The Immeasurable: The Heart


Angel Boligán, The Wrong Needle, May 30, 2012.


An organ and a symbol, which presumably is threadbare, nevertheless it is fresh and relevant every time we see it. There is such fresh pain in the attempt of sewing it back together above. The frailty of love is given a visual presence through the coarseness of what love is not - yet striving to succeed as embodied in the vertiginous perspective of the arm.

Angel Boligán, The Blacksmith,
July 3, 2016.
The organ, other words, which is key to the what, where and why of human life. No Anatomia Cartooniensa would be true to itself without it.

The curious thing about the shape of the heart is that it has two equally established configurations.

We have for one the symmetrical one above, mirroring itself along a central axis, which at once speaks of harmony, i.e. said symmetry, and its vulnerability, when broken along its axis.

To the right its counterpart gives the vertiginous arm an impossible task of its own, this time reason disciplining the anatomical heart. This one has been about since artists were explorers of pathology and would have held an actual heart in their own hands.

Leonardo, because of course he did, drew his about 1511-13 and even if the exact function of the heart was not yet known, interestingly the anatomical heart have been drawn more or less exactly like this ever since, with the stumps of coronary arteries, suggesting connection or severance according to the situation.



Marilena Nardi, December 9, 2016.



The anatomical heart has a history of being the complicated one of the two. It is a working, pumping organ, even or all the more so when severed, and its mere presence is a sign of trouble.

Angel Boligán, The Eternal Border
July 17, 2011.
It is the tormentor. It draws us to insanity until we are transparent and withered. No outer movement is taking place above in this the most intense of dramas, draining her of life. A semblance of a light in her eye unable to see anything is fixating us from our knowing her demise only too well.

We are damned whatever we do. The migrant shall forever be connected and yet severed; the borderline cutting through his own body.

In all of this, and what we recognize as spectators, is the sincerity of the heart in its struggles. It has an element of purity to it in spite of being the organ on the physicality of human emotional life.

The heart remains untainted and has the right to do so even when yelled at by superiors. Since The Nürnberg Trials it is obligated in fact, so that soldiers shall follow their own conscience, and soldiers are in a situation where they are not even defined to act as humans.


Angél Boligán, The Sound of Sanity, March 2, 2012.


Cartooning has a strong element of analysis to it and naturally so, but exaggeration has its own level of precision. It uncovers the drama of human life to the point of its breaking point - the distortion, the severance, the demise - each time worth a five-hour long opera.

Our hearts are meant to broken, as Oscar Wilde consoles us.




Marilena Nardi, The Affliction of Love, June 2, 2016.


The cartoons shown are courtesy of Marilena Nardi and Angel Boligán and must not be reproduced without their permission.




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