Artist Fiona Banner has created a magazine version of Heart of Darkness, the 1899 novella by Joseph Conrad on which Vietnam movie Apocalypse Now is based. Heart of Darkness (the mag) is the twelfth in Four Corners Books’ series of Familiars, and takes the form of a luxury magazine. Banner commissioned Magnum conflict photographer Paolo Pellegrin to illustrate the edition with a series on the City of London. His images show the area’s “streets and trading floors, its costume and surrounding strip clubs” and are a modern representation of the parallels Conrad set up in his novella between London and the Congo as places of darkness.
A tale of trade and corruption, and of our own conflicts and desires; Heart of Darkness is a story told from a boat moored on the bank of the Thames, a narration of a journey to the heart of the Congo in search of a renegade ivory trader. The Four Corners Books and Vanity Press publication was designed by John Morgan Studio and stems from an invitation from the London-based Archive of Modern Conflict for Banner to create an exhibition of works drawn from their collection. It was on the realisation of the lack of images relating to conflict in the here and now that Banner commissioned Pellegrin to observe the City through the lens of Conrad’s story, and it is in this collaboration that the publication becomes a beautiful and essential document.
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