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In "Populäre Panoramen I" (Popular Panoramas I) Brigitta Falkner offers as an author the twofold pleasure of reading and looking. Each double page is, as it were, a diptych of text and picture, with each genre standing on its own while enlarging the other. The pictures shift and open up the horizon of the text and vice versa.
The events can be easily outlined: a train departs, stops, moves on, stops again. The “I” sitting inside this train describes and reflects upon the journey, that is the other passengers, the view from the window, the panorama of the landscape passing by. The tone is laconic, precise, not without dry humor.
This is about perceiving, recognizing and (not) understanding. The ‘I’ observes precisely; he or she is struck by the smallest details. As a result the appearance of the world is thrown out of kilter, closely zoomed in individual perceptions become ambiguous, awkward, indeed, suspicious. They can no longer really be fitted into the setting of a harmless train ride: the squeaking sounds of the compartment door, the rustling blouse of a woman, a drowned fly in a puddle next to the thermos flask, the light which is reflected in the retina of a man. The situations described often lead to surreal images, making the journey appear like a lucid, wideawake dream, perhaps dreamt by Kafka, Hitchcock and a highly intelligent child, where everything seems as symbolic as it is unsettling: a precise recognizing without understanding.
The artist Brigitta Falkner has placed beside her texts ideally matching pictures: miniatures of landscapes and toys. The perspective of her texts is realised pictorially – for example by deliberately distorting the proportions. Exaggeratedly large details lodge themselves in the small whole. As if the right perspective could never be achieved. A little girl’s relatively gigantic doll is to be found time and again among the miniatures. On one occasion she is shown from the front and has empty, white eye-sockets. As if she were a medium. But this, too, is one detail in this travel panorama, in which Brigitta Falkner balances precision and irritation, objectivity and humor in a masterly manner.
Abbreviated review by Birgit Schwaner, November 2010.
English translation by Hillary Keel.
Complete version in German: http://www.literaturhaus.at/index.php?id=8512
[ book info ] Falkner, Brigitta: Populäre Panoramen I.
(Book language: Deutsch)
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