THE SECRET WORLD OF RENALDO KUHLER by Brett Ingram
Hardcover with jacket · 8 × 10″ · 264 pages
Art · 430 color illustrations · $45
Publication date: October 24, 2017
Like Henry Darger and Adolf Wölfli, Renaldo Kuhler (1931–2013) created, in private over the course of sixty years, a fully realized world unto itself. For its rocky terrain, he named this imaginary land Rocaterrania, and he chronicled in detail the tumultous history of its inhabitants: a royal family, Jewish immigrants, sexy women, tyrants, scoundrels, and neutants—individuals neither truly male nor female.
Kuhler was noticably striking in the unusual, self-designed uniform he wore. As a scientific illustrator at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, he made thousands of meticulous natural history illustrations—yet no one knew of his prodigious private art work begun as an isolated and lonely teenager in the late 1940s.
Wild architecture, excellent railroad and metro systems, a unique religion (Ojallaism), an evolving language and alphabet, an organized labor service, prison system (modeled after a New Jersey state penitentiary), university, Olympic sports competition, and independent movie industry all feature prominently in Kuhler’s fantastical land.
Nearly all of the 430 illustrations in The Secret World of Renaldo Kuhler have never been published before. In graphite, ink, acrylic, oil, gouache, watercolor, colored pencils, and markers, they demonstrate Kuhler’s unique imaginative power, skillful draftsmanship, and wide range of style.
After decades of secrecy, Kuhler first shared his work and the story of Rocaterrania with filmmaker Brett Ingram, whom he met by chance in the mid-1990s. In 2009 Ingram released Rocaterrania, a feature-length documentary with prized footage of Kuhler at home and at work. In The Secret World of Renaldo Kuhler Ingram has written the complete story of Rocaterrania as relayed over years to him by Kuhler, resulting in this extensive first book revealing a rare, major new discovery among visionary outsider artists.