03 Sep Interview with Frank Rocholl and Henrik Purienne
Please note: You are about to enter the cosmos of Mirage. A sensual exploration of a feeling, maybe an attitude, embedded in paper and created by the German Graphic Designer and Art Director Frank Rocholl who happened to stand in front of the Kloofhill house, Cape Town. Its owner, South African Filmmaker and Photographer Henrik Purienne, remembers: „Eye for detail for sure. Casual chat. Common interests.“ That was that. What followed were four issues of Mirage (2009-2014), JamaisVu. Mirage Anthology. (2016), a side project by Purienne Jeux de Peaux (2019) all filled with vast horizons, deep blue seawater, endless Summer pool-side days, beautiful women, fast vintage cars, timeless design classics…Sounds too cliche? Well, we agree. But though, Mirage is filled with outwardly alluring phenomena it does prove that beautiful and glossy doesn’t equal superficiality.
Let’s start with the most obvious question: Why, oh why, did it take so long?!
Rocholl: A part of Mirage is about this „first time“ feeling. The moment in your formative years when a piece of music completely got you. It takes a while to discover and arrange these things for Mirage. The new book is the best of 3 years of research. We also took some time to launch the Maison Mirage beauty line.
Purienne: I was gonna do it sooner – but then I got high.
You both have quite a penchant for the late 60s and 70s. A time in which the young post-war generation decided to press the restart button, striving for an interplanetary place on earth, co-existing with nature while fighting for liberty of thought, sexuality and social constraints. What is so fascinating about this (from today’s perspective) utopian era?!
Rocholl: The Utopian era had a different energy. A „Reach for the stars“ goal on Society Level. Creatives had Carte Blanche and were respected as artists – that’s why the formal consequence of the results still fascinates today.
Purienne: I don’t know about all that – but inventing a simple way of life rather than following protocol makes total sense.
Do we lack some of this spirit towards life nowadays?!
Rocholl: The Utopist’s brief was to enrich society to make things better for everybody, todays brief seems to be a more egocentric one.
Purienne: Life is life.
Keyword Beauty. Not only that Mirage is a hymn to beauty, filled with beautiful objects, women, cars and the beautiful, sunny sides of life it is also an exploration what beauty in its very essence means. What is eternal beauty for you?!
Rocholl: This is exactly the question we explore in the new issue of Mirage.
Purienne: Beauty is everything that cannot be seen.
What do you need to escape reality?!
Rocholl: Reconnect with your rebellious (adolescent) spirit – keep moving.
Purienne: An uni-cycle.
Talking about reality…In one of his most prominent theses, the French philosopher Jean Baudrillard asserts that nowadays reality is neither real nor true (and this, frankly, was written in the late 80s). With the loss of any contact to the material world and the multiplication of free-floating simulacra we not only made ourselves comfortable within this world but are turning more and more into simulacra ourselves. Is there a way out when we set out on the voyage lumière?!
Rocholl: To me the subconscious Aura of Mirage is this state that you reach after quitting the masquerade of being what the others expect you to be. „Satori“ as the Buddhist label it. The way out is the way in.
Purienne: The light will set you free.
On the cover it is written „Mirage creates an idealistic world of the essential and the timeless, which simultaneously educates and provokes.“ The educational part is self-explanatory but how does it provoke?!
Rocholl: Mirage is a kind of provocation to the Now. It’s starting this „What went wrong?“ process in your brain. What happened to all these Utopias?
Purienne: A mirror can only reflect the object – the purpose of the page is to reflect the message.
From its very beginning 2009 Mirage cherishes timeless design objects, fast vintage cars, spacious and expansive architecture, – and, of course: girls, girls, girls! Most of them semi-nude, all of them recently kissed by the sun! Like in real life…How do you manage the balancing act to not objectify but celebrate the female body?!
Rocholl: By publishing mainly images from photographers on holiday with their muses – this has always been the Mirage formula. Natural and authentic. We encourage our contributors to shoot their girlfriends and friends as natural as possible.
Purienne: Girls just wanna have fun.
Over the years Mirage has become a collectible itself. Mission accomplished?!
Rocholl: Magazines normally mirror the zeitgeist, we’ve mainly published our discoveries from our independent universe. This resonates with the like-minded. Over the years a kind of Manifesto came together that gives orientation. I would say … Mission still in progress.
Purienne: Mission Impossible 5
And, how long do we have to wait next time?!
Rocholl: Not that long.
Purienne: An eternity.