Sunday, 29 June 2014

The Iwo Jima Procedure


Fadi Abou Hassan, Extremist Islamic Ideology, 2013.


Humor is one of the first areas to be eliminated, each time a group of Self-Righteous of any kind takes over.

To that end the brain is conquered.

Humor is brainy, in other words. 

It undresses the violence that is the invasive procedure, when we are denied the freedom of thought, and as a consequence of the procedure, the risk the unthinking mind poses to our society.


Fadi Abou Hassan: Terrorism: Bomb Mind, 2009.


The cartoons shown are courtesy of Fadi Abou Hassan and must not be reproduced without his permission.


The Remains of Iraq


When we were very young, my Mother would put this type of images before us, making us follow how the snakes were intertwined with our fingers to make us understand the intricacy of the patterns created to play riddles with us.

She would be using reproductions of the imagery the Vikings did a 1000 years ago. Not that they had that many snakes around here back then either, but their art was influenced by what they had seen when traveling to Byzantia and doing trade or going ashore with less friendly intent on the shores of the Black Sea....

Khalid Wad Albaih, The Remains of Iraq, June 10, 2014.

Each player in the entanglement here has its reasons for disguising itself as a riddle, hiding behind the others, declaring those to be the guilty parties, such as the blue of Uncle Sam, the green of the Islamists, the oil as the constant accomplice each side seeks to win over, while all are partaking in the same game spelled out by the bones. All aspects of ISIS taking over Mosul into just the one image, a Khartoon made on the day of the invasion by Khalid Wad Albaih

For the past weeks, whenever I have come across another debate on the topic, this is the inner image I keep returning to. This is how and when imagery create our inner understanding, giving us the elements of a situation while not at all pretending to point to an easy solution. Or rather, the elements of the conflict are the elements needed to solve it, all of whom we now see before us.


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


Saturday, 28 June 2014

"If you are not skillful enough...


 .... to sketch a man jumping out of a window 
in the time it takes him to fall from the fourth storey to the ground, 
you will never be able to produce great works."


Annette Carlsen: Two Ping guests, of which the one to the right
went onstage to draw in a tribute to Rune T. Kidde.

- Our Exhibit No. A when proving the mastery of the cartoonist.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

"Now is the winter of our discontent"


- Piggu likes paintings of food

- There are not nearly enough paintings of food at the National Gallery of Denmark/Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen




Copenhagen has just had a very special guest from Finland. Piggu doesn't do direct speech, so the thing is to run in the trails of....






























Piggu is created by Jaana Suorsa, who gave it a fresh layer of pink for the occasion. Piggu's main features consist of two horizontal lines into which indignation is locked. 

Much as with Richard III's character in the words by Shakespeare, Piggu is determined to prove a villain or at least revel in brooding about the injustice inflicted upon it. In this case First World Problems caused by all others, always Those Blasted Others guilty of obstructing Piggu in reaching that glorious summer...

- I knew it!
- you only love me for my looks


- If only I could get married
Coming to Denmark, Piggu is rather the norm. 20 millions pigs, is it, which are being produced each year here? Which makes this a country with four times as many pigs around as humans. Pigs, or rather pork is being used as proof of otherness from the right wing parties, as if choosing not to eat pork is an act of hostility. 

The discontent of not being eaten is the one thing, though, of which Piggu has yet to complain.
An interaction of hands


Depictions of the interior of churches somehow suited Piggu to a degree that the painted room each time suddenly came alive. But we can quiet any anxiety on that account that Piggu has not seen the light. It will return to its native Finland as sunk in the horizontality of indignation as it left.



And so, by the time we returned to the entrance, Piggu was looking rather pale. A new layer of paint will be needed: Sorry, Piggu, my fault! Of course!

The drawings and photos shown are courtesy of Jaana Soursa and must not be reproduced without her permission.


Saturday, 14 June 2014

When Enough is Enough


The dignity of their elongated necks tells of women no longer accepting sexual violence of any kind. Their dignity is all the more momentous as Doaa Eladl has emphasized the body part that is our most vulnerable.


Doaa Eladl, June 12, 2014.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

The Ping Awards 2014


In Danish: Pingprisen 2014



Gaffer tape and a bucket. The essentials for drawing were uncovered last night at the Ping Awards 2014, celebrating the best of comics in Denmark. The tape is of course to tie oneself to the chair in order to get the drawing done. The bucket is the bonus to throw up in afterwards, embarassed at the threadbare humor.

The essentials were unfolded by Nikoline Werdelin, when she received this year's honorary Ping Award. In the 1980's she nailed the times in the four-frame comics format, went on to write drama and returned to create short stories in the comics format, which each time zoomed in on the vulnerability, hopefulness and pain of human interaction. My personal favorite is still the one on four octogenarians running off from their retirement home, tired of being treated as children, to embark on a new life in Sweden, almost getting caught at the bridge, when forgetting that Sweden abandoned left-hand driving in 1967. And now we shall eventually see what her next chapter in comics will be. Last night she visually constituted one third of a Trinity on Danish Comics along with the host of the evening, Anders Lund Madsen, and our Minister of Culture, Marianne Jelved, presenting the Ping statuette.





