Friday, 19 January 2018

Raw Wounding Cartooning


Magnus Bard, Sufficiently Clear, October 19, 2017.
"- How to draw a sufficiently clear drawing, which shows
that (the party) SD-associates either do not approve of democracy...
or they are just blastedly ignorant".

A cartoon about the impossibility of drawing a double entendre and ending up with having to write it instead. That is, Magnus Bard did draw all of that and rather than being a degradation of the possibilities of imagery, he underlines the many double entendres at play within a drawing. Sometimes there is just the need to be a concerned citizen speaking in direct terms, in fact shouting them from a poster. All that a true cartoon is not.

Magnus Bard, Brake, February 4, 2013.
"-May I ask what sort of invention, you are working on?
- a brake".
So a non-drawing by Magnus Bard points to the fact that he is a critical voice refusing to be silenced. With which he refutes the philosopher Henri Bergson's claim that laughter is a momentary anesthesia of the heart causing insensibility to what is before us.

If anything the beholder of a cartoon by Magnus Bard may be insensible from taking a direct slam! The meaning hurts as if from a raw wound, directly and mercilessly. Contrary to what Bergson stated, every emotion is set in motion.

Which is at its most pure below in the simplicity of the line too, how a question mark is instantly cut down and with no need for an exclamation mark. He has rarely any use for them, the exclamation marks:


Magnus Bard, Swedish Steel, May 31, 2017.
"- Why shall they be thrown into hopelessness after
such a long time here and when we have even taught them
Swedish?! Why, Why, WHY??!!
- That's why"

Magnus Bard, To the World of Free Choice, March 27, 2017.
"We are consolidating ourselves on the market and seeking you
who are an economist. You are analytical and flexible. You are hungry and
thrive when challenged. For more information, contact...."
Magnus Bard draws with a "dirtied" line, in sections plumb and fat as the point-blank gesture from the brush. He has a specialty in corporate cartooning, undressing its codes and power playing. Such as his returning corporate lingo to its original connotation, all the worse for being tone-deaf to its meaning as much at play as it ever was. 

Detailing is constantly emerging everywhere from the flapping of the tie above to the extreme right-wing politician, Jimmie Åkesson below being led into the cathedral of art for his much-needed transformation. Representatives of groups within the population, he is daily seeking to suppress are seeing to that he not getting away. Before him are two aspirational dictators. The pair of them in synchronicity; Trump with white ringed eyes, the eyes of Putin ringed in black.

While art is a place to go for a glimpse of hope. Or not.


Magnus Bard, With Open Minds, March 4, 2017.
"The artist Marina Abramovic has a performance, in which anyone can take part
- How was it?
- Wonderful! About trusting other people, daring to show one's vulnerability and such things"



Magnus Bard is this year's recipient of the EWK Award and EWK Museet is presenting an extensive and beautiful exhibition of his works.


The cartoons shown are courtesy of Magnus Bard and must not be reproduced without his permission.



Thursday, 18 January 2018

Expanse and Distraction



Siri Dokken, June 9, 2017.


A cartoon by Siri Dokken operates in infinite space. Each cartoon opens the scene on hand to a existential problem humankind is facing. Global warming for one, or how we treat each other, neglecting to see the human within fellow humans.

Siri Dokken, January 10, 2018.
Siri Dokken works across the picture plane, never with a perspectival depth. Hers is the vast and extensive space of modernism with no intention of creating an illusion. The picture plane is the magnifier to a problem at hand.

What is more, we are being led beyond the physical boundaries of the picture plane only to realize that there is no divine intervention to make all compositional lines meet such as they would in a classical composition. There is no salvation.

Such as the youth above, seen in his state of being an unseen entity, battered beyond every known limit. He is already out there and not in front of us.
Siri Dokken, January 13, 2018:
- How do you feel now?
The danger of losing the #metoo-moment to whining rather than change.
Note the sharp bend, this one is really angling for therapy.


The sheer pain of realizing the situation of the youth, a mere child. Siri Dokken incorporates two compositional principles onto each picture plane: the grandeur of her picture plane and the pain created in her beholder.

The sharpness of the latter incites to look further: how does she nail it so precisely each and every time?

When composing along the picture plane, Siri Dokken incorporates a delay. Trump as roped in the soiled flag and his self-declared menial, Stephen Miller three times brush the Golden Ratio of their picture plane until right at the very point where they could have defined the fourth and final one when instead the rounding off of the peacock fades into a mass of white nothingness by the declaration of Miller.

Siri Dokken, May 28, 201.
The constant of addressing equals.
There is no sectioning, nor distraction in this one,
This is a focus onto a massive sameness of no beginning or end.

