La quête d'amour de la sorcière Vaoua
Year:
1999
Author:
Robert Pinget
1919 to 1997
Artist:
Valérie Batel
1973
Publisher:
Sergent-Fulbert

Robert Pinget's piquant story La quête d'amour de la sorcière Vaoua is an unusual edition, both in its contents and in its design. The text was set in the uncommon typefaces Choc and Mistral, and was printed in multiple colours. The story's subject is sorceress and sea goddess Vaoua and her quest for the pleasures of love. The accompanying graffiti-like illustrations were printed on transparent paper, creating a sensuous effect of depth.

Title page
Title page

Title page

Text page [15] with illustration by Valérie Batel
Text page [15] with illustration by Valérie Batel

Text page [15] with illustration by Valérie Batel

Text page [23] with illustration by Valérie Batel
Text page [23] with illustration by Valérie Batel

Text page [23] with illustration by Valérie Batel

Colophon, signed by Valérie Batel
Colophon, signed by Valérie Batel

Colophon, signed by Valérie Batel

Valérie Batel

While painter and engraver Valérie Batel contributed to this edition, she was a student at the Academy of the Arts in Toulouse. She was doing performances in telephone booths, focusing strongly on the theme of eroticism. She subsequently took part in international exhibitions and worked in a prison library for four years, where she organised cultural activities.
The topicality of her illustrations and her idea about books is not only expressed in her use of 'tags', 'graffiti', and the pochoir technique. In her illustrations, she also plays with the transparency of several layers of translucent sheets. Using nail polish, which dries quickly but is also refined enough for precision work, she also manages to give her work a feminine touch.

Sergent-Fulbert

The paper was apparently chosen by typographer, printer and publisher Jean-Jacques Sergent, who has been producing artists' books for nearly forty years under the names J.J. Sergent, Fulbert…etc. and Sergeant-Fulbert. According to his own words, he loves to make texts speak for sensual pleasure. François de Boisseuil says about J.J. Sergent that 'he loves the colour of words, of curses, of witticisms, correct, unusual and lost words'. Above all he is a printer who stages words typographically, rearranges the 'scènes', and then presses down on the paper with his hands and his arms while standing.

Onion skin, Choc, Mistral

This colourful text was printed on 30-gram onion skin, a kind of paper that is similar to rice paper but that brings to mind the way that onions sting the eyes. Its half-transparency however also suggests the turbid seawater in which protagonist Vaoua hunts her 'prey'. The typefaces Choc and Mistral date back to 1955 and 1953, and were designed by Roger Excoffon for the Fonderie Olive.

Bibliographical description

Description: La quête d'amour de la sorcière Vaoua / [texte de] Robert Pinget ; [tags-monotype de] Valérie Batel – [Cléry-Saint-André] : Sergent-Fulbert, 1999 – [45] p. : ill. ; 33 cm
Printer: Sergent-Fulbert (Cléry-Saint-André)
Edition: 50 copies
This copy: Number 19 of 50 on onion skin
Typeface: Choc and Mistral (from the collection of Jerôme Lindon)
Note: Signed by the artist
Shelf-mark: Koopm K 381

References

  • Jean-Claude Liéber, Le chantier Robert Pinget: Colloque de Tours: Textes inédits, documents, manuscrits, bibliographie: Œuvres, théâtre, critique. Paris, Place, 2000
  • De la typographie ou l'art d'aimer les mots. Blois, Bibliothèque Abbé Grégoire, 2005