Sunday, 31 January 2016

For the kingdom of a little boy

Photo by Misling Andersen Rasmussen.

Photo by Misling Andersen Rasmussen.
Valdemar Andersen is constantly encompassed with the verbs could and did: He could do it all and he did it too. It felt as if it just flowed from his hands, his contemporaries tell us.

Yesterday a discussion grew from one corner of his work. On this occasion playthings carved out of wood for his son and yet again we experienced how the one piece opened to all corners of his professional life and in this instance not least to his very first beginnings.

For one thing his own father was a carpenter (or is the right word a joiner? he was a supervisor) and wood was obviously the first material on which the young Valdemar tried his hands. Obviously so, since many years later when he has decorating the small dining room at Christiansborg, Abildgaardsalen they needed something to go at the top of a great grandfather clock.

The girl with the butterfly atop the clock in Abildgaardsalen, 1921.
The photo was taken by me.
Valdemar modeled a girl contemplating a butterfly setting off; she seeking to protect its first flutterings from the world with her hands. Such a delicate piece on the vulnerability of life and the shortness of it seeing our lives change within a flicker of a moment. It was a piece made here and now, it sort of - again - grew from his own hands, when the wish for a piece arose.

The literature tend to guess at other artists as its creators in that Valdemar Andersen never did much sculpture in his professional life. The girl is so fully captured from all sides; there are no awkward angles.

From childhood to mature artist we do indeed not have much to bridge his sense of the wood nor working in three dimensions, until his grandson and his wife took out three horses, the one of which a foal. Incisions give the twist to the right feeling of bone or muscles underneath and much work has gone into the mules to give them personality. All three of them carved for Valdemar's son, Ib Andersen, to play with as a child. The two grown horses are 35 cm. in height and 31 cm in length and thus large enough for a young child to ride on.

Detail of photo from Valdemar Andersen's special exhibition in 1912 at Den Frie.
The original photo was scanned by Simon Bang
- the present photo was taken by me and I apologize for the poor quality of it.

Valdemar Andersen, detail of sketch from a cattle show.
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.
- of which we have proof from a painting made for a special exhibition in 1912 and presumably painted in 1911, when Ib was four years old. The present photo is of poor quality, I apologize. The whereabouts of the painting is not known today (yet?) and hence we only know of the work from the exhibition. The horses are zebras here. Possibly Ib had a small wooden zoo, which is not at all unlikely. Alternatively, the stripes are included to echo the white of the birch trees in the background. I would guess at the first option, especially since there is a small cart too next to him in their exact size for them to pull.

Valdemar Andersen, scrap of paper with a sketch of a foal.
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.
There are horses aplenty in Valdemar Andersen's work. Most of them are of the sturdy, working kind and Valdemar would go to every cattle show about, when he was working in Jutland. He was born a townie and stayed one, so these were an opportunity to draw the animals from life.

The sketch to the left could have been the draft before turning to the wood. We cannot tell today, only that the specifics such as the joints have been so carefully drawn to get them right on canvas, paper, or in wood later on.

Below is the sketch for a fronton for one of the exhibition halls of the National Exhibition in 1909 in Aarhus. This time in the monumental scale of a horse of a couple of meters long. As always in Valdemar's work there was a direct line from the monumental to the personal scale of his own boy.

Valdemar Andersen, Final draft for the fronton to the agricultural section
in the National Exhibition in Aarhus 1909.
Shown with permission from Designmuseum Danmark.
I apologize for the poor quality of the photo;
it was taken by me for study purposes.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Anatomy of the Zika

Terror (n., from Latin: terrorem)  An object of fear, cause of alarm; terrible news.

Said object (of the Aedes aegypti variant) is seen from its right. It is recognizable from its white markings and the dainty knot securing its dynamite belt.

Before us we have a possible cause, i.e. an explanation or perception of one; the risk, whatever the cause, the prospects and central to it all: the fear. Each component a factor to society. Luc Descheemaeker has laid out the full story before us.

