Friday, 11 December 2015

La Hora del Fantasma

My friend James Gracey (author of the excellent Behind the Couch blog) posted a rather doom-laden image earlier on Facebook and I'm responding in kind, feeling rather doom-laden myself on this Friday morning. I don't have much information on this eerie photograph by Spanish photographer Joaquín Pla Janini, entitled La Hora del Fantasma, probably dating from 1930. My guess is that Pla Janini was looking to re-create the dark mystery of Arnold Böcklin's famous painting The Isle of the Dead which depicts an oarsman and a white-robed figure in a small boat approaching a rocky island. Also worth seeking out Pla Janini's triptych Les Parques, a variation on La Hora del Fantasma and featuring in one panel the white robed figure, this time skull-faced standing on the craggy shoreline with a number of naked male bodies writhing among the rocks - a powerful image which anticipates the homoerotic death tripping of Kenneth Anger's Scorpio Rising... A good overview of Joaquín Pla Janini's work can be viewed here

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