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Hollie MacKenzie and Iain MacKanzie

In this article we focus on the potential for an alignment of certain feminist artistic practices and poststructuralist conceptions of critique that may enable ways of theorizing practices of resistance and engender ways of practicing resistance in theory, without the lurch back into masculinist forms of dogmatism. It will be claimed that an ontological conception of art, considered as that which makes a difference in the world, can not only challenge the primacy of the dogmatic and masculine ‘subject who judges’, but also instill ways of thinking about, and ways of enacting, feminist artistic encounters with the capacity to resist dogmatism. The theoretical stakes of this claim are elaborated through complimentary readings of Deleuze and Guattari’s constructivist account of philosophy and Irigaray’s feminist explorations of what it means to think from within the 'labial', rather than from the position of the dominant phallic symbolic order. We argue that this creative conjunction between Irigaray, Deleuze, and Guattari provides the resources for a conceptualisation of both feminist artistic practice and the critical practice of poststructuralist philosophy as forms of resistance to the dominant patriarchal order, in ways that can avoid the collapse back into masculinist forms of dogmatism. Revel’s discussion of the role of constituent rather than constituted forms of resistance is employed to draw out the implications of this position for contentious politics. It is concluded that constituent practices of resistance can be understood as a challenge to the phallogocentric symbolic order to the extent that they are practices of a labial art-politics.

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The Art of Slow Sociality

Movement, Aesthetics and Shared Understanding

Jo Vergunst and Anna Vermehren

This article presents reflections on the theme of sociality from a mass-participation art event in the town of Huntly in north-east Scotland in 2009. Drawing on Alfred Schütz's notion of the 'consociate' and related concepts, our efforts are directed towards understanding the nature of sociality that the event created for the people involved in it. We consider slowness as an actual experience through pacing and cadence, and also the tensions between experience and the requirement that art should have measureable impact.

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Michael D. Picone

Initially, being mass produced and sequential, comic art was excluded from fine art museums. Some comics artists themselves have expressed ambivalence about the value of inclusion (but counter-arguments are proposed, challenging the perception of incompatibility). However, a pivotal element in the break from the ranks of artistic modernism has been the appropriation of comic art motifs for use in museum-grade pop art, figuration narrative and their successors. In counterpoint, comic art is replete with examples of museum art being appropriated in order to obtain diegetic enrichment of various sorts, either for the purpose of parody or in relation to plot construction. Against this backdrop, and abetted by the twin challenge that art museums are facing to remain relevant and to increase revenue, a game-changing development is afoot, leading to a co-operative re-positioning of art museums and comics artists. With the Louvre taking the lead, many art museums in France and Italy are now commissioning works of comic art based on the museum's own collections, often launched with companion exhibits. The resultant 'art within art' lends itself readily to rich experimentation with themes incorporating intertextuality and parallel narrative.

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High Comics Art

The Louvre and the Bande Dessinée

Margaret C. Flinn

This article concerns the eight albums currently available in a series of bandes dessinées commissioned by the Louvre from established, well-respected bédéistes and co-published with Futuropolis since 2005. This successful, high-profile series has elicited positive critical response, but that response has also exposed persistent mutual antagonisms between bande dessinée and the establishment art world as represented by the Louvre Museum. These tensions between 'high' and 'low' culture can be read within the narratives of the albums themselves, in which we see reflexivity used to highlight bande dessinée's artistic value, and various types of obstruction and sensory impairments (realist and supernatural) are used to disrupt quotidian relationships to museum space.

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Comic Art and Commitment

An Interview with Morvandiau

Ann Miller and Morvandiau

This interview with political cartoonist and comics artist Morvandiau focuses mainly on his 2007 comic book D'Algérie. After the murder in 1994 of his Uncle Jean, a père blanc ['white father'] in Tizi Ouzou, along with three of his fellow priests, followed by the failed suicide of his father, a Pied-noir, eight years later, Morvandiau decided to carry out research into his family and its links with France's colonial adventure. Through the resources of the comic art medium, he was able to give form to a story which is both personal and public (Figures 1-2). The subtle and sober portrayal of his search for identity is contextualised by a highly absorbing panorama of political events. In the interview, he explains some of the aesthetic choices that he made, and discusses the challenges of working from documentary material, and how he drew on the resources of the medium to tackle issues of individual and collective identity.

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Bill Marshall

The welcome attention paid to Quebec in this issue of European Comic Art immediately points to a cluster of intellectual questions concerning identity, territory and academic discipline(s). What need was there for grouping a corpus, and analysis of it, according to this category, and what meanings are implied in that selection? And what problems are evoked by the adjective ‘European’? These are familiar questions to all those Quebec specialists working in French (‘and Francophone’) Studies, as well as, in my case, Film Studies. On the one hand, Quebec culture in all its forms of expression possesses a relevance and richness, due to historical and spatial factors I shall outline below, but is largely off the radar of the disciplines and sub-disciplines it could enrich. This is no more true than in French Studies, where it is difficult, but also necessary, topical (witness the continuing debate, five years after the manifesto, around littérature-monde) and urgent, to challenge the hierarchy implied in the centre and periphery generated by ‘(and) Francophone’. The challenge is to place Quebec in an endlessly comparative relationship with other French-speaking cultures, with other Atlantic spaces, in order to break down the barriers implied in an often ghettoised ‘specialisation’. Here bande dessinée scholarship has an interesting advantage, in that, despite the phenomenal cultural weight of the art form within metropolitan French life, a decidedly non-metropolitan space, namely Belgium, offers a central position. The opportunity is there to emphasise lateral connections that bypass as well as include metropolitan France, hence the work here on Tintin in Quebec. To an extent, bande-dessinée-monde, to coin a phrase, is already a reality.

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Antonio Lázaro-Reboll

This article traces the formation of comics art scholarship in Spain from 1965 to 1975. This decade witnessed the beginning of the study of comics as a serious object of cultural analysis. Reading formations surrounding the medium – in particular, historical and critical reading protocols – and a set of key critical debates were concurrent with the establishment and the development of mass communication studies as an incipient field of research in Spain in the mid-1960s. The aim of this article is to provide a close examination of the first generation of critics participating in and writing about the scene in relation to hitherto overlooked local and transnational contexts that shaped the constitution of the Spanish field of comics.

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The Art of Braiding

A Clarification

Thierry Groensteen

In this article, Groensteen sets out to clarify the concept of braiding, first elaborated (as tressage) in his 1999 work Système de la bande dessinée [The System of Comics]. He aims in particular to correct some misunderstandings that have arisen in the work of scholars who have taken the concept up. Not all comics deploy braiding, and in the case of those that do, it is quite possible for the reader to remain unaware of it (as s/he may be unaware of intertextual borrowings) and still find intelligibility at the narrative level. Moreover, braiding is always a supplement, never an essential element of the narrative (most repetitions are not instances of braiding, but have narrative functionality), and it must serve to deepen and enrich our reading of the comic. There are degrees of braiding: it can involve a small (a minimum of two) number of elements, or many more, and it can be more or less resonant for the reader. An early example, taken from Caran d’Ache, suggests that braiding was part of the medium’s formal repertoire from the outset.

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Learning from Greverus

Pathways towards Another Aesthetic in Anthropology

Judith Laister

The emergence of modern scientific thought has been characterised by a separation from the realm of art. Among others, German anthropologist Ina-Maria Greverus since the 1970s, in the context of the worldwide critique of the discipline’s formats, pioneered new approaches to articulate anthropological work and findings with and through artistic practices.