Wide Awake- Twenty Years of Drawings Across The Indian Subcontinent
|Publisher:||Dev Publishers and Distributors|
|Pages:||206 (B/W illustrations)|
|Other Details||8.50 X 5.50 inch|
What words struggle to describe, Martin Vernier’s drawings, scented and sonorous, whisper to us in impromptu confidences as they pass by. The detail of the lines, the balance of the proportions, the rendering of the movements, the description that informs or explains, all this is melded together. Erudite and thoughtful, Martin disappears in his drawings and leaves the field open to you. He is the key master and the gatekeeper. Don’t hesitate to peek through the hole in the locks; you will be sucked into the gallery of treasures.
Born in 1970, Martin Vernier is an independent archaeologist and researcher. He first went to Ladakh, India, in 1986. After 30 years of experience he has an extensive knowledge of the culture and history of that area and has learnt the local dialect, customs and traditions through yearly visits and long stays. Since 1996, Martin Vernier’s work has focused on the historical and archaeological heritage of Ladakh.
The first time Martin Vernier brought me a travel diary-fifteen days in Cambodia in the autumn of 2018- he offered me much more than an aesthetic escape "as if had been there". He is not a silent person, but neither is he very talkative. Mountains and mountain people have a kind of shy reserve that is not easy to crack without taking a long approach. like a painstaking negotiation.
The title page already drew me into an irresistible adventure. Here again, nothing outrageous; it aroused my curiosity like a mysterious keyhole might conjure images of hidden treasure in a child's imagination. As if the light were on the other side of the door, we realise that we are, in fact, in the dark.
On the front cover, the "cave" of a tree leaning against a wall is intoxicating in its symbolism. The foliage melts into the sky, the roots tell us how anchored in the earth we are, and remind us of the infinite layers of time. The tree reminds me of an elevator, a magical gateway to luminous possibilities.
And then, from the very first pages of the diary, what words struggle to describe, the drawings, scented and sonorous, whisper to us in impromptu confidences as they pass by. Or rather, they carry us away on insights into life. The detail of the lines, the balance of the proportions, the rendering of the movements, the description that informs or explains, all this is melded together. And I am the only one left in these landscapes, with these people who no longer seem like strangers. I am therefore in sync with a world that welcomes me into its modest nakedness. This "frequency" evokes my adolescence discovering the world of Hugo Pratt -I began with "The Ethiopian" - and his bold messenger, Corto Maltese.
In the same way that I am more of a music lover than a musician, I cannot speak of Martin Vernier's art in its technical dimension. When I immerse myself in his world, I feel as if I am invited to some distant but inhabited planet. The spirit that these pictures contain distracts me from any attempt at criticism-can one be a critic of life? - and from any aesthetic evaluation. The drawings are complex; the landscapes and characters are self-explanatory but not abandoned to themselves. They speak to us with a semiotics that instructs and orients us as to why one character is not identical to another, why a landscape is not reproducible elsewhere, why a sign is not interchangeable. The notes and comments participate fully in the graphic composition of the drawings; they lose their explanatory value in an illegibility that liberates meaning and sense.
Martin Vernier is erudite and thoughtful. That's why he disappears in his drawings and leaves the field open to you. He is the key master and the gatekeeper. Don't hesitate to peek through the hole in the locks, you will be sucked into the gallery of treasures.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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