Wednesday, 31 August 2016

The Commemorative Order of The Hanged

The bony hand of speaking his rationale and transforming his words into action, the result of which can be seen on his lapel. In fact, the Minister of Information was appointed Minister of Justice in Iran on the 25th anniversary of the 1988 prison purge massacre, in which thousands of political prisoners were tortured and/or killed. The exact number of victims is not known; it is estimated to be close to 3000-4000 human lives, guilty of nothing but speaking their mind.

Never acknowledged; crimes against humanity seldom are in spite of the determination of carrying them through. Which means Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi is deprived of the commemoration of the primary achievement of his professional life

This is a lack hereby righted by Mana Neyestani, letting the infinity of raw ink indicate Mr. Pour-Hammadi's third year in office as Minister of Justice. And counting.

Mana Neyestani, Honorary Medal for Mr. Pour-Mohammadi,
August 30, 2016.

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

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Then there was one, soon there is...

A daily with a strong profile can be recognized by its abundance of cartoonists employed. 

Jørn Villumsen, New Year 2015/16, Politiken thanking
its readers for a year of busy debate.
Or rather, it is the other way around. Where cartoonists are holding fort, the profile of their daily or magazine or whatever the platform is a strong one with a lively debate, which engages the public far beyond their own readers, these days often beyond boundaries too (and no, not necessarily in a wrong way) to be continued even in the history books of later ages. 

Such a place was Politiken. Now they have let go of Jørn Villumsen as one means of aiding their ailing economy. Will they really have us believe that measures of this kind will strengthen their position? Will they have us believe that new ideas shall spring from a dry pond?

Jørn Villumsen - the importance of culture
in speeding the recovery of the ill.
I know, I know, he is not the last cartoonist in the house, they still have great names indoors, but we do not know for how long, now that the exit door has been slung open. Besides, the administration has forgotten the importance of diversity. 

The cartoonists of Politiken have been interacting for a 100 years by now, playing to the strength of each other, at times they even popped up in each other's cartoons - and the readers still squeal with delight at the thought of it. Jørn Villumsen may furthermore be turn out to be the last of a long line of Politiken-cartoonists to play with letters for their graphical value. The importance of children to see language and ideas intertwined every morning cannot be exaggerated.

Let us part, though we shall certainly not part with Jørn Villumsen! - with an oldie on that insider lingo between the cartoonists and their readers of Politiken, bearing in mind, how cartoonists in countries of oppression sees us as living in a situation of economical censorship:
Jørn Villumsen, from a series of cartoons among the Politiken-cartoonists
when tattoos were at the height of fashion. This gentleman claims that a tattoo from Roald Als
gave him eczema and had to be moved to his behind, whereas cartoons by
Jørn Villumsen are known for their quality.
Oh, the cartoonists!

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

A Case of Laughter

Bonil, August 29, 2016:
The Ecuadorian President Correa is wailing, asking for action taken
to protect him in that his "inferiors" are contradicting him.

Bonil's cartoon below could be the epitome of the relevant reaction to most statements made in public space.

Yet, we rarely see a hearty laughter for a response in cartoons.

This Summer a representative of the Ecuadorian government expressed a desire for a law against demands placed by the opposition that the government curtail its bureaucracy. Such demands have a psychological effect on the government; it worries and it feels insecure.

In this instance the laughter is a contribution to the debate.

Bonil, July 19, 2016:

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

Monday, 29 August 2016

Oh, the Joy!

Happiness according to the Encyclopedia Cartooniensa:

Unity, symmetry and harmony in the complexity of the relation of two parties; the two at once contrasting and complementing each other.

It is consequently a condition of artistic complexity, contrary to the false belief of the art world outside cartooning.

Thus proven in form as in content by Omar Figueroa Turcios through layers of pattern, creating for a textured bubbling contentment through transformation, with that simple green line for complementarity.

One cartoon encompassing the all of Summer.

Omar Figueroa Turcios, Summer, August 2016.

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Omar Figueroa Turcios, and must not be reproduced without his permission.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

To be Erdogan'd

The role of the cartoonist is to make the comfortable uncomfortable, as Khalid Wad Albaih put it so eloquently on CNN this week, while being interviewed on his cartoon on the little boy from Aleppo, Omran Daqneesh.

The Uncomfortable share the fear of facets in points of view, resorting to the only answer they can think of and while we waited for news on the situation of Dogan Güzel in one of Erdogan's prisons, Bonil drew his support of a colleague in peril.

Bonil sees to that we sense the physical force hammering in from two sides, making us mentally strain to keep the two apart. Erdogan is personally leading the inquisition and he is risking that we shall be taking him up on his deeds, dedicating a new instrument of execution, this model for shaping heads in his name.

Furthermore, this is a pencil sharpener. In a cartoon with the pencil marks visible. Ergogan has another fear at hand unless he puts the sharpener down.

Last, but not least as Bonil underlines: Along with Dogan Güzel we must not forget his 23 colleagues, who were apprehended too during the raid on the offices of their paper.

Bonil, August 22, 2016.

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

Strange Creatures

Russia has killed 746 children in Syria since September 2015.