Luc Descheemaeker, Zika Outbreak, January 29, 2016.

ETA February 11, 2016: Yet again a situation of poisoning? In this instance of the toxic chemical pyriproxifen applied to drinking water, with an attempt to direct the interest away from those actually culpable by pointing the finger in the direction of mosquitos?

Only, what may be to be another hoax, does not diminish the cartoon before us.

On the contrary, the dynamite belt tied to the mosquito exposes the very anatomy of a hoax.

The cartoon showed is courtesy of Luc Descheemaeker and must not be reproduced without his permission.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Shadows Mirrored

The foreign correspondent of the Valdemar-blog is in Paris today. 

Niels Larsen, Paris, January 29, 2016.

Just for the pure architectural strength of street art. That wall captured on a greyish day.

The photo shown is courtesy of Niels Larsen and must not be reproduced without his permission.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Never explain - but

Per Arnoldi sent the open letter below on the sentiments sizzling within us. The need to speak up is strong on the protagonists to our Misery.

It is not advisable to look the Minister of Integration in the eyes for too long. Or maybe it is, the whole story is to be read there:

Adam O., January 28, 2016.
The Minister of Integration, Inger Støjberg, portrayed.
Shown courtesy of Adam O.


Dear Friends,

In Lubitsch´ Ninotchka, the agreement between grand duchess Swana and count d´Algout is:
”Never complain, never explain!”
A wise rule… sometimes very hard to follow.
I have to complain and I have to try to explain what is happening here in Denmark in the dark of January 2016.

The Danish government has yesterday, against all decency, adopted a disgusting set of laws for the treatment of the refugees arriving at our borders.
The comments around the world today are very sharp, rightly so.
The right wing government is secretly controlled, behind the closed doors, by the ultra right populist party, wich in spite of many (far too many) votes, does not want to participate, but to operate, hidden, with their shameless and dark agenda.

I do not recognize the country anymore!
Where are we heading?

Of course thousands of voters have protested, held rallies, collected signatures against these laws.
The dark powers do not listen.

The veteran danish socialist politician Mogens Lykketoft has condemned the governments decisions in very strong words. He is now the President of the General Assembly, United Nations, and from his office in New York, my protest and complaint yesterday was greeted with this personal mail:
”…we have an enormous need to fight the general attack, now beeing launched on wellfare and decent attitudes towards our fellow men.”

But how?
If an election was coming up, the vote might help.
Apparently it is not.
The nationalist /isolationist movement is destroying all international efforts we have been fighting for and struggling to establish through so many years.

Sad and shameful greetings from

Anti-national behaviour

Communication. Oh, that thing communication.

Riber Hansson, January 26, 2015.

Riber Hansson, January 26, 2015.
Such has been the explanation from everyone trying to minimize the damage done by passing a law restricting the access to the Denmark, when fleeing one's own country.

Explanation, or rather we are in every sense of the word speaking of a counter-attack. The intention of the law was understood all too well internationally. A backlash followed, which the government ought to have seen coming considering the nature of the law - and that obvious intention to be deduced from every word of L87 as it is labeled.

The thing is, the reaction to it was drawn. There was a cartoon by Steve Bell (and thank you for it, Steve Bell!) focusing on prime minister and the export goods not least and with cartoons about there were no more hiding from the realities.

Hence the counter-attack: Speak of anything but the matter at hand. First and foremost: Turn the attention away from the intention exposed. The Minister of Foreign Affairs immediately lashed out against any and every opponent of the law that it is against national interest to criticize it so openly. It is anti-national behaviour.

Riber Hansson, January 26, 2015.

These are words we know very well from the Danish history. We even have a date for them: March 2, 1933. Hitler had just taken office in Germany and Denmark being a small neighbour to the north would do anything to avoid his attention. The predecessor of the present Minister of Foreign Affairs, P. Munch was a strong advocate for avoiding conflict and he summoned the chief editors of the dailies to reprimand them into proper behaviour.

