Compelling and provocative, EQUINOXES, provides a fascinating reflection of our society and the many ways in which people strive for equilibrium in their daily lives. Split into the four seasons of the year, Pedrosa has created a ghostly mirror image of our own world, with magnetic illustrations that invoke a sense of limbo by their haunting grace and dream-like representation.
EQUINOXES took my breath away by the sheer beauty of images and the eloquent and beguiling writing. From the corner of my eye, when the light flickers just so, the free-hand illustrations almost seem to come to life… Even within the text, Pedrosa reinforces the idea of a surreal or dream-like state of mind when describing one character, ‘He observes them, like a ghost would watch the living trotting about.’ The referencing of ‘ghost’ as himself implies that we as a society have become ethereal in our witnessing of the world passing us by whilst being unable to liberate ourselves of our rigid outer layers.
Similarly, the juxtaposition of movement and stillness is explored by another character, ‘Every day, I bang into the intolerable wall of my limits, but I just keep going on.’ Perhaps this is what Pedrosa is hinting at; that we not only observe the days passing us by but also do not full appreciate them, ploughing forever onwards in an endless cycle of mindlessness. It’s almost as we are afraid to stop and look at where we are and where we might be headed.
In essence, the author is asking us to think seriously about the meaning of our lives. One character, ‘solidly locked behind the mask of her old age’ recalls the last night she spent with a partner, ‘cuddling together, all those billions of seconds full of life’, when a young woman rises from her seat, and ‘smiling, invit(es) her to take her place’. The old woman seems to find this gesture patronising, becoming more antagonised when the young lady (Camille), takes a photograph of her. The old woman wonders why people can’t remember the times that she lived. She asks why you have to ‘carry your life with you like some performance that’s ephemeral and invisible to others?’ Pedrosa invites us to question our own behaviours and ways of thinking. He displays real life concepts and scenarios, and arranges them into a powerful collection of scenes which are designed to give us no choice but to pay attention.
The writing itself has an almost lyrical quality to it, with poetry and writing blended skilfully together, flowing effortlessly, all the while leading you towards its ultimate climax. The moving from Autumn into the summer months also assist in symbolising the progression from our limited insight into enlightenment. Additionally, the pastel colours used to depict the sun’s rays are particularly striking in its portrayal of a summers evening, expertly capturing a sense of the ending of one day and the beginning of a new one.
Anyone who enjoys reflecting on the deeper meanings of life and who appreciates expressive and rare art-work will adore, Cyril Pedrosa’s, EQUINOXES. A truly glorious mammoth of a book! One that will stay with you for a long time.
Equinoxes is published by Fanfare on 1st December 2016
(£30.00, h/b, 336pp, 9781910856536)