Posted by: sophiabooksblog | March 13, 2010

Mateki the Magic Flute

"Mateki the Magic Flute" by Yoshitaka AmanoMateki the Magic Flute
by Yoshitaka Amano
(Radical Books)
ISBN: 978-0-9802335-0-6

Amano has a built-in audience. Fans of anime and Japanese video games have been following his dreamy paintings through series like Vampire Hunter D and Final Fantasy, so there will already be a clientele champing at the bit for the release of his newest volume, Mateki. Based loosely on Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute, Amano has managed to take the source material and make it both uniquely his and intrinsically Japanese while retaining the work’s European flavour through more subtle and artistic means (many of the paintings seem to borrow their colour palette–if not their out-and-out composition–from Gustav Klimt).

There isn’t much to read in Mateki. The book is composed mainly of paintings which are closer to sketches than finished works, and that may deter some buyers who aren’t as much in love with Amano as his more ardent fans. But there’s a simple beauty in even the most undeveloped of his pencil sketches and writing off the art as incomplete rather than accepting it as a sequence of exploratory visions is a mistake.

Mateki is a book which is meant to be contemplated, not lost in its lushness, but if you are willing to look between the lines at the brush strokes Amano hasn’t painted and fill in the scenes he hasn’t finished, there are many rewards to be found within. –Chris

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