Trump's head is but one example of a profile, which as drawn by Siri Dokken constitutes a horizon of its very own, unable to take in or enter into exchange with other beings. Her protagonists throw out declarations and in their utter un-connectedness, they constitute another layer of delay.

Such as in the drug exchange below. The scene is divided into three sections of privilege in society, with the girl in the shadow from the tree is yet another painful non-existence. She is no further away from us than the others are, but their noise across their two sides of life, which cannot even begin to understand one another, leaves her as the forgotten one; wringed into the pain of her life.

Siri Dokken denotes her tactics of delaying distraction. In an interview October 2017 (to the Norwegian national radio, NRK, and thus in Norwegian, sorry!) she explained her use of distraction as a means of incorporating time into the spectator's process of seeing: Taking in takes time and by the time (in this instance it is that very "time" she is specifying) the assertion is grasped, it is happening within you. As such it is perceived as genuine and personal being your response to your own critical reflection. Satire has the ability to break through our first defense work, as she ascertains.


Siri Dokken, September 16, 2016:
- .... and it is organic, right?


That is the grand cartoonist speaking, who dares take on that dialogue all the way into the head and heart of the beholder. Courage, responsibility and artistry in one.

For that very reason we have a professor of cartooning! At long last! Siri Dokken will be lecturing and tutoring at Kunsthøgskolen (The National Academy of the Arts) in Oslo, Norway the next four years, made possible economically by the foundation Fritt Ord (Free Word). Imagine the inspiration she will mean to a whole generation of art students. 

Imagine the impact from her presence we shall be detecting for decades to come.




Siri Dokken, September 15, 2018.


The cartoons shown are courtesy of Siri Dokken and must not be reproduced without her permission.



Sunday, 14 January 2018

"Let us continue to ask the question"


Thank you for the first seven years of Willis from Tunis in our lives: Happy Birthday, Willis! and sorry, I am a day late, my laptop broke down yesterday...


Nadia Khiari, December 6, 2016:
"Lawyers refuse to pay more taxes.
- If all our money is taken, then how shall
we buy the judges?"
Two centuries ago
Honoré Daumier addressed
the very same problem...

Nadia Khiari quoted the cyber dissident Zouhayer Yahyaoui, when she was in Copenhagen last year.

Yahyaoui was imprisoned in 2002, where he suffered torture and humiliation, causing his all too early death in 2005 while on conditional release. He was imprisoned for writing the sentence:

"In your opinion, is Tunisia a republic, a kingdom, a zoo, a prison or nothing?"

To which Khiari concluded: "Let us continue to ask the question". 



Sunday, 7 January 2018

The Answerable One


Bonil, Investigations, October 18, 2017.

Responsibility means being answerable, accountable even for something that is or has been within one's power.

There is an added element of moral weight to decisions taken. So, when a presidential term is up and a country finds itself in a situation of extensive corruption, there are questions to be answered from the answerable one.

Rafael Correa stepped down in 2017 from the presidency of Ecuador and to manifest that he is now from power in the legal and democratic sense, Bonil has given him a stamp to the forehead of "not working here anymore" in the shape of a palm tree.

The tongue is still fighting for its place as the symbol of Correa, and the combination of tongue and palm tree constitute a damning testimony on the corruption that spiraled all through Correa's presidency. Palm oil-companies? His forehead shouts out where shady payments were accepted.

A ruffled tree removes all talk of The Great Leader and has important placement predecessors such as the showerhead Zapiro since 2006 has placed on the forehead of the corruption heavy and soon-to-step-back president Jacob Zuma. Disclosure and keeping focus on wrongdoings are central aspects of journalism and the South African press, of which Zapiro continues to be an important voice, has done a tremendous job of living up to it.

Correa was a cry-baby during his presidential years, abusing anyone voicing questions. We saw him exercising his "right" to strike down upon not least the cartoonist with a crushing finger. It is time for the persecuted to demand answers, the cartoonist himself not least, who continued to stand firm.

It is at that a fairly precise question.

Oh, what a great vision for 2018! A situation drawn is a situation with a reality to it...


Bonil, December 12, 2017:
"You who knew even the smallest leaf that moved...
you are saying that you know nothing about corruption?"



The cartoon shown is courtesy of Bonil and must not be reproduced without his permission.




The Cartooning New Year


Cartooning has a New Year mark of its very own: The anniversary of the five murdered cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo.

This date marks a new year ahead of us in which cartoonists will be threatened and threatened on their lives.

Yet, cartoonists are daring to light, where there is darkness. Daring to speak, where there is silence. Riber Hansson has drawn a speech, a sermon into one cartoon on their remembrance and resilience. Their spiral as straight as their pens:

And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 



Riber Hansson, 2017.


