“Portrait of a Drinker”
#BD One of the most confusing and aesthetic books you will come across this year, this Portrait of a Drinker is a three-author work that mixes universes & styles to look like no other. Used to experimental collaborations, Florent Ruppert & Jérôme Mulot innovate by letting themselves be carried away by Olivier Schrauwen’s furious drawing in a story of piracy far from the standards of the great adventure or the romantic figure of the pirate. Violence is the driving force behind the story, no quest or high aspiration for Guy, alternately carpenter, pirate, thief and anti-hero. Finding a bottle, even if it means stealing it or stabbing a man to get it, is his greatest ambition. The whole album plays on the unease and malice of a selfish, lying and a little crazy character who doesn’t care about anything. A coward, proud of himself & without remorse, who takes us into deep waters where there is not much epic or memorable happening…
Songs, surrealistic images, this 200-page book is a whirlwind of colors and graphic prowess. Alternating between the full pages and the waffle iron where the colours reflect the emotions of a hero who says nothing, who is always seen at an angle. A system that allows us to highlight the unspoken & the absence of inner psychology of the main character who keeps us at a distance. The cutting and staging give a particular rhythm to the album, underlined by the pages outside the frame which comment, confront & compare the action as if it were a play. Skeletons, spirits trapped in limbo, clinging to each other and trying to get back into the huts. Secondary characters asking more questions than the heroes in the story.
Schrauwen’s line is more detailed than in his previous books (if you are interested in this favourite or if you have loved Portrait d’un buveur, read also the very good Arsène Schrauwen at L’association), the draftsman is inspired by classical paintings, classical portraits that he deforms, reworks and adapts to his account.
An album that is unlike any other in its design and its very particular and successful sense of direction, but also for its story without a story or rather its refusal to give substance to the story by staying in the margins. An album that requires immediate proofreading after reading to capture its full depth after the first passage where you are pleasantly confused. I hope you like adventure, it’s not easy to tackle, but it’s worth a look.
Portrait of a Drinker by Florent Ruppert, Jérôme Mulot & Olivier Schrauwen,Dupuis
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