A captain travels upstream of a river, venturing into a dark jungle. While sailing deeper into the forest, he encounters strange however dangerous beings and creatures, ancient traces and myths. Inspired by Joseph Conrad’s book “Heart of darkness”, “La traversée” is a surrealistic and dark journey between worlds, on the edge of dream and reality.
How influential has the surrealist movement been for you?
It certainly has a huge influence on my work. I am no specialist of this artistic mouvement though. I love some surrealistic concepts and methods like the predominance of dreams and the subconscious world. The free association of motifs and ideas often creates unexpected artistic artefacts, full of poetic randomness. By assuming a direct link between the dreamer and the poet, surrealism try to express what lies hidden in our subconscious, beyond the wall of sleep. It frees the creative process by giving a great status to improvisation. I really like when the result precedes the explanation, because you don’t need to have a preliminary reason to create something. In this book, “La Traversée”, most of the drawings are made without knowing what the next step would be. I let the scenario builds itself, drawing after drawing.
The entire book is based on the notion of moving through time and words, how could this be reflected through the interaction between pages (cut-outs etc)?
La Traversée (“The passing”) is based on a journey. In order to immerge the reader in this particular experience, I wanted the book to have a cinematographical dimension. It is built like a linear film sequence, as if the camera was slowly moving deeper into the jungle, through the captain’s eyes. The book is textless and the drawings are printed full page because I wanted it to be immersive for the reader. The story remains abstract and open, so that the reader can use his imagination to makes his own scenario and theories.
To what extent do you trust in the idea The Medium is the Message? Where the book as a tool is in itself the mechanism which allows for us to perceive both reality and the imaginary?
A book is like a door to another world. In this case it is not only the story of a captain’s travel into the abyss, but also a journey through the drawing’s material itself : the black ink. Because it is inspired by Joseph Conrad’s book “Heart of darkness”, I decided to work on this idea of a travel into the depths of absolute “darkness”, which dictated the use of black ink on white paper. The result is close to the etching technique “Eau-forte”. The graphic experiments I did with the ink dictated most of the content of this book. I wanted this project to have some kind of a black and white narrative rythmic.
What dictated your choice of colour palette?
The use of black and white appeared as an obvious choice in order to work on this “darkness” experience and abyssal atmosphere. By adding and crossing more and more lines I could always go deeper into the black depths. I also let paper white surfaces create strange and unexpected lights. During this project creation I was influenced and guided by a quote from Stanley Kubrick : “However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light”.
A selection of some pages : http://kevinlucbert.tumblr.com/post/144496741540/
“La Traversée” is printed by belgian editor “La 5ème Couche”. 29,7 x 22cm, 140 pages.
This book can be purchased online here : https://www.amazon.fr/travers%C3%A9e-Kevin-Lucbert/dp/239008026X?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0