The cartoon shown is courtesy of Riber Hansson and must not be reproduced without his permission.



Thursday, 28 December 2017

Playfulness and Pretence


Photo LCL
Photo LCL

It feels wholly inappropriate to put a photo of our stove on the blog, all the more so for featuring my freehand copy of a Valdemar Andersen.

I copied out one of his sketches for a wall-decoration he made for the Baltic Exhibition / Baltiska utställningen in Malmoe 1914. The exhibition took place minutes before the world had more arduous considerations to attend to and it was all the stranger a concept in that the Danish pavilion for one was built like a Medieval castle.

One can only cringe at seeing photos of its basking in being old-fashioned, attempting to be what it was not.

The entrance hall of the Danish pavilion, 1914.
Shown with permission from The Centre for Maps,
Prints and Photographs, The Royal Library.
I apologize for the poor quality of the photo;
it was taken by me for study purposes.

The walls of the entrance hall, on the other hand...

Valdemar Andersen did what he did best. He obliterated the hall and its walls by way of creating a pattern, which continued across every surface neglecting to acknowledge any detail of the architecture on its way.

Detail of one wall in the entrance hall of the Danish pavilion, 1914.
Shown with permission from The Centre for Maps,
Prints and Photographs, The Royal Library.
I apologize for the poor quality of the photo;
it was taken by me for study purposes.
The windows for one. They were deep set as if set in solid walls of several meters. The pattern, however, just ran along, turning in and out without making note of the elements and thereby obliterating the claim to heaviness and history of the architecture. It had a quality not unlike that of wallpaper and was as such a piece of modernity with a joyful nod to all pretence.

Valdemar Andersen, sketch for the entrance hall of the Danish pavilion, 1914.
Shown with permission from The Centre for Maps,
Prints and Photographs, The Royal Library.
I apologize for the poor quality of the photo;
it was taken by me for study purposes.
The pattern was a play on classical grotesques, in this case with animals such as deer and swans with leaves of vines, ribbons and bows and cornucopias from where everything would be unfolding. Not a single straight line within, it is a pattern of constant twirling and movement with figurative elements linking to each other and entering into new alliances.

All of it there for the visitor to try to discover one element here or there and yet all of it ephemeral; airy as it was in its one color, a minium/coral tone red on the white background.

And that color is the only thing, we have left today in that a can of the paint tipped and poured over one sketch while the decoration was underway back in 1914:

Valdemar Andersen, sketch for the entrance hall of the Danish pavilion, 1914.
Shown with permission from The Centre for Maps,
Prints and Photographs, The Royal Library.
I apologize for the poor quality of the photo;
it was taken by me for study purposes.



The Antibodies


The world is the petri dish beneath the microscope that is the cartoonist's eye. 

Prisons are an only too relevant subject for the lens of the cartoonist in that prisons are emblematic of the conditions with which citizens are treated in a society. Mana Neyestani shares his lens for us to see the Iranian societal bacteria at play. 

Testimonials on the Kahrizak Detention Center disclosed routine abuse and torture. Three detainees following the 2009 revolution for citizen rights died at the hands of their prison guards. The court ruled that their deaths were caused by the flu.

Serious microbes indeed were at play, comprising legislative, judiciary, military and police matter. They are very bodies that would define democracy had they been of a healthy nature.

The calmness with which each microbe is drawn, is all the more striking. The microscope highlights the distance that is part of the cartoonist's exposure. Mana Neyestani is taking an intense and calm look of the world, while said world is a place of discord and noise before him.

Thus concludes the lesson of the Anatomia Cartooniensa of the day.



Mana Neyestani, Flu Vira, July 10, 2017.


The cartoon shown is courtesy of Mana Neyestani and must not be reproduced without his permission.



Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Ecce Putin


Within every cartoonist is a Dr. Tulp, who diligently lays forth the world to us.

In the present chapter of the Anatomia Cartooniensa Per Marquard Otzen is exposing basics of political systems, how key elements of governing grows from one another. Such as what results from revolting against a dictatorial regime; in which study Per is joining forces with George Orwell:


"One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; 
one makes a revolution in order to establish a dictatorship" 


Orwell was defining the Russian 1917 October Revolution and at its centenary the linkage is not only clear, it is physical of nature. Czarism found its means of survival by way of being revolutionized, maturing into a leaner and stricter version of its former self.

Indeed so lean and strict that it took on the one human form. The cartoonist lays bare and the dictator exposes himself. Ecce Putin:


Per Marquard Otzen, Soon Cured, November 9, 2017.



The cartoon shown is courtesy of Per Marquard Otzen and must not be reproduced without his permission.



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