Angoulême, 30 January 2013, Art Media Agency (AMA).
The Festival International de la Bande Dessinée in Angoulême celebrates its 40th edition! It is an exceptional meeting for cartoons’ amateurs and fans, that for many years was devoted to spreading the 9th art, always putting in the spotlight not the cartoons characters, but the cartoonists themselves.
To celebrate this anniversary, no self