La zona fatua
In an undefined landscape, dominated by a leaden sky that hangs over a windswept meadow, two small rubber puppets greet the story’s protagonist, a man whose face is marked by a red blotch that sometimes blazes, burning his skin. A mark of sadness according to Zafran, the sinister deer fisherman, or nostalgia, as a sweet and sensual woman with raven hair and a red dress thinks.
The man has been running through the night until he finds himself in that “fatuous zone of consciousness where the world is only a reverberation of our sleep,” and it is Fritz and Hans, the two rubber puppets, who give him a name: Sottovoce. With them, the man will begin to explore the Zone, an undefined place, a phantom territory where the omnipresent wind bends trees and blades of grass, ripples the sea, blows windows wide open. The wind strains a landscape that always seems on the verge of dissolution, as does man, constantly besieged by the desire to disappear, falling asleep in the earth, plunging into the water, disappearing into the air.
In the Zone, the melancholy traveler-one of the outcasts who have always fascinated Mattotti-moves through a dreamlike scenario populated by surreal creatures, in which his memories surface from time to time: reading a magazine, a puppet he had thrown away as a child, the records he listened to, and the park he loved to visit. The world from which he wanted to escape reappears: he revisits the laboratory where research was carried out on his stain, he remembers playing in the water with his brother, he finds himself in his childhood home looking tenderly at his sleeping mother. Over each affair hangs the sense of loss of self, feared and yearned for at the same time, until an answer arrives for him and the stain on his face reabsorbs.
First appearing serialized in Dolce Vita magazine in 1987, The Fatuous Zone is a sequence of visual poems that correspond to as many dreams, a succession of adventures that remain unresolved and ready to open to new developments. Mattotti’s vividly colored images with nervous strokes, whose intention in this book was to explore the relationship between painting and comics, here welcome Jerry Kramsky’s evocative texts, imbued with a lyrical breath and a sense of suspension.
An enigmatic and evocative story, a dream journey punctuated by continuous departures, through which the authors, then in their thirties, recount their farewell to adolescence.