Angoulême, 2009

By Beaty, Bart | European Comic Art, June 2009 | Go to article overview

Angoulême, 2009


Beaty, Bart, European Comic Art


It is possible that, years from now, we will look back on the 2009 iteration of the Festival International de la Bande Dessinée in Angoulême as the launch of an important direction in moving comics off the page. So much of what was compelling about this year's version of the festival had little to do with traditional conceptions of comics as a print-based or literary form, that it is not out of line to suggest a change might be in the air for the art form as a whole.

Significantly, among the highlights of Europe's largest and grandest annual comics event were the live performances that introduced cartoonists to contemporary musicians and performers. Angoulême has been featuring concerts de dessins for several years now, during which comics are drawn live on stage to musical accompaniment. This year, in addition to those performances, two notable events (each co-sponsored by Les Inrockuptibles) took place in the town's theatre: Arthur H. performed with artist Christophe Blain, and Rodolphe Burger worked with Festival co-presidents Philippe Dupuy and Charles Berberian.

Similarly, two of the most talked-about exhibitions of the Festival defied the easy traditions of comics display. Winshluss, who would be rewarded on the last day of the Festival with the Fauve d'Or for his book Pinocchio (Albi: Requins Marteaux, 2008), was the subject of a major retrospective. Several years ago, Winshluss was one of the driving forces behind the Musée ferraille ['Scrap-Metal Museum'] exhibition, a tour de force of imaginary history that was a high-water mark for innovation in the presentation of comics art. This year, he went a very different route. Having co-directed, with Marjane Satrapi, the Oscar-nominated animated film Persepolis, Winshluss turned his eye once again towards film, spending the money allotted to the exhibition on a full-length liveaction feature zombie film, entitled Ville molle ['Droopy Town'], starring the likes of Jean-Christophe Menu and Blutch. A selection of his original art was then presented in conjunction with some of the sets and props from the film.

Another, more controversial, exhibition was included in the Dupuy-Berberian retrospective at the recently re-named Cité Internationale de la Bande Dessinée et de l'Image (CIBDI). Florent Ruppert and Jerôme Mulot organised a maison close, or brothel, in a single red-velvet-walled room. …

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