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In its own way great art but ultimately pointless
on 22 June 2015
I have mixed feelings about this deck. I mainly collect historical decks but every once in awhile I happen to find a modern one that tingles my curiosity and this one definitely stroke me (together with the remarkable one by Victoria Frances).
On one hand, its art is gorgeous, painstakingly detailed and very well elaborated, a masterpiece in its own way. We can say, though, that its main strength is also a weakness: the size doesn't actualy guve it justice, such incredibly saturated colours and iconographic richness deserve a much bigger size than the regular modern one. I don't understand why the publisher had to invest so many efforts in making insanely beautiful images without giving collectors and readers a proper support to enjoy them.
On the other hand, however, the Tarot Illuminati (which by the way should be be "Illuminati Tarot", the chosen form is a grammar nightmare) sort of feels like a Rider-Waite deck under psychedelic steroids drawn while the artist was watching too many bad American super-hero&fantasy movies. It feels like an exaggerated parody of "The Lord of the Rings" met some Marvel-centred cheap comic book while everyone working on it was taking heavy drugs. The iconography is not original at all, it simply adds a lot of colours and enriched details to the deck developed by A.E. Waite, without actually adding anything valuable. In a blatant contrast with the exasperated pursuit of outstanding looks, the faces of the figures often seem to be poorly pasted with a cheap application from some £1-magazine. They are unnatural, fake, irritating, their obvious origin as photographs pasted on digitally drawn art is repellent. I could have added one star if the faces hadn't been so pointless.
A good deal of energy is spent in promoting the quality of the book. It's actually quite poorly written, the main impression is of a collage craftly assembled combining Wikipedia entries, some blog's reflections and lots of magniloquent, pointless, almost random words. I'm afraid I don't know the celebrated (at least in this edition) work of Kim Huggens but I truly hope this wasn't intended to be among her best endeavours.
Probably this can be an interesting deck for those who seek some flashy digitalised beauty. It's good for showing, for five minutes. I'm not saying that it doesn't have some good points (I can definitely see the artist Erik C. Dunne's efforts in creating something unique and outstanding) but to me this deck ends up being mainly pretentiously pointless