In fact, Russia and Assad's regime are responsible for 71% of all violations in Syria since the cessation of hostilities were meant to be in force in February as reported by Syrian Network for Human Rights (SN4HR).

The SN4HR reported yesterday that Assad's regime is still using chemical weapons, violating the Security Council Resolutions 2118 and 2209. 139 incidents have been reported after the Syrian government signed the agreement in 2013 as opposed to 33 before the resolution.

To the chilling facts is added the affirmation that state killing is indeed responsible for more lives than Daesh / IS. Russia has been using white phosphorus in Raqqa to detect the whereabouts of IS. Only, white phosphorus burns everything and everyone in its wake and Juan Zero has visualized the glowing dance of smoke screening one's actions:

Juan Zero, June 28, 2016.

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

You and I, Giotto

Kaja Meyer at Copenhagen Comics 2015.
Remember this budding artist in her own right,  Kaja Meyer looking at the posters created by contemporary cartoonists highlighting, what made their predecessors great?

It is high time for this blog to show the poster to the left of her, seeing even more posters are underway; all of them about to be turned into a book, which will make any coffee table worth its name sigh and collapse of joy.

Helle Scheffmann: Adolf Hallman, 2015.

Helle Scheffmann, detail from Adolf Hallman, 2015.
Helle Scheffmann creates landscapes worthy of the High Renaissance in which men and architecture alike emerge and are dissolved among one another. Her line is angled and edged, exposing, what has not been seen and cutting open, what refuses to see itself exposed.

She is a worthy heir of Adolf Hallman (1893-1968), who distillated cartooning to the simplest line. He would bare the paper beyond that sharp curve and it would contain the world.

To this end he turned to Early Renaissance artists such as Giotto for inspiration for the simplicity in his way of rendering figures and color planes.

Helle Scheffmann, detail from Adolf Hallman, 2015.

Giotto and Hallmann are equals on the picture plane and Helle is pointing to the important fact so often forgotten, when defining cartoon art that Giotto too had a boss breathing down his neck.

Enrico degli Scrovegni was paying his artist to create a chapel glorifying him for eternity in his name, the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua (ca. 1305). Hallman's editor at the daily Politiken is flanked by his renowned corner office, which overlooks - and is seen from - the Copenhagen Town Hall Square.

This way and for once, the editor got his portrait too, which is rather apt on this blog, since it was he, who engaged Valdemar Andersen in 1908: Henrik Cavling.

Helle Scheffmann, detail from Adolf Hallman, 2015.

The cartoon poster shown is courtesy of Helle Scheffmann and must not be reproduced without her permission.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

The True Face of Putin

The stark white noise of arrogant responsibility in confrontation with the silence of the boy, representing the 400,000 killed and counting in Syria.

Omran Daqneesh is as old as the war. Let his face be known as the true face of Putin.

Khalid Wad Albaih, August 18, 2016.

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

"Nothing has changed"

While we are anxiously waiting to hear news from the Spanish authorities on the situation of Dogan Güzel imprisoned in Turkey, it is sad to acknowledge the yet again.

Nothing has indeed changed as Firuz Kutal portrayed yesterday. In spite of the long and richly crooked tree of the press, the cartoonists and their creative and critical colleagues are as vulnerable as ever:

Firuz Kutal, Authors, journalists, artists, scholars etc. Nothing has changed,
August 17, 2016.

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

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Dogan Güzel- Updated August 21, 2016

Photo from CRNI

T-shirt torn. Dogan Güzel was arrested yesterday during the government raid on his workplace, the Kurdish daily Özgür Gündem in Istanbul.

This photo is a cartoon in itself. His dignity torn. It says it all about Erdogan's Turkey.

ETA: Güzel has had political asylum in Spain since 1999 and the Spanish authorities tells that he has not been indicted, nor has he said anything, but he shall be withheld until Friday. We will continue to follow his situation.

ETA August 21, 2016: Dogan Güzel was released after two days along with most of his colleagues, with the executives of their paper having to remain in police custody. They all stand accused of resistance, insult and aggression against authority. In other words accusations resisting their arrest, the situation of which is pretty much what is seen on the photo and speaks volumes of Turkey 2016.

The Tale of the Birds and the Bees

Birds and bees of August 2016. The one inviting to the union, while the other seeing to its consummation.

Two allies of Assad, finally doing openly, what has been known all along, when Russian planes were allowed to take off from within Iran to strengthen the impact of their bombing raids in Syria.

Note the angles of two lead characters coordinating to each other; the formal dressing containing within it the all of warfare.

Mana Neyestani, August 17, 2016.

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

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Those Fingertips

His fingertips are barely touching her shoulder, letting the golden chain glide over her body.

Their hands meeting by way of her catching onto the chain.

The silence of their union exquisitely detailed even at the very top of a cupola, hardly to be detected by the human eye. And yet, perhaps glimpsed as a promise of the wonders offered down below in the department store atop of which the cupola was built in 1910.

A section of Valdemar Andersen's monumental decoration of the cupola
in the building now known as Metropol-bygningen in Copenhagen, 1910.

