CLOSER is a comic book that emphasizes a "Handheld Mirror" while strolling through Angoulême (France), known for the International Comic Strip Festival since 1974. Leafing through the pages, the reader discovers various sights, many of them remnants of past events in the renowned "City of Comics". However, the reproduced surroundings appear deformed, as in a distorted mirror, a detournement of the place itself.
Each of the drawings is repeated on a double page, in this way becoming an "echo-comic" that duplicates the environment and the pages themselves. Enhanced by an accompanying voice that sings scattered fragments of songs from Joy Division's cult album Closer (1980), the book is a visual echolalia of a walk through the city that gently deforms its environment and soundscape in parallel, thus an introspection on the language of comics. CLOSER also pays tribute to the journal Internationale Situationniste, published in Paris between 1958 and 1969. This publication brings together the main situationist strategies—drift and détournement—the concept of the reflective cover paper that, like moving mercury, reflects and deforms the immediate surroundings, and finally it reproduces the format of the original magazine (24 x 16 cm).
Visually complex and rich with references, this (site-specific) guide leads the reader through an ephemeral maze of multiple narratives on the way from the old central station of Angoulême to its emblematic Vaisseau Moebius edifice—a mirror cladded postmodern "phantom" built on the ruins of a former abbey, which today houses part of La Cité internationale de la bande dessinée et de image.
Limited edition of 250 numbered copies.
Drawing, typography and graphic design are the tools used by Francesc Ruiz (born 1971, lives and works in Barcelona) to modify the publications that he mobilises in his installations, which for several years have tended towards architectural structures such as kiosks, bookshops, record shops or libraries.
Francesc Ruiz is fascinated by the aesthetic of the comic books of which he has been an avid reader since childhood, and he is particularly interested in their narrative construction and the complexity of social systems conveyed by this aesthetic.
Erotic and homosexual comic books in particular enable him to deal with issues such as censorship and creative freedom and thus to examine the evolution of social and individual identities. In parallel to his socio-political explorations Francesc Ruiz takes a more general interest, through the press and comic books, in the various aspects of popular culture which dissimulate their subversive nature behind amusing façades.