Munch defined the problem as twofold of character: the headlines and the drawings. Those are the ones being noticed, they are the ones, who give us the most problems, as he pinpointed. "Let us speak softly" as he continued to stress to the editors all through the 1930ies. Those who tried to work around the lines given - and a handful of papers tried every means of doing so, was shamed Munch in the line of: The problem is you. Your behavior is of anti-national interest.

Riber Hansson, January 26, 2015.
Munch had his reasons. He was negotiating internationally to make wars a thing of the past, which was sadly a hopeless case given the Fascist regimes popping up in many places in Europe. His attempt to create a unified and quiet home front remains a matter of debate in this country, seeing it is bordering on the language of despots. I am not saying he crossed it, but the line is a fine one.

Given that Denmark in January 2016 is not in any predicament of this nature, I cannot accept a government attempting to deny its own actions by silencing voices speaking up. At worst it is mimicking despotic regimes. At best it is mental laziness to seek to avoid the plurality of voices of a sound debate.

Riber Hansson drew the present series following a debate in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo massacre to which not a single cartoonist was invited. I saw them for the first time the day before the law on refugees was passed. Such is the timing of the cartoonist that he senses the situation beforehand.

Oh, that thing communication.

Riber Hansson, January 26, 2015.

The cartoons shown are courtesy of Riber Hansson and must not be reproduced without his permission. I have written a book on the Munch/cartoonist dance of the 1930ies.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Putinium; an editorial

A drawing is nothing en soi, in itself, according to the historian of political iconography, Annie Duprat. Nor is it polysemic in itself; the questions that we pose to it are.

Her definition of the undefinable cartoons is of course an argument against shooting cartoonists whenever a drawing seems to go against one's likes or wishes. She makes a Sartrean move of setting the cartoons free by underlining that any attempt at fixating an essence for them is a lie. The cartoon is a plaything of the free consciousness.

It is contrary to how we normally speak of cartoons, as she acknowledges.

I cannot wholly buy her premises. The reason not to shoot cartoonists ought not be found by denouncing cartoons, stating their the lack of value. Not even as an easy shortcut to say "end of discussion". We must not lose a precious set of artistry due to pressure from persons, who wish to silence the cartoonists. That pressure has been there all through history due to the fact that it is an outspoken art form and the two of them, cartoons and their opponents tend to lead interwoven lives.

Which is one reason why I cannot agree how it should follow from her reasoning (and is directly addressed by her) that there is no such thing as an editorial cartoon.

Oh? Behold the artwork below. The poison bottle in combination with the full frontal portrait. Add to this the specific name of the elixir and we have a drawing, the relevance of which has been continuous all through the 21st century so far. It speaks of a person and his power play as ominous as it is an active ingredient to mortality.

An editorial - be it article, leader or cartoon is defined by presenting an opinion, notably of the senior kind, i.e. by someone at a place in life in which he or she is in a position to state the personal "I" about a matter.

Editorial cartoons take off from their signature; they are critical inputs to the debate of their day. As such they endorse Sartre's argumentation that their world is the free consciousness and most cartoonists explicitly do so, stating how they would not dream of defining an essence for their work; they form part of their time full stop. Only this is precisely what makes them of value and where cartoons thrive, we can be certain to find a lively environment of exchange.

Cartoons at their best then turn out to be of a longer life than their written counterparts. For every columnist, critic and editor of an age, they are as soon forgotten as the cartoons are remembered. This is still no claim to essence; only, the little flaps of paper as they are so often condescendingly described do more than inform us about their day. For one, the grey portrait on a silence at once calculating and menacing shall make a day and age and its international political temperature sensed and understood by and maybe even turn out to be all too relevant to our successors too.

The present words are not enough to form a satisfying analysis on why cartoons OF COURSE can be of editorial value. Let the cartoon make the testimonial. My words shall after all soon be forgotten.

