Such a strange, unpredictable book. A glance at the front cover and you expect a Wind-in-the-Willow-esque fairytale with gorgeous nature drawings and heart-warming stories in dreamy landscapes. But flip the cover and you will automatically doubt these expectations. Beautiful Darkness is like a strange mix of Svankmajer’s Alice and Dogville, a grim allegory about nature, continuously disappointing in its (our!) shortcomings and weaknesses, and about survival, starting anew, imagining new ways.
I wake up everyday, like most people (I imagine), with a vague sense of dread, a latent awareness of the precariousness and uncertainty of our times, as well as the inevitable damage we did to nature. Oh, the pre-apocalyptic energy in the air (Smiling Face With Open Mouth & Cold Sweat Emoji)! Reading this book, I felt a strange, unexpected resilience.
I find seeing these big themes (Individualism & Collective / Peace & Violence / Kindness & Cruelty / Generosity & Greed) being treated in such an eerie, gory, absurd way reminded me that being a human being is truly a messy thing. Pretty much like Kerascoët and Vehlmann’s work, a bittersweet, multifaceted experience, beautiful and dark at the same time.
Karascoet, Fabien Vehlmann
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