Showing posts from April, 2015

Drawn In and Lead On

When I first saw the poster that Per Arnoldi made for the 300th anniversary of The Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg it struck me how deftly he incorporates the beholder into his poster compositions.

A poster is a composed surface not unlike the front of a house and although the poster theorists have a long history of sighing whenever art history is brought into the discussion, let us paraphrase the thoughts of Vilhelm Wanscher on the matter. Wanscher earned himself a big black line across his life's work as an art historian and artist, when he found an affiliate on the love of all things grand in the Fascists of the 1930's. That said, when I reluctantly read his treatise on aesthetics from 1906, I found descriptions of architecture, which were useful in describing the posters of Valdemar Andersen too and seem no less interesting recapitulating here as well:

I noticed how Wanscher's aesthetics are based on verbs. Verbs on movement within the artwork such as an architectural…

A Ballet on Genocidal Intent

We have already seen Vrej Kassouny's personification of the Turkish denial of the Armenian Genocide. This time The Denial is in the plural and caught with a smoking gun metaphorically speaking:

A ballet on genocidal intent.

Acrobatics on words not least on the part of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. Evading all talk of intention, the Secretary General has spoken of "tragic events", which is as generic a characterization as characterizations go. Kassouny consequently equals words with deeds indeed the words are deeds, linking Ban Ki-Moon directly to what took place in 1915. Even his suit reflects the spluttering.

In 1917 the Interior Minister of the Ottoman Empire Mustafa Arif admitted that his predecessors had "carried out the law on deportation to exterminate the Armenians". Documentation thus exists on the Turkish side acknowledging what had taken place, as quoted recently by Amal Clooney and Geoffrey Robertson, while representing Armenia at the ECHR (…

"The future belongs...

... to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams"

Words by Eleanor Roosevelt, who set an example herself while striving to make the world our mutual responsibility. Literature is laden with words on following one's dream and how only the noblest and strongest dare try giving it reality.

Each of the drowned in The Mediterranean listened to and acted upon their dreaming, not as numbers, but as individuals.

In both drawings the sea is calm. There is no noise, no outer movement.
We as beholders look with him over his shoulders above, drawn in by the light of the stars, distorted in the reflection of the water. 
And below we look at him, having forgotten the meaning of loving thy neighbor.

The cartoons shown are courtesy of their artists and must not be reproduced without their permission.

A Case of Speaking Up

"Political cartooning is a negative art form. Cartoonists and columnists work best when bashing hypocrites or speaking to issues where opinion is divided".

- as Daryl Cagle wrote in 2007 on the Virginia Tech massacre, when or whether it is appropriate to draw after the fact of it. While I very much appreciate his thoughts on the when or the whether, I was provoked by the classification of negativity at play. Is it not (politely done on his part) a belittling of the art form, what it does and why it so does?

For one thing, criticizing has more to it than a censuring pointing finger. Etymologically speaking critique means making a judgment through taking things apart and that is very much what a cartoon does.

Taking apart so as to see other aspects of the persons and actions involved. Case in point, this is a cartoon, which has been circulated since 2012, when the killings in Syria had already been far too many. Children were being murdered by the Assad-regime in far greater n…

Balance, Tension and Integration

This was the first drawing I saw from Fadi Abou Hassan.

In its first version the refugee is reaching for the sun, and sadly it is just as difficult to reach Europe. The Mediterranean is implicitly there. The arm is at once personifying the preparedness to go to inhuman lengths to reach safety and the obstacles trying to get there.

In cartoon art the formal aesthetic termini have a political side to them, twisting the ideals to engage our eyes. Termini such as balance, the tension between each of the parts that constitutes the composition, and the integration of the picture plane as a whole. The exaggeration before us tells us a story, at once personal and all-encompassing.

Told through the means of tipping the balance,tension there is indeed, while striving for, but not quite reaching integration.

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Fadi Abou Hassan and must not be reproduced without his permission.

"I Remember and Demand"

"... On the road we saw dead bodies and skeletons of at least a 100 people, it was terrible to see how the bones lay scattered on the road and in the ditches and in the fields, in several places they were plowing the ground and thus spreading the bones and skeletons all over the fields [...] when I think of how those poor wretches have siblings and parents like we do and who love them, it is so hard to imagine them killed in such a cruel manner and then left upon the ground to be eaten by dogs and wolves. It could be my father, mother or little sister".

The words above were written by Maria Jacobsen, a nurse and missionary, who kept a secret diary describing the Armenian Genocide in 1915 at first hand. Photo documentation of what she described and sadly much more can be found here. The genocide was initiated on April 24 1915, when intellectuals of the Armenian population in the Ottoman Empire were arrested and executed. Having removed the elite, the rest of the Armenian pop…

We the Rakyat

- Only We the People of Malaysia tend to be tiny and thin with all too big, burdened eyes.

They are all the more burdened in the drawings by Zunar (Zulkiflee Anwar Haque) since creating a united Malaysia is the official speak of the government lead by the Prime Minister Najib Razak.

He is at times to be found within the massive hairdo of his wife Rosmah Mansor. Apart from her hair she can in turn be recognized by a sparkly 30+ carats diamond ring. She is in other words a massive persona, against whom everyone has to adapt, and the obliteration of her husband's shoulder on the drawing above is but a small indication of what her massiveness represents.

Obviously she embodies the malpractice of the running of the public economical affairs. Add to that the abuse of power in areas such as the judiciary system. In February the opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was given a five year-sentence for alleged sodomy. He is in other words conveniently out of the way before the next elections.


The Un-Contoured Speaking Up

Blood is actively being spilled in the Yarmouk Camp, and blood is actively shooting out. This is not blood not calling for innocence. This is peace speaking for itself, reaching beyond not just for the murdered.

Fadi Abou Hassan has combined the painterly texture of the uncontoured red with the figurative elements of the dove and barbed wire. Note the discreet greying of the lowest of the barbed wires to underline that we are all caught up in it.

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Fadi Abou Hassan and must not be reproduced without his permission.

The Bastards of IS Present:

It is one thing being portrayed as a child eater; at heart, though, the Daesh/IS are a bunch of poster girls.

They perform in carefully staged videos, in which they make certain they are at the center of attention. Consequently (Hervé) BAUDRY has taken the natural step of transforming their banner into the film poster it rightfully is.

This is the Shahada (i.e. the Islamic creed) according to the Daesh. Their destroying what went before us is after all done with a blaspheming insistence.

The cartoon shown is courtesy of BAUDRY and must not be reproduced without his permission. His works can be seen here:

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