French artist Kevin Lucbert‘s recently published art book ‘La Traversée’ (The Journey) is a hauntingly beautiful and darkly magical journey that blurs the border between dream and reality. Released by La Cinquième Couche, a Brussels-based publisher of alternative comics, ‘La Traversée’ depicts the solitary adventure of a riverboat captain travelling upstream to venture into the dark and mysterious jungles of the unknown. During his journey through the dense and wild undergrowth, the captain encounters various different manifestations of darkness that he must find the strength to overcome. Lusciously dark and mysterious, the book was inspired by Joseph Conrad’s 1899 novel ‘Heart of Darkness’, which tells the tale of an Englishman’s voyage through the Congo River and into the Congo Free State.
Highly adept at communicating complex narratives through a purely visual language, Lucbert presents his tale in a sleek storyboard format that allows the narrative to flow from one beautifully crafted scene to the next. The exquisite hatching, shading and curved lines of the images are painstakingly rendered in black Biro pen, a medium favoured by Lucbert owing to his childhood habit of daydreaming and drawing during school lessons. These intricate textures and fine details are accentuated by a dramatic use of negative space. The surrealist undertones of the story are further enhanced by the exclusion of text from the book. Lucbert thereby allows the reader to develop their own reading of the captain’s journey into darkness.
‘La Traversée’ is Lucbert’s sixth book.
For more information on how to purchase ‘La Traversée’, please click here.
Caitlin Eyre is an Australian freelance arts writer living and working in Berlin.