Books Matter – Charles Koroly

Charles KorolyCharles Koroly is a Swedish-American costume designer and scenographer in film and theater. He has worked on stages around the world but is perhaps best known for his work at Royal Dramatic Theater and Stadsteatern in Stockholm and for directors like Ingmar Bergman and Lars Norén. The exhibition “Koroly’s Costume Drama” is now shown in Stockholm at Dansmuseet.

Here’s what Charles wrote when we asked him why books matter and which books mattered to him:

“An early childhood memory is of my mother dragging cartons full of books from various rummage sales, where she had bought them at ”last minute bargain price by the pound,” to the house trailer we were living in. Once home she would place them in the oven to, as she said, ”kill the germs.” Afterwards, of course, the paper was so brittle it was with difficulty we could open them and turn the pages.

Unfortunately, the only book which I still have in my possession from my childhood is an illustrated collection of children stories dated 1881 and titled ”Aunt Charlotte’s Golden ….” (the rest of the title is illegible) containing among others ”Little Red Riding Hood”, ”Cinderella”, and the story of Tom Thumb.  I remember copying, as faithfully as possible, the illustrations composed of literally thousands of small fine lines.

I also have strong memories of my mother and I in tears every times she read me a children’s story about a spider (also, if I recall it correctly, named Charlotte) who dies after giving birth to her child toward the end of the book.

Another memory concerned with books is when I was around 10 years old and living at a Catholic boarding school, Saint John Bosco, in California, the priests burnt a large amount of books and I saved from the fire a beautiful edition of “L’ Ornament Polychrome” of Auguste Racinet and a huge bible from 1866 with illustrations of Gustave Doré.  And I used the illustrations of Adam and Eve in Paradise to induce a teacher (studying to become a priest) to talk to me about the erotic aspects of life.

Many, many years later my mother came for a visit from America, carrying these three books I just mentioned as her almost entire luggage.

Several years ago, it was with great happiness that I found “Prospettiva de Pittori e Architetti” by Andrea Pozzo from 1693 in an antique bookstore in Oslo. Another one was Lewis Baltz “Works”, published in 2010 in a box and bought at Konst-ig.

In my life and work, books play a critical part. They function both for mental and spiritual expansion, as well as being close friends. I also find it liberating to close the day with books.

My most recent book is Robert Motherwell “ A Catalogue Raisonné 1941-1991” and I have just finished reading all of Proust’s “À la recherche du temps perdu” (“In Search of the Lost Time”).”

The World of Ornament by Auguste Racinet, M. Dupont-Auberville A new edition of “L’ Ornament Polychrome” has just been published by Taschen
The World of Ornament by Auguste Racinet, M. Dupont-Auberville
Author:    David Batterham
Publisher:    Taschen
Publishing year:    2012
Languages:    French, English, German
Pages:    712
Illustrations:    in colour & b/w
Works by Lewis Baltz Lewis Baltz “Works” is a limited edition, 10 volumes in slipcase, published by Steidl. A few copies remain.
Works by Lewis Baltz
Text by:    Jane Livingston, Hubertus von Amelunxen, Sheryl Conkelton, Matthew S. Witkovsky, Robert Sobieszek, Antonello Frongia
Foreword by:    Adam D. Weinberg
Publisher:    Steidl Verlag
Publishing year:    2010
Language:    English
Pages:    964
Edition:    Limited to 1100 copies, numbered certficate, signed.
Paintings and Collages - A Catalogue Raisonne 1941-1991 by Robert Motherwell Robert Motherwell “Paintings and Collages, A Catalogue Raisonne 1941-1991”, 2 volumes in slipcase, published by Yale University Press in 2012.
Paintings and Collages – A Catalogue Raisonne 1941-1991 by Robert Motherwell
Authors:    Jack Flam, Katy Rogers, Tim Clifford
Publisher:    Yale University Press
Publishing year:    2012
Language:    English
Pages:    1712
Illustrations:    2942 colour, 111 b/w

Additional Information:
Erland Josephson writes about Charles on Dansmuseet
IMDb (Internet Movie Database) about Charles Koroly


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