Riber Hansson, when it was re-published
in June 2015, Riber stated:
"One more rerun of an old cartoon.
But it is not me repeating myself,
it is the power-mad potentates".

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

Friday, 22 January 2016

The Saudi Sword - the next chapter

Oil prices rushing down and with it the power to show muscles, when the world no longer craves what you have got.

Two negatives do a positive make. Which is the mathematical formula for cartooning. Issue1 + issue2 equals a drawing.

Khalid Wad Albaih, Oil prices go "down", January 15, 2016.

The Khartoon shown is courtesy of Khalid Wad Albaih and must not be reproduced without his permission.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

A Celebratory Sex-Paralysappeal

A magnificent room of toasting lines sharp and curved alike to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Sex-Paralysappeal by Wilhelm Freddie.

Sex-Paralysappeal cost its artist 10 days in prison and his sculpture was removed by the police, when it was first exhibited. It was kept in custody until 1963.

A certain declaration keeps popping up in public debate that it is the provocation, which pushes art forward and makes for a history of art.

Which is a piece of tosh and usually made by someone posing as provocateur as his (only possible?) claim to the grand tradition. An artwork living for provocation alone burns out when the first shock wears off.

The great artworks in history have provoked qua their form and/or content. The provocation comes from breaking new ground qua artwork to create new ideas and form new, much needed concepts of life as in the case of Sex-Paralysappeal, its artist and his fellow Surrealists.

Their works are hardly provocations today, yet they continue to be of inspiration not least to the cartoonists seeing the Surrealists were using figurative elements to visualize what wants to remain unseen. The juxtaposition of lines as we see them below is a direct descendant of the juxtaposition of elements in three dimensions of works such as today's birthday child.

Here's to the next 80 years!

Per Marquard Otzen, January 21, 2016.
Per is to be seen at the far back, No. 3 from the left.

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Per Marquard Otzen and must not be reproduced without his permission. The original sculpture by Wilhelm Freddie can be seen here.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Opinion vs. quality of art

Last week Steve Brodner called to an important recognition:

"I think it's time to separate the issues of opinion vs. quality of art. I am more pissed at the form than the content. And that's because with muddled form you have no idea what the content is".

Steve was referring to last week's issue of Charlie Hebdo and with it the drawing by Riss combining the drowned Aylan Kurdi and the mass-attack on women in Köln on New Year's Eve. The drawing is obviously directed at an audience ready to coo over a child, while equally ready to swear at the grown up and the cartoon was thus addressing our double standards in Europe. Who is sweet now?

We must discuss Riss' drawing like any other cartoon, Steve was stressing, seeing cartooning is his art, his own constant battle at "fine-tuning the communication of the cartoon".

To say it as it was, it was not a good drawing and at face value it seemed directed at the corruption of the child growing up rather than our standards being corrupted at all time. The idea was muddled. It wanted to tell too much and the composition turned out equally poor. This is a drawing screaming of intentions not reached, however noble they may have been in the first place.

A little string of counter cartoons emerged in its aftermath on alternative futures for Aylan, each of them stressing his moral exemplary standing as a toddler and adult alike. Not great art for the most part, but they were ripostes and they did their job.

Per Marquard Otzen, January 14, 2016.

The best of the lot was to me the one, which made much the same type of comment as Riss did on the EU-reluctance to take on the responsibility towards the refugees, in this case in his own words:
"I will not speculate, whether children are traumatized and their lives and their survival jeopardized by restricting the access to family reunification from one to three years. I am not a psychologist."
Per Marquard Otzen specifically leaves Aylan as he has been iconized; this is not a finger pointed towards neither the toddler nor his fellow refugees. This is a reaction to the situation the political field in Europe has left us all in and he as a cartoonist takes responsibility by feigning his refusal to take responsibility. He must leave the scene.

Visibly leaving a scene, which is an icon in Per Marquard Otzen's work; Freud's office and its layers upon layers of the richness of human life, while being a place for scrutiny on the wayward ways of those same humans. Which very much sums up the job description of the cartoonist.

