The Secret World of Renaldo Kuhler

Brett Ingram. Blast, $45 (264p) ISBN 978-0-922233-48-9
Filmmaker Ingram returns to the subject of his 2009 documentary Rocaterrania to celebrate the whimsical imagination of self-taught artist Renaldo Kuhler (1931–2013). This lush four-color album collects over 400 of Kuhler’s drawings chronicling the rich and tumultuous history of the fictional nation of Rocaterrania, a place Kuhler first dreamed up in his teens and developed throughout his life. Readers encounter the stories of key figures—such as Empress Catherine, the sultry redheaded tyrant who creates a race of neutered children to follow her, and Janet Lingart, an influential bon vivant who runs the capital city’s most popular nightclub—and the nation’s defining events, such as the civil war of 1950 and the Great Workers’ Revolt in 1951. Kuhler outlined his world in painstaking detail, envisioning such details as gas lighting fixtures, an intricate metro signal system, the signatures of attendees at a military convention, and stills from popular films. The book includes his extensive notes on the nation’s official language, Rocaterranski, complete with its own alphabet and idioms. Ingram’s keen appreciation of the artist and his work is apparent in every aspect of this book. It’s truly a wonder to behold. Color illus. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/25/2017
Release date: 10/01/2017
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