A surreal art book that redefines the meaning of imagination. Codex Seraphinianus has a lot in common with other bizarre books like the Voynich manuscript. This new edition by Italian publisher Rizzoli was republished in 2013. It has been redesigned by the author Luigi Serafini with includes new illustrations.
The fascination and curiosity for Codex Seraphinianus endures because it is written in a mysterious and as-yet unknown language. This has fueled great debates about its meaning.
Although its relevance is still obvious in the information age. The book traverses literary criticism, computer science and genetics with flair and imagination. It’s somewhere between an art book and an art object in itself and is an exquisite artefact. The perfect collectors item for the book worm that you know and love.
The exact message of Codex Seraphinianus remains unclear. However the sheer scope of imagination shown by the beautiful illustrations is enough to pique the interest of this reader.
At times the illustrations reminds me of another well-known book written centuries prior, Ernest Haekel, Art Forms in Nature. It’s amazing that the stunning feats of imagination in Codex Seraphinianus closely resemble the world’s most exquisite tiny animals called foraminifera that exist in reality.
Codex Seraphinianus remains even more relevant today in the age of coding, artificial intelligence, gene sequencing and programming. The experience of reading it is akin to taking hallucinogens but without any a pungent mushrooms or blotting paper.
There are whispers from publisher Rizzoli that Luigi Serafini has been working diligently on his next masterpiece, taking his inspiration from medieval Italian manuscripts.
Investing in a copy of this book is like investing in your imagination for the future. It heartens me to think that printed books like this are still covetable, collectable and immensely special. Printed books aren’t dying out, they are simply changing purpose and becoming art objects as well as knowledge bearers.