Look I’m wearing all the colours, by Rikard Österlund

Rikard was born in Sweden and settled in England years ago. In 2005, he met Zara and they’ve been living together until now. This is the story that Rikard Österlund tells us in this very touching book.

But wait, another point of importance in this story, is that Zara suffers from fibromyalgia, hypermobility syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety. This disease is difficult to diagnose, but most importantly, the only treatment is to manage the effects of the disease. When affected, you really have to live with it and Rikard and Zara share this together since the beginning of their relationship. The fact that this disease was known from the beginning of their relationship makes the story more touching and, as Rikard says, they have learnt to live this like a third person in our relationship.

One of the great qualities of this book is that it opens the doors to the intimacy of the couple. But here, the term intimacy has to be read in term of love, not in terme of voyeurism, a bit like if Rikard was afraid to see disappear all these shared moments. The context is set in the preamble of the book, the title is also explained, since it is a sentence that Zara sometimes pronounces when entering the office of Rikard : Look I’m wearing all the colours. The use of colour in the book is not neutral, the story of the couple is an explosion of colours, whether shared moments or as Zara is dressed. But the book is also punctuated with black and white photographs, and it tells a kind of parallel history, like the presence of the unconscious, as for magnified moments, imprecise memories that in the remnant of moments of pain testify a need for the spirit to escape, to wander, to regain strength.

As a result, we quickly feel a great empathy for Zara and Rikard. This form of intimacy does not hide the reality of everyday life, despite the explosion of colors, difficult moments emerge between pages of joy. The suffering of one becomes that of the other and, over this reading, it is also our own.

The book is a long poem dedicated to Zara and its layout uses lots of metaphors, it opens on a blue sky on which clouds are appearing, themselves tainted with warm colors, then, we discover a swan, alone, as in the looking for his partner (we know that swans can stay in couples all their lives), and then, Zara’s face appears behind a window fogged, imprecise and immaterial before seeming to wake up on the next page.

Are we diving into a dream or are we coming out of it? Much more than a book on Zara, this book is a book about Rikard’s love for Zara, whom he compares to a Madonna on a double page with a sweet and tender portrait on the left and a statue on the right. He shows us all his feelings, from doubts to joy or pain, like on this double page with on one side a hospital corridor (no way out) and on the opposite page the shadow profile of Rikard interpreted as we can assume as doubts and fears for the future.

The book ends softly with the beautiful picture of Zara, finally appeased and full of hope, who hands him a flower picked in the garden nearby, and seems to say : do not worry, everything will be fine! And so, we are also a little convinced that, yes, everything will be fine!

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Hardcover book selfpublished in 2018. 120 pages with 90 colour and black and white photographs. Edition of 500 copies.

More info : https://www.rikard.co.uk/allthecolours

 

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