It is not unusual for singers or bands to collaborate with artists in designing their album covers. It is also not unusual to use art works for covers without any specific collaboration between both parties. A known example of the former is the album Dirty from 1992 of the American alternative rock band Sonic Youth. The photograph on the cover was taken by artist Mike Kelley (1954-2012). It showed an orange stuffed toy with Sonic Youth written down the sides. The booklet of the album included pictures of a rabbit, a bear and other teddies, and were a continuation of the theme begun on the cover. A previous album of the band, Daydream Nation (1988), featured the 1983 Gerhard Richter painting Kerze.
Last week I fell upon the latest album of the Belgian indie pop band Girls in Hawaai, titled Everest from 2013. The cover showed an image of a painting from the Belgian artist Thierry De Cordier (1954), Mer Grosse from 2011. The image presents an imposing ravage and dark sea, an ominous seascape.
De Cordier observes reality without cherishing the desire to change it. In the last few decades he has dedicated himself to painting. Recurrent themes are seascapes, mountains and desolate landscapes. These themes are partly inspired by the vast black and white topographical paintings made in China during the seventeenth and eighteenth century. Yet De Cordier’s paintings capture landscape and light that are characteristic for Northern Europe: grey skies, ink black seas and mountainous cliffs.