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Book Review: The Art of the X-Files

“The Art of the X-files” book was one of the more abstract offerings to come out of the franchise. As rather than “just” pieces from the TV show, it focused on the inspirations created out of the TV show. The book is unique in that presents art creations, photography and collage-like digital sources that pay homage to this great TV series. While there is plenty of images featuring Scully, Mulder, the smoking man, and the aliens, I was always fascinated by the book itself that serves as the ultimate X-Files modern art coffee book.

“The Art of the X-files” features an introduction by actor William Gibson before flipping over to the credits of a variety of artists who have contributed their own visions to the volume. Hardbound, full color, and coming out of the 1998 era…you can still find copies online for purchase. Though it’s good to know that this particular homage takes a darker look at the conspiracy and thought provoking energies that came off the TV show.

Aliens creep in here and there with intriguing photographs that stand to be and equally enigmatic as some of the artwork included. We turn from a page that simply states the “truth is out there” into a hybrid of noise and imagery suggesting alien cells, UFO sightings, and the results of an encounter that didn’t work out for the victim involved. Like a staticky TV show, images fade in and out with some only alluding to clues within the X-files saga. It’s a hint at the show’s darker elements.

This to many might seem a bit silly and confusing, but to the astute, there is a degree of underlying relational suggestions made thru the stills and blurs of episodal circumstance. A smudged image that reveals a spacecraft to a mix of typography and reactional shots. A single page that announces “use me” to an open alien chest revealing the workings from a surgeon’s point of view.

What’s it all mean? Well simply it is meant to be absorbed as a whole. The dark thoughts, the terror, the screams of victims and the collaging nature of the artists involved, offer suggestions about what has transpired during the show and what types of fringe elements the shows characters might encounter.

“Everything Dies” the book proclaims…..as we head into a hallucinary sequence of bodies, statues and the occasional X-file actor peaking thru.

It’s an art book simple enough. It is meant to invoke emotion and fear. And even with the weird collage piece rearing its head such as the odd body photo collages of Clay Mcbride, weirdness in “this” universe simply works. You will find no happy endings here as joy is replaced with death and paranoia. Modernism to classical, it’s all an elaborate homage using the workings of digital creations. Like the cover, the book is as much of a scream as it sets itself up to be.

A unique art experience that isn’t for every X-file consumer, but perfect for the “darker aesthetics” fans.

Book Review: The Art of the X-Files

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