The five episodes of Joann Sfar's The Rabbi's Cat (2002-2006), recently published in English translation in two volumes (2007-2008), and particularly the latest instalment of the series, Africa's Jerusalem, are rich in meta-narrative and meta-iconic elements. By staging various theological arguments about aniconism in Abrahamic religions, Sfar uses the comics medium to reflect on the prohibition of graphic representation in Judaism and Islam (following the Jyllands-Posten Danish cartoons controversy and the trial of the French satirical magazine Charlie-Hebdo ). He also distances his work from the usual Western stance on realistic mimesis and its pseudo-scientific epistemology by criticising the European constructs of race and exoticism. Between the anti-iconic prohibition of the East and the false iconicity of the West, Sfar finds a middle ground in the anonymous character of a Russian painter travelling through Africa in the 1930s, whose physical appearance and biographical background recall that of famous Franco-Russian Jewish painter, Marc Chagall. This article will explore how the painter's cultural hybridity and artistic idiosyncrasy allow Sfar to negotiate a perspective on graphic representation which resolves the problem of simulacrum as it is framed in this binary opposition. It will also discuss the manners in which Sfar borrows from Chagall's aesthetics and magic realism in the process, thus creating a new kind of image in the realm of comics.
The Politics of Visual Representation in The Rabbi's Cat
Meta-Representation and Magic Realism in Joann Sfar's Chagall en Russie
French cartoonist and filmmaker Joann Sfar has often used the comics medium to reflect on visual representation. His latest bande dessinée, Chagall en Russie ['Chagall in Russia'] (2010-2011), continues some of the meta-pictural elements previously found in his Pascin (2000-2002), which already featured Chagall in several episodes, as well as his acclaimed series, The Rabbi's Cat, where Sfar introduced the character of an anonymous Russian painter, whose biography and artistic stance seemingly referred to that of Marc Chagall. Although Chagall en Russie explicitly refers to the real-life Franco-Russian modernist painter, it is certainly not a standard biographical exercise. By offering a synthetic and often symbolic version of personal and historical events experienced by Chagall, Sfar takes certain liberties with the painter's life story as it was outlined by the artist (in My Life, his 1922 autobiography) and by many biographers and art historians. Sfar does not seek an authentic depiction of his subject's verifiable life journey, but rather views it through a metaphorical narrative, which is itself inspired by Chagall's artistic universe and raises questions about the figurative possibilities of comics.
Khayke Beruriah and Jeremy Schonfield
the translators), all complete with footnotes. It also includes a number of Marc Chagall’s illustrations to a volume of Dovid Hofshteyn’s poetry, entitled Troyer (Grief), published in 1922, as well as the original Yiddish layout of Hofshteyn’s poem
Some Comparisons on his Vichy Years with My Family Story
famous because of the cultural importance of the people his group saved: among them Hannah Arend, Marc Chagall, Max Ernst, Arthur Koeslter, Wanda Landowska, Claude Levi Strauss, Jacques Lipchitz, Alma Werfel, Golo and Heinrich Mann, and Max Ophuls. 30 But
A History of Changing Meanings in an International Context
Hanneke Ronnes and Tamara Van Kessel
in the Netherlands in 1958 for the recognition of significant contributions to European spirit and culture, was awarded in 1960 to Oskar Kokoschka and Marc Chagall for their enrichment and renewal of painting, “that inseparable part of Europe