Video: "Codex Seraphinianus" by Luigi Serafini - the strangest encyclopedia in the world
2023 Author: Richard Flannagan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 05:58
A pair of lovers transforms into a crocodile. The fish-eyes of some strange creature are floating on the surface of the sea. The man rides on his own coffin. These surreal images are accompanied by handwritten text in a completely incomprehensible language, similar to ancient writing unknown to science. All of this is the extravagant universe of Codex Seraphinianus, the strangest encyclopedia in the world.
Similar to a guide to an alien civilization, the Codex Seraphinianus is 300 pages of descriptions and interpretations of the imaginary world, written entirely in a unique (and unreadable) alphabet, supplemented by thousands of drawings and graphs. First published in 1981 by Franco Maria Ricci, the book has been a coveted booty for collectors for years, but with the rise of the Internet, its popularity has exploded. Due to this, a new and improved edition was recently released, and 3000 copies were sold on pre-orders even before publication.
The author of Codex Seraphinianus, Italian Luigi Serafini, was born in Rome in 1949. Once Serafini retrained from an architect to an artist. He also worked as an industrial designer, illustrator and sculptor, collaborating with some of the most prominent figures in the cultural life of modern Europe. Roland Barthes himself happily agreed to write a prologue to the book, but after his sudden death the choice fell on the Italian writer Italo Calvino, who mentioned the Codex in his collection of essays Collezione di sabbia. Another well-known admirer was the Italian director Federico Fellini, for whom Serafini made a series of drawings based on the film "La voce della Luna", the last in his career as a director.
Serafini's workshop, located in the very heart of Rome, just a stone's throw from the Pantheon, reveals all the secrets of its fantasy world. Wandering around is like taking a tour of the lezsergin version of Stanley Kubrick's sets or among the scenery for a pyrotechnic show based on Alice in Wonderland. The imaginary space of the Codex captures the real world more efficiently than any modern 3D technology.
Perhaps the most appropriate epithet for Codex is psychedelic. A logical question arises as to what role stimulants played in the creation of the book. The artist does not hide the fact that he used mescaline (a drug that was widely used in the 20th century to “expand consciousness”), but adds that this did not affect the creative process in any way: “Under the influence of mescaline, you lose the ability to think critically. It seems to you that you are creating a masterpiece, but when you sober up, you realize that the work is worthless. Creativity is a process based on small details like puns. You have to be focused, there is no shortcut."
Serafini sees the connection between Codex Seraphinianus and modern digital culture in that it is the product of a generation that chose to create networks and subcultures instead of killing each other in war, as their fathers did: “I just rejected the reality of the absolute the destruction of World War II and burned with enthusiasm to explore the world and learn things."
The artist adds that Codex was a kind of “proto-blog”: “I tried to reach out to my peers, just like bloggers do now. In a sense, I had a presentiment of the emergence of the network, sharing my work with as many people as possible. I wanted the Codex to be printed as a book to go beyond the tight circle of art galleries."
As fantastic as Serafini's drawings are, the aesthetics of the old handwritten encyclopedias of natural history are captured with astonishing accuracy. For comparison, a collection of illustrations from the New York Research Library.
What subtext hide the strangest sculptures in the world: the two-faced statue of Mephistopheles and Margarita, the shadow of King Arthur and others
People of art will never cease to amaze and inspire us with their unique works. This is how they express their attitude to the world around them. Some exhibits have come down to us since ancient times and have not lost their originality at all, and some created by our contemporaries also captivate and delight to the core. Our publication presents some of the most amazing sculptures of our time and past centuries
This crazy world in atmospheric historical photographs of the strangest photographer of the 20th century
The Rob Muris archive is notable for the fact that the main selection criterion for getting into it was the strangeness of the pictures, and of any nature. The photographer was called to digitize the large Dutch archive Spaarnestad, located on the outskirts of Amsterdam. Muris re-filmed "digitally" analog works, of which there were millions in the archive, sometimes retouching and restoring them
Expanded Eye, a British-French artist collective, specializes in tattoos. True, their drawings are completely different from those samples of this type of creativity to which we are accustomed. We can safely say that these guys are doing the weirdest tattoos in the world
The career of a photographer Nancy Schiff (Nancy Rica Schiff) is not particularly exotic, but it was thanks to her work that she met people whose professional activities, to put it mildly, are non-trivial. Schiff's book "Odd Jobs, Portrait of Unusual Occupations" contains photographs of specialists in the most outlandish fields
Pushkin motivated Gogol to create the poem "Dead Souls". He presented his idea of the plot and persuaded him to take on a worthwhile thing. After some time, Gogol introduced the poet to his book. Pushkin was amazed. Nikolai Vasilievich undertook to describe Russian reality, modeled on the work of Dante. But only one part of "The Divine Comedy in Russian" was released. Dead Souls comes out - the hell of Russian reality. And Gogol's genius manifested itself in the ability to clothe all the worst in a shell