'From the Land Where the Word Balloons Throw Shadows': An Interview with Anke Feuchtenberger

By Nevins, Mark David | European Comic Art, June 2009 | Go to article overview

'From the Land Where the Word Balloons Throw Shadows': An Interview with Anke Feuchtenberger


Nevins, Mark David, European Comic Art


Abstract

Anke Feuchtenberger is a German avant-garde cartoon artist (b. 1963) with a strongly caricatural style. In this interview she discusses her childhood and education in former East Germany, historical influences upon her - including Rodolphe Töpffer - and current inspiration, as well as creational techniques and work in progress. In a further section the artist provides direct analysis of several of her publications.

The earthy and organic drawings of Anke Feuchtenberger suggest fecundity and sensuality by means of images that recall the masterful draftsmanship of Goya or Rembrandt crossed with the solid and magical primitive physicality of African or Indonesian sculpture and masks. Her oneiric comics are at times peopled by half-human characters, who might belong to some subterranean race, and at other times inhabited by figures of impossible beauty and grace. Feuchtenberger's stories tend to be closely controlled by an oddly detached narrative voice (only rarely making use of word balloons), and concern themselves with alienation, identity, sexuality, sexual politics, and the borders between dreaming and waking, civilisation and the wild. Her drawings are striking and utterly unforgettable; the comics themselves are virtuoso displays of narrative pace and timing; and she tells her stories with wit, irony and a probing feminine (rather than feminist) agenda that is tempered by the warmth of maternity. Feuchtenberger's work is captivating, masterful, and perhaps the closest thing to the transcendental possibilities of lyric poetry that comics have yet given us.

Born in 1963 in (East) Berlin, (East) Germany, Anke Feuchtenberger currently lives in rural eastern Germany and works in Hamburg, where she holds a professorship at the Fachhochschule für Gestaltung. In addition to making comics, she draws (often on a very large scale with charcoal, in a way that resembles painting), makes etchings and prints, produces posters, and designs puppets and theatre sets. Her major comics publications (some of them created in collaboration with poet and writer Katrin de Vries) include Mutterkuchen ['Afterbirth'] (1995); Der Kleine Dame ['The Little Lady'] (1997); Somnabule (1998); Der Palast ['The Palace'] (1999); Das Haus (2001); and three volumes in a 'series' about the character Die Hure H. ['W. the Whore'], the first two of which have been translated into English: Die Hure H. (1996); Die Hure H. zieht ihre Bahnen ['W. the Whore Makes her Tracks'] (2003); and Die Hure H. wirft den Handschuh ['W. the Whore Throws the Glove'] (2007). Her work has been published in German, French, English, Spanish,and Finnish, and she has exhibited widely in Europe and beyond.

Although not that of a caricaturist per se, Feuchtenberger's work fits in well with the theme of this issue of European Comic Art. Like the best caricaturists (including Rodolphe Töpffer, whom she cites as an early and strong influence), Feuchtenberger is a master at evoking personality through expressive and representational strokes. Whereas many caricaturists - such as William Hogarth, or Feuchtenberger's countrymen Otto Dix and George Grosz - depict their subjects' character, personality or even psychology in their likenesses, Feuchtenberger might be said to aim to capture her characters' and protagonists' emotions, internal conflicts or interior states. As an artist and a storyteller, Feuchtenberger strives to understand her, and our, emotions, hopes and fears through the power of the crisp and the smudged line.

Nevins: How would you describe your goals or ambitions as an artist? Do you have any sort of 'manifesto' or mission or philosophy?

Feuchtenberger: From the beginning of my time as an artist I felt a very strong resistance, almost physical, when I felt like I had to do something, or when someone asked or required me to do something that I was not myself convinced about. It felt like being ill when I was sitting in front of a piece of work that seemed to be stupid or senseless to me. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

'From the Land Where the Word Balloons Throw Shadows': An Interview with Anke Feuchtenberger
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.