice Black is an author, translator and editor specializing in Surrealist studies. She graduated from Warwick University in England and currently lives in Tokyo.