Steve Brodner concluded that Riss' cartoon directed the interest back to Charlie Hebdo itself rather than the issue at hand. In Per Marquand Otzen's case the cartoon has checked out from the daily in the foreground in which it was printed.

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

Friday, 15 January 2016

"I am the state!!!"

Misunderstanding as tactics.

Bonil, December 28, 2015.
- What will it be? Man or woman?
- I don't know... we must wait and see what it chooses on its identity card

Bonil... no, let us rephrase this since any problem in this matter has nothing to do with him nor does it stem from him. So: President Correa by way of the Supercom (the Superintendent of Information and Communication, which has had a highly questionable existence since 2013 of "correcting" opinions in the public) has filed a complaint against a cartoon by Bonil.

It is not the first time Supercom is on the loose nor is the complaint the first of its kind. It is an obvious piece of tactics to wear down the cartoonist and his employer alike, the daily El Universo and altogether place an exclamation mark above Bonil's head before he even puts pen to paper that his cartoons and with him cartooning per se are reprehensible.

In the present case the cartoon above is stated to exercise "discrimination, sexism and transphobia" against the Ecuadorean LGBTQ-community.

Said community is but three months old in Ecuador, established with presidential fanfare, the very same Correa, who can be heard railing against everything not heterosexual just about at all times such as here and here (The LGBTQ have the right to live as they choose as long as they choose to live according to his norms, as his rantings go) and so it would appear he is "supporting" and "protecting" them, when in reality they are in his pocket concealing phobia by way of propaganda.

The present complaint is but a staged misunderstanding to strike at the cartoonist and the press alike while backing the LGBTQ for show. All the while every party involved is aware that the noise is but a screen for something else. 

Victor Vélez, The authoritarianism has Correa, January 10, 2016
"I am the state!!!" -
 The Supercom is but a dog on a leash.

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

Thursday, 14 January 2016

On the Fifth Anniversary

The Trinity of Mother, Child and Padlock.

Today marks the fifth year of the Arab Spring and thus the countdown to the fifth year of Assad slaughtering his own countrymen. The padlock denotes action taken by way of securing that nothing has been done. Madaya is but one instance.

The screaming sickness of the yellow and the silence of the sharp angle to her chin evince the desperation.

Juan Zero, January 8, 2015.

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

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Many Happy Returns, Willis!

Tonight Willis of WillisFromTunis celebrates his first five years of existence. Not on the anniversary of the Arab Spring. Willis set out on the eve of it.

Nadia Khiari, Willis from Tunis;
Manuel du parfait dictateur,

Paris: Zélium, 2014.
Such five years it has been and to an extent that Nadia Khiari collected a stack of Willis' poignant utterances on leadership, elections, ambition, stupidity, and violence along with a multitude of egotism and published them headed by one-liners from statesmen of dictatorial kinship from Napoleon, Gaddafi and Margaret Thatcher providing insight for future aspirants.

Dictatorial behaviour is a instrument to be finely tuned in order to be obnoxiously at hand when lying in the face of facts and the manual proves Willis at his verbal heights. He takes on all opinions, stating them with a fortitude, which makes most dictators pale in comparison.

As a verbal being, his visual appearance is all the more unified. He is thickly contoured, proving by his figure alone the epitome of democratic, pluralistic dialogue. He began his life as Ben Ali and he has continued taking on the role of his own adversaries, belting out what politicians and Islamists alike would wish unsaid, just as he is Reason taking the necessary and courageous stand, speaking his heart directly. He never moralizes. He makes no claims for himself to be sensible of nature. On the contrary, he claims every right of being scared, drugged, drunk and going all out.

Willis is first and last the visualization of democratic debate.

Nadia Khiari, Willis from Tunis celebrates his 5-year birthday, January 13, 2015.
Willis is arguing that there is nothing to celebrate, all parts of life are corrupted and criminalized
to which he is asked, since he will then not want his beer, may the other one drink his too?