The department store survived but a few years, but the cupola of Valdemar Andersen is still with us.

Art prevailed over commercialism and if that is not a moral tale?

All photos are by me.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Stendhal in Reverse

Resembling the drowned Ophelia by Millais, while insisting on submerging herself into beauty instead.
The frog telling her to do as Stendhal and go to Italy and not forget to send him a postcard.
Catherine Meurisse, from La Légèreté, 2016. 

Stendhal was exhilarated to a degree that he nearly fainted at the massive exposure of art when in Florence 1817.

For the already internally fainted then maybe art could be way out, as Catherine Meurisse seeks out in her La Légèreté, an intricate, detailed and - yes, beautiful - survey on seeking, searching, and consulting beauty as a means to find a way back to life following the massacre of her colleagues at Charlie Hebdo

Walking though exhibition rooms, which all seem grey and empty
to the mind, which cannot see nor remember.
Catherine Meurisse, from La Légèreté, 2016. 

Catherine Meurisse, from La Légèreté, 2016.

Luz drew his moving book on being turned inside out from mourning mere four months after the massacre. Catherine Meurisse has published hers 15 months after the fact with a many-layered tale on the delicately drawn figure, clad in the anorak, she wore on the morning on the massacre, where she overslept and arrived minutes after the Brothers Kalashnikov as she titles them.

She cannot escape her anorak as long as she cannot reconnect with her eyes. Fainted as she is from within, she then begins her quest to find beauty again, to re- herself to life.

Catherine Meurisse, from La Légèreté, 2016.

The red and blue wiring to her brain's two halves gone off.
Catherine Meurisse, from La Légèreté, 2016.
When everything seems to exist in a sphere in which she is no longer a member, walls of art exposes themselves in grey to her, except from that one painting on the pain she feels within.

And so she asks everyone on trauma, life and art: Friends, fictional characters, long dead authors, texting with Luz, seeing therapists, missing Elsa Cayat, who was murdered too at Charlie Hebdo, and who is dissecting the semantics of one of the Kalashnikov Brothers. In dialogue upon dialogue, Catherine Meurisse tries to re-wire her brain.

In the midst of everything else she has lost her personal freedom as well, being heavily protected at all hours, which prevent her from connecting to her fellow human beings. The felling of potential loves in her life is as funny as they are painful on the pages, and laughter and trauma walk hand in hand everywhere in La Légèreté.

She is an open, positive and inquisitive mind in the midst of her mourning and her very being highlights all that the murderers killed off.

Walking with Stendhal in Rome.
Catherine Meurisse, from La Légèreté, 2016.

Catherine Meurisse,from La Légèreté, 2016.

But she does battle on, insisting on plunging herself into art to find beauty, making herself one with the protagonist at the theatre, dissolving herself in music and entering paintings, such as Géricault's raft, walking inside and discussing with she, who found the massacred cartoonists on the day; the latter being the only one standing up in the room just as in the painting. Rescue seems impossible just as in Géricault and yet his men at sea were exactly that: rescued.

Catherine Meurisse, from La Légèreté, 2016.

She too unwraps herself from the anorak once again, but that is a tale, which must be read and especially seen in La Légèreté. Let us wrap up here with just another appetizer, her internal rebellion to emphasizing the portraits of the murdered cartoonists only, when it is their drawings we ought to see everywhere.

Why not, for instance, place the rebus by Honoré on the street corners in monumental scale? The rebus, the solution of which Honoré never told and which we shall never know now. Then our streets shall be filled with people in intense afterthought, playing with their minds in the most crooked of ways:

Catherine Meurisse, from La Légèreté, 2016.

Catherine Meurisse, La Légèreté, Dargaud, Paris 2016, to be ordered here.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

"And then there was light"

Valdemar Andersen, Poster for the Asta Lamp
"the only Danish metal threaded lamp, one thread drawn"
, 1912.
Shown with permission from Designmuseum Danmark.
I apologize for the poor quality of the photo;
it was taken by me for study purposes.

It so happens that two cartoonists unbeknownst to each other meet across the span of a century.

Guaico Caricaturista Grisales, New Generation, August 11, 2016.

In 1912 a critical voice was raised in Denmark against the artistry within advertising. Advertisements needed to concentrate on selling the actual item here and now and not aspire for eternity, it was stated. The very same year Valdemar Andersen drew the poster above, one of his very few on selling an actual item - a light bulb - as decreed.

Only, he did so with a broad grin, creating a situation of magic. The magician has a light bulb for head seeing that in Danish a light bulb shares its word with a pear, which in turn denotes a bright brain. We are in other words at the origin of light, created from within of the human body.

And now the lithely dancing legs and smile from within is passing on the torch to a new generation of light. The light within is leaking through in the contours of the older generation, accentuating the act of love.

Valdemar Andersen, Detail from the poster for the Asta Lamp, 1912.
Shown with permission from Designmuseum Danmark.
I apologize for the poor quality of the photo;
it was taken by me for study purposes.

The cartoon by Guaico Caricaturista Grisales is shown courtesy by its artist and must not be reproduced without his permission.

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