Co-host and co-organizer, Felix Rothstein, in between the statuettes. Three of them since this is the third year running of the Ping Awards.




Annette Herzog and Katrine Clante are seen below a page from their winning album Psst! in the category for children/the young...

An evening of joy and quick wit - is it true as it was stated that there is no such thing as a malicious comics artist? - in a concert hall crowded with comics artists, publishers, journalists and - cartoonists. For the first time an award was dedicated to a cartoonist. Apparently not to the delight of everyone, but presumably a matter of getting used to the idea. Nikoline Werdelin for one is a genuine example of transcending both fields in all she has created.

Last night Philip Ytournel was the first recipient of the Ping Award for cartoonist of the year, with a special mention of his 8-pages album on Kierkegaard. It was printed as a special section in the daily paper, and so spoken of in the weeks that followed that we for one had people who came by just to see it. Ours is quite worn, and beautifully so in the way the paper of a newspaper does, but please, please to all publishers out there: May it be printed as an (albeit slim, but visually dense) book soon!




All photos by Niels Larsen. His name must be mentioned, if the photos are reproduced.


Saturday, 7 June 2014

#illections - illegal - illegitimate


To round up the week, let us expose the stupidest of rulers: The one, who on the one hand sees to that his carefully choreographed portrait is seen everywhere. Only to forget the associated necessity: To take the setting into account in which it is seen:


Michel Kichka, And the Winner is..., May 29, 2014.

Any claim to legitimacy is instantly demolished, as diagnosed by Michel Kichka. His drawn analysis is all the more biting, as this photo was circulated a few days later:


Photographer unknown. Shown here by courtesy of Sherry Al-Hayek
from her Facebook wall, June 3, 2014.

The photo is actullay thought to be have been taken in 2000. With Assad père seen above to make the claim of a dynastic right, the confirmation is laid before us of the Assad-rule as a slaughter-house since 1971.

Michel Kichka, Charcuterie Basharie, February 11, 2012.


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

Thursday, 5 June 2014

"Moi, Président..."


 
Zwewla: Where is the Justice?
 Comparing the present regime to that of Ben Ali
- outside the Palace of Justice, June 3, 2014.
It is Constitution Day in my country, and since we last celebrated it, Tunisia has at long last and with many excuses for the detours along the way gained its own. At the time of its ratification on January 27, Nadia Khiari for one pointed how how in spite of the glossy surface, censorship was very much a reality in the new constitution. To put it short, artistis, authors and journalists will be working under the same conditions as Honoré Daumier in his day.

His publisher, Charles Philipon, ended in jail in 1832 and sadly the problem is already a very real one in Tunisia. The police is acting as if it is above the law, reacting nervously at at time of transitional justice, in the words of Tarek Alghorani. Journalists and bloggers have been arrested, and Zwewla is yet again facing possible legal action for having created graffiti on the subject on social justice.

- Are the walls more sacred that the physical dignity of the citizens? As aptly put by Ghassen Amami.

So let us mark this date with Nadia Khari's Willis of WillisFromTunis at his best. The string of drawings below were made for the documentary Artistes en Tunisie by Serge Moati for ARTE in May. The number of drawings alone turn it into a monologue, addressing the notion of freedom. Freedom equals responsibility, and it is a convenient excuse from a dictator - sorry, president - to claim to take on the responsibility to relieve his fellow men.

While the real cause for his behavior is of course fear, as Willis lays open. The tone and rhythm of each declaration bears a certain resemblance to the classic "Pretentious, moi"-joke of Fawlty Towers?



Me, President...
- I will find the ideal responsible to all your problems!
- It is "the others"!



Me, President...
- I will steal a lot from you!
- But, I will let you steal a little...



Me, President...
- I will do no brainwashing!
- No need for any brain!



Me, President...
- I will fully subsidize the artists!
- Because silence is gold!



Me, President....
- I will be a good dictator!



Me, president...
- I will be of the sort for you to be afraid of!
- So that you will forget that I am very, very afraid of you.



-  and so Zwewla may be next in line to the kind of treatment, with which journalists and even an defense attorney has been met with outside the court. The drawing below was published the day before the monologue above:


Nadia Khiari: WillisFromTunis, May 27, 2014:
The Ministry of Interior gives its excuses to the journalists, 
who were beaten by the police:
- come on, give us a kiss, and we shall speak no more about it...


A very special thank you to Nadia Khiari and Zwewla. See much more of Nadia Khiari in Artistes en Tunisie by Serge Moati for ARTE here.


Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Willis the Demonstrator


Photo: Sylvia Borel, May 30, 2014.
- courtesy of Sylvia Borel and must not be reproduced without her permission.

This is written in Copenhagen, placed in one of those countries in which about 25 % of the votes in the election to the European Parliament went to an extreme right-wing, anti-European party. Each of the "protester parties" seems busy claiming that it has nothing to do with its sister parties, obviously fearing exposure by the comparison. Among the rest of us discussing the alternatives, the students in France took to the streets in all major cities on May 29.

In Paris, a certain cat was spotted. Instantly recognizable in the photo above by Sylvia Borel. The young chose him as one of their voices, and he did proudly. Willis of WillisFromTunis by Nadia Khiari measure 18-20 cm. at the most on the print used, nor are his words readable from a distance, and still he is instantly recognizable, not only as Willis, but as an icon of dissent. He is open, confrontational, the embodiment of dialogue and thus of the right to always hear more than the one voice, even if the two are in accordance in this instance.

The manifestations addressed the hatred of Front National. The text on the banner to the left reads "Voting on Le Pen serves nothing / serves the Aryan", which is right in Willis' own league on the play on words. His drawing was made on the day of the election:

Nadia Khiari, WillisFromTunis, May 25, 2014.
- Front National has won 25 % of the votes!!
- Oh, s.... or rather the exclamation is untranslatable, please see the text below:

The exclamation is a take on one of his favorite pieces of swearing - Putaiiin!! Pétain was the French WW1 military hero, who was nearly executed after WW2 as a traitor having chosen the side, which for one saw the French Jews deported to the concentration camps. Pétain written with triple i's of course.


Photo: WillisFromTunis, June 3, 2014.

This is not 1968, but it is Paris in May with the greenery and the energy of the young on the right to dissent. In today's language we could say that this is the physical edition of the social media.


Dodo and the Dynamite Belts


Doaa Eladl, Stop Charcoal, April 23, 2014.
Doaa Eladl has created a trio of characters, consisting of Dodo, a bright girl, her worn-out father, who is put into his right place by his all-knowing daughter, and their cat, who usually has the last laugh.

They are poor, their clothes are mended, even the cat's fur has a patch sewed on and they are in every way in a situation in which Egypt of today is something that happens to them. An everyday life, which could cost them their lives. A blue sky is something they have to look up in books, while even the cat has its own gas mask.

Below is a tiny amount of examples of what her beholders hope will grow to a collection of many, many more. The storyline is perfect for the delicacy of her line with its rounded modulations. The line adds layers to the impact, accentuating for instance the rounded knees of Dodo's father, making it impossible for him to walk upright. All violence takes place outside the picture plane as in a play by Sofokles. In lieu the characters tend to be in constant movement, walking through the images, unfolding their trains of thought physically.

Especially one group of partakers should be noted: The Self-Righteous Bearded, who have obtained a new attribute: The dynamite belt. Their anger is now encoded into a tangible entity. Something which may easily go off, whereby the danger they constitute has become all the more evident.

The translations below are by Tony Daoud:


Doaa Eladl, February 14, 2014:

The politicians versus the Muslim Brotherhood.
Doudou's Father says to Cupid: "Please aim at their hearts, maybe... they'll love her a bit!!"



Doaa Eladl, April 4, 2013:
From the right:
Dodo to her father: "hurry dad there's a "bomb" at our door!!" 
Her Father: "Come on.. they only do that to "the police", cover yourself (when going to sleep) very well, Dodo."

In the next frame, after the explosion, Dodo says: "Daddy... next time cover it better"
- A sarcastic comment on the police targeted by the terrorists?




Doaa Eladl, April 9, 2014:

The first balloon to the right says: "To all terrorists"
The next one says: "Hug each other, kids" 
- Sadly the play on words do not translate well!



Doaa Eladl, January 24, 2014:

The man to the right is asking: "What time is it?" 
and the other answers: "5.45"


The cartoons shown are courtesy of Doaa Eladl, and must not be reproduced without her permission. A very special thank you to Tony for his translations!


Monday, 2 June 2014

The Ideal Creative Workplace


This is one of them. A cartoon demanding our attention. Unreservedly demanding us, and that on a Monday morning, which in this house was one of those mornings, where my Father bled from the intubation in his throat, and yet in the midst of the haste and the scare, I showed him the editorial page of today's Politiken: - You simply have to see this!

But how does it come about that something in two dimensions makes demands upon us, to a degree that we ought to discuss intention as an aspect of the artwork and not of the artist?

For one thing, this is the grand portrait of a potentate, a king within in his field. And secondly, we instantly recognize him as well as his face as a carrier of experience and a life lived to the full.

These are the two elements with which the drawing is laid out before us. The grandeur of the ruler is underlined by the confrontation of the black/white planes, creating stately, clear outlines. The white in turn is broken into by the sketcy lightness of the myriad of figures surfacing and again transforming into each other. With Per Marquard Otzen's trademark volutes, spiraling into eternity.

This is a portrait of Joe Cocker and the mental imagery he creates in us, how he transforms our idea of the world. Even on a Monday.

Ultimately, my words are but an excuse to give in and surrender to today's editorial drawing: You simply have to see this!

Per Marquard Otzen, Joc Cocker turned 70 the other day, June 2, 2014:

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