In the epilogue to the manual Nadia Khiari points out how we her readers might have been thinking all along how we live in well-functioning democracies: "I am sorry to give you such a brutal lesson". She tells us to look at the status of woman in the society in which each of us is living as the acid test. The day after the manual arrived, the gender equality in Denmark was reported to have sunk to a shameful 14th place in the world in 2015.

Such is the power of the Willis.

Friday, 8 January 2016

The Canvas of International Politics

Khalid Wad Albaih, August 27, 2015.

The pages of our history book have been predominantly green of lately.

Khalid Wad Albaih, March 26, 2015.
The old city in Sana'a has been targeted in the Saudi-Arabia's air raids on Yemen the past months and although we have yet to know the extent of destruction in Sana'a, its status as an UNESCO World Heritage Site accentuates how we have all been made targets in the Saudi-Arabian assault.

Consequently is the visual explanation at play here. Actions have consequences and as a consequence of being the symbolic face of the Saudi nation, the Saudi-Arabian flag forms the picture plane of recent cartooning.

In the first instance above, its responsibility for the fate of Sana'a has dragged it out of its formal proportions, while the ceremonial sword metamorphoses with the specific actions taken, i.e. bomb raids and OIL, the latter as the reason for everything. It can not least be turned against the Saudis themselves, with the Iranian violation of The Shahada for confrontation:

Khalid Gueddar, October 3, 2015.

Qua their symbolical import, flags are carriers of international politics. Stereotypical as they may seem, they work by being exactly that. As stereotypes they are of the willed kind as a canvas for aspirations, self-definition and showing off publicly and are as such open invitations for the cartoonist.

This is in stark contrast to stereotypes on humans or continents for instance. I for one hope never to see the ultimate stereotype of the African continent drawn again. That massive expanse of variety, where we humans shared our first foremother. To see it drawn as one piece of land, dragging in the entirety of nations to speak of the one thing, famine, draught or war usually, is lazy cartooning at its criminally worst. The expanse of land is exhibited as a unity: a singular, simple problem to the extent that is speaks only of the minds, which draw and refer to it.

Khalid Wad Albaih, January 4, 2016.

In comparison the present planes of green carry moral issues of international import. Lately on the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr (Nimr meaning tiger) in which the Saudi will have to reflect whether one is supposed to soil one's own flag. In fact, the ceremonial sword is failing the moral test of its reach altogether:

Khalid Gueddar, January 5, 2016.

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

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

11:30 AM, January 7, 2015

One line covers the full story. The sudden devastating silence and the noise that ensued. The impossible symbiosis of documentation and emotion was proven possible by Ida Felicia Noack.

Ida Felicia Noack, Charlie Hebdo, January 9, 2015.

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Ida Felicia Noack and must not be reproduced without her permission.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Blood Relations

In Nordic mythology Midgård i.e. Middle Earth is the home of mankind. 

It immediately came to mind seeing Khalid Wad Albaih's analysis of two main culprits in international politics these days. Not only is nothing left alive in the wake of their wobbly bulldozing stride. Between them they make clear what is human, what we value, what is life. 

They may fight each other as intensely as they desire; Saudi-Arabia and Iran are the extremes of the same roots. 

Khalid Wad Albaih, January 4, 2016.

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Khalid Wad Albaih and must not be reproduced without his permission.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Comics that Hurt So Good

Last year opened with a surprise of the best kind. 

Craig Yoe, Portrait of Louise, January 3, 2015.
Craig Yoe, April 24, 2015 comics frame
published on his Facebook wall
with the comment:
"When I experimented in high School"

Craig Yoe decided to take up his pen and begin drawing again and to this end he had placed our names in a fish bowl, taking out one name at a time to do our portrait in a sketchbook of new beginnings. 

It somehow happened that my name came out first and since I had of course not grasped what his choice of subject would be beyond that of drawing, the surprise was complete. To receive such a gift just as the year was taking its first steps. It was all the more sweeter as it transformed each one of us into a character of the comics world in which anything may happen to you. We were chimeras growing out of and into life forms beyond description spreading all over the picture plane, being greeted with happy exclamation marks while doing so. 

