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Alfred Kubin

I encourage everyone to seek out Alfred's strange novel, The Other Side. The following is a detailed summary of the fantastical novel.

"The Other Side tells the story of a German artist who is visited one day by a mysterious stranger claiming to be an emissary of old school friend named Patera. Furthermore the stranger states that this Patera is now the richest man in the world and has been building an idyllic community on a large piece of land he has purchased specifically for the purpose - this community goes under the name of the Dream Kingdom and has a capital city, Perle.

Since taking possession of the land - and surrounding it with a large wall with a single gate - Patera has apparently been sending his servants on missions around the world to purchase specific objects of all kinds, seemingly randomly chosen, to furnish it. Patera's aims in creating such a place are not made clear but along with this information the stranger brings an invitation for the narrator to join the band of dreamers who are already living in the new country.

After some deliberation the artist and his wife agree to travel to the Dream Kingdom, leaving behind all their worldly possessions and accepting instead a large sum of money which will cover their travel expenses and allow them to set themselves up on arrival in Perle. This sum of money is just one of many things that turn out to not be quite what they seem once in the Dream Kingdom....

The first thing they notice is that the sky is always grey - that and the fact that everyone and everything seems to make no sense at all. The city is built of a hodge-podge of anachronistic buildings collected by Patera, the dress of the inhabitants is several decades out of fashion and money seems to change in value from minute to minute; furthermore people behave most extraordinarily making unsolicited deliveries of useless goods in the middle of the night and being hypnotized daily by the "great clock spell".

...At this point a strange American turns up in Perle and begins loudly to announce that he intends to challenge its ineffective leader for the privilege of governing the Dream Kingdom. From here on in, things begin to get truly weird. The town is tormented by plagues of animals and insects, buildings collapse and earthquakes swallow people alive. Eventually the whole place is destroyed in a number of scenes which resemble the worst excesses of the Book of Revelation crossed with the fever dream of an insane depressive.

The city and land itself which in some sense appear to be an actual manifestation of Patera's dreaming subconscious finally give way, presumably as Patera himself dies (or wakes?) leaving virtually all of the inhabitants dead except for the narrator who survives to document the events."

I purchased the paperback version around the time it was released a little over ten years ago for ten dollars, it appears to have gone up in value since then. Fortunately the kindle version is available for much less, you can get it here.

Read about the life of Alfred Kubin at his Wikipedia page.

An article on Kubin detailing the recent exhibit of his work in New York can be read here.

Alfred Kubin was originally posted on Monster Brains over five short years ago.
I'd like to add that Alfred Kubin is one of the greater influences in my own art. I admire the way he combines such intensely grotesgue subject matter with wildly imaginative imagery. He portrays a consistent world of nightmarish fantasy through out his work that I hope to achieve in my own. Reading about his life on Wikipedia is depressing. He attempted suicide around his late teens on the grave of his dead mother, went on to have a nervous breakdown upon joining the Austrian army. Later in life his work was labeled by the Nazi Party as "entartete Kunst" or degenerate art. He somehow managed to continue creating art through World War 2 in a small castle, not unlike a setting one might associate with his own work.
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