I Am the First Consciousness of Chaos
The Black Album
Distributed for Solar Books
French artist Odilon Redon (1840–1916) was a key precursor of Surrealist thought. A contemporary of the Impressionists, Redon instead chose to align himself with literary Symbolism, as evidenced by his friendship with poet Stéphane Mallarmé and his visual interpretations of the decadent texts of such writers as Baudelaire, Flaubert, Poe, and others. I Am the First Consciousness of Chaos collects Redon’s key “noirs,” as he called his works in black—lithographs, etchings and charcoals—that evidence the artistic lineage from Symbolism to Surrealism.
Never previously available in a single volume, the majority of Redon’s noirs—over 250 illustrations—are finally collected here, along with illuminating excerpts from the texts which inspired their creation, including work by J. K. Huysmans, Flaubert, Baudelaire, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, and St John the Divine, as well as an autobiographical introductory essay by Redon himself. Within the pages of this dark and bizarre collection are grotesque and oneiric images: giant and sundered eyes, fantastic cannibal shadows, skeletal harbingers of dread, and the nebulous phantasms that erupt from the night.
I Am the First Consciousness of Chaos is an extraordinary gathering of art sprung from the unique mind of Redon and motivated by some of the nineteenth century’s most influential literature.
Confessions of an Artist by Odilon Redon
Art Work, 1866–1899 (ordered chronologically with accompanying text)