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2020-11-17 15:40:14
Europa Redux: 6892 Color Illustrations, Captioned in an Imaginary Language
Switzerland, 1946. Extraordinary outsider manuscript, produced in Switzerland during the Second World War, comprising almost seven thousand individual color illustrations by an unknown artist. Most of the carefully composed images are detailed glimpses of prewar European life, ranging across genres: landscapes, portraits, still lifes, domestic scenes, pictograms and icons. Themes return, but no recurring characters; despite the manuscript's resemblance to a storyboard or comic strip, the images are connected only by a kind of dream logic, and do not appear to follow a linear narrative. The artist works in a number of modes, some abstract, some stylized, some meticulously realistic, but all executed with great skill and force. As a work of art, the manuscript calls to mind the haunted quality of writers like Stefan Zweig, Robert Walser, and W.G. Sebald. Strikingly, many of the images are captioned with words that do not reliably correspond to any Western language, or to engineered auxslangs like Esperanto or Volapük. Some words show the influence of Schwyzerdütsch, the spoken Swiss-German dialect, but for every caption that recalls a known language, there is another that remains entirely opaque. If not a language, the captions may represent ciphers or anagrams; the phonetic aspect of some words suggests that the speaker may be a child, repeating received sounds rather than spellings. In March of 2020, German cryptographer Klaus Schmeh added the manuscript, under the provisional title Europa Redux, to his public checklist of encrypted books; the code (if it is a code) of the … [Click Below for Full Description]
Bookseller: Honey & Wax Booksellers [United States]
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