We were presented with the gift of becoming a frame of a comic album not quite seen before and yet so familiar all through half a century till now.  
Craig Yoe, Portrait of Ruben, January 3, 2015.
Craig Yoe is an author, editor, publisher and historian of comics and all of his professional skills has turned into a vast expertise with the creative energy of seeing and understanding the life of comics from within. 

Now, Craig Yoe specializes in a particular section of comics: That which we are not supposed to see. Especially not if we are vulnerable innocents. That part of the history of comics is probably the best known from when Fredrik Wertheim embarked on a crusade against the Seduction of the Innocent (1954) as became the title of his agenda and book alike. 

It was the time when the ever-ready fear of The Other was shaped by the Cold War, and everything could be declared to have a hidden agenda. So what was better than to wage one's own war, naming one group of innocents and another of debauchers and mount the white horse? The fine arts and literature too knew the courthouses only too well from the inside, when acquittal was for those works that could find a way to prove how they refined the human mind. As wonderful as it sounds, it is as questionable (and a matter for debate for 2000 years so far) and in Moominsummer Madness by Tove Jansson from that same year 1954, the stage rat Emma explains, what art is all about: 

"Theatre is the most important in the world, this is where we show people, how they could be and what they yearn to be, even if they do not dare to go there, and how they are". (LCL transl.)

- and you as reader take a second to sigh happily, oh, that is so sweet, they are all three in there: the "is", the "could be" and the "would be" in the one and the same explanation; only in the next line a frightened Moominmamma exclaims:

"But then it is an disciplinary establishment"

Craig Yoe, November 10, 2015, comics frame published
on his Facebook wall.
Frame from "Octopus Kings", Strange Worlds No. 2, 1950.

What was missing in Emma's explanation was of course not so much the three of them as the lack of their interaction with their beholder/spectator; it is not just about showing the world to him or her, but igniting and being answered back.

Which comics has excelled in making into a game for more than at century till now, playing with the literal such as the physicality of the human body. 

Craig Yoe, August 6, 2015, comics frame published
on his Facebook wall.
Losing face or saving face?
Transformations, mutations and metamorphoses playing on the literal since they were nowhere near being literal and to this end using figurative elements, which were easily recognizable, drawn with a craftsmanship of angles and shadows, which would make many a great artist blush with envy. 

The cleared head makes for an all the greater impact since his forehead was distorted in wrinkles and his shadow as busy in dense brush strokes. Not to mention her shock arrested in motion with every joint in her body in sharp angles. His nothingness is stark being the only spot of rest on the picture plane. 

The seemingly literal was a play on the thing-not-done, the importance of breaking up rules; anything was taken apart, crossing the expectance of the beholder, turning the screw every week. What is not to love?

An example of what to find among the Yoe Books. The worse the better, in this case THE WORST.

Craig Yoe and his wife Clizia Gussoni are a lighthouse of cultural historical dimensions. They restore the old albums and republish and researches into them through their own publishing house. The two of them are doing the job of an international institution. Not one of the disciplanary ones, but placing us in direct debate with the contents inside.

Not to mention actually placing us within a comics frame. It has been a year, but I for one am not going anywhere. I am staying put.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Addicted to the Line

Of course there is a rhinoceros present. At once possibility and fulfillment, this is a drawing on taking in, what its protagonist takes in, he himself made up by lines, agreeing on paper as in real time on the need for the drawn matter.

Note the tiny waves in the line, indicating the continuation of the pen. It is not just a line; it is a created one. An elephant can walk it.

We follow suit in the true meaning of "addiction": We surrender.

Víctor Vélez, Addicted to the Line, May 20, 2015.

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Víctor Vélez and must not be reproduced without his permission. This one and so many more of his art works are to be seen at Chubasco.toons.

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