Monday, 11 April 2016

"Of bodies changed to other forms I tell"


Angel Boligán, Stoning, March 5, 2016.


When future history books on cartooning shall be written, grand master Daumier will have a new companion by his side.

Angel Boligán is to the late 20th and now 21st centuries, what Daumier has been since the 19th. The influence of Boligán cannot be exaggerated. It is to be detected everywhere in the works of his colleagues and much more intensely so than we can even discern today.

Angel Boligán, Populist government,
February 26, 2014.

Boligán holds his pen at the far end while working forth his idea, giving him room to work loosely, while using his pen as a camera; sliding over one angle here onto another which in turn may be exaggerated, creating for a number of angles incorporated into a sweeping camera move for the spectator to embark on upon seeing his work.

One instance of color here and another placed precisely there may serve to focus our attention, such as the dotted bloodlines as seen above: The stone in art and stoning, death penalty and the eternal life of the sculpture, surviving millenniums in its headless state, solid substance about to take off, she, the goddess of victory.

Speaking across centuries, her headless neck voices the pain beyond the individual; of the wrongdoing man does to man.

Boligán chooses the universal for the specific with no need for words or portraits. The full story literally unravels itself before us by way of the human body. The body is fluid of character, constantly undergoing metamorphoses, at times being joined to the next being, or it may be dissolving before us if not sprouting metal parts.

Angel Boligán, The era of isolation, August 24, 2014.



We have before us the Ovid of our age. This time telling his tales in imagery.

"Nothing retains its form; new shapes from old Nature, the great inventor, ceaselessly contrives", as Ovid wrote two millennia ago.

Angel Boligán, The Puppet of the Winds,
April 25, 2015.

Ovid unfolded the life of man through the tales of the gods, seldom wise, but demanding, jealous, greedy, passionate and by attempting to reach each their desired goal, a transformation was put in motion. Boligán tells us of environmental unbalances, of despotic rule, of consumerism, of corruption and young demonstrators being abducted and murdered. All that eats us or by which we let us get eaten.

Yet, he is no political cartoonist. He is a political agnostic in his own words, nodding a polite yes to this side and to the other if caught up in a discussion. His perspective remains the universal; never the who in power as what power does to us, forcing and being forced, or adapting itself and in all of this seeking out the human within the human form.

The forceful may be present in the sleeve of a jacket, the solidity of which sets off the cartoon, but the protagonist is the immaterial: Our spirit and with it our dreams, longing, love, hope, all that encompasses the notion of life. Power attempts to get to it, still it ultimately defies incarceration, resisting even definition.

Yet, Boligán has in fact given freedom of thought and speech a corporeal presence. Humans are capable of growing wings in his work. Those majestic new limbs rising from behind, speaking of the strength of our inner spirit as in the woman in the drawing below, having used her all to be no longer held back by the violence of technology and politics.

She is another monumental figure in a monumental oeuvre. Boligán is the muralist among cartoonists; his is the public art speaking in the clear lines to be seen from afar. His horizons curve with that of the earth.


Angel Boligán, January 15, 2014.


One of my most treasured moments of cartooning is sitting next to Boligán while he was drawing, describing as he went along why this curve and how this twist, making the content one with the form.

The ultimate metamorphosis in his art is his pen, the graphical expression making true the words of Svetlana Alexievich in her Nobel Banquet Speech 2015:

"The purpose of art is to accumulate the human within the human being"

Angel Boligán, January 12, 2011.



The cartoons shown are courtesy of Angel Boligán and must not be reproduced without his permission.



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