Review: PEPITA: TAKEHIKO INOUE MEETS GAUDI

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I was introduced to the work of Gaudí in a very Woody Allen way. This was many years ago and I was on a date. We were very young and full of energy and dropping various names and titles to all the art we had consumed thus far in our little lives. “Oh, Gaudí!” It was the biggest name drop of them all for her since she had just returned from Spain. At the time, the best I could find was a book in the library. I put two and two togehter pretty quickly after that. And I have admired the work of Gaudí ever since.

If you go to Barcelona, you can’t help but find the enormous cathedral of Sagrada Família, the iconic Roman Catholic catheral which is regarded as one of the great wonders of the modern world even if, one hundred years since it was begun, it continues to grow. The legendary Spanish Modernist architect Antoni Gaudí continues, in spirit, to oversee construction.

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Today, the works of Gaudí hold their own very well with contemporary giants like Rem Koolhaus and Frank Gehry. Experimental and expressive architecture are more acceptable these days, even if you may still find an old guard of resistance. Artist Takehiko Inoue makes for a wonderful tour guide, with an open and animated spirit, in his recent book about his pilgrimage to the world and art of Gaudí, “Pepita: Takehiko Inoue Meets Gaudí,” published by VIZ Media and offered under the VIZ Signature imprint, priced at $24.99 U.S/ $28.99 CAN.

Takehiko Inoue is in a unique position to share his views on master architect Antoni Gaudí (1852 – 1926), the famous Spanish architect and leader of Catalan Modernism. An accomplished artist in his own right, Inoue is known for landmark manga titles, SLAM DUNK, REAL, and VAGABOND, all published by VIZ Media. Inoue approaches his subject with great enthusiasm and the insights of a fellow artist.

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What readers will find striking about this book is the various ways that Inoue comes to his subject: sketchbook drawings, notes, journal entries, more formal prose, photographs, and his own inimitable hyper-realistic artwork.

Above all, this is a refreshingly honest and open book. Inoue makes no claims to a lifelong affinity to Gaudí. In fact, he admits that the first time he saw the work of Gaudí, in 1992, it was as part of a rushed tour and he did not have a chance to develop any significant impressions. However, it was in 2011, that Inoue was determined to learn about the great master.

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What you’ll find in this book is such a variety of information from someone you quickly connect with. I’ve always been attracted to these type of books that present you with more than just the facts. You get the facts, to be sure. There is full documentation on Gaudí’s career, family, and where he lived and worked. What’s great is when you have a unique guide that will bring in a variety of unexpected facts. For instance, just consider the title of this book. Pepita? Who are what is that? Well, buried within the book is the answer. Not to spoil anything, I think it helps a lot to go ahead and know what that means. The definition of “pepita” is “fruit seed” and that is meant to describe Inoue’s journey, to find the fruit seed to Gaudí’s creativity. It is also the nickname of Gaudí’s one and only sweetheart! Now, try finding that in your typical book on Gaudí.

“Pepita: Takehiko Inoue Meets Gaudí” is a 108-page hardcover, priced at $24.99. You can find it here.

For more information on other Takehiko Inoue titles available from VIZ Media, please visit www.viz.com.

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Filed under Antoni Gaudí, Architecture, Art, Manga, Takehiko Inoue, Travel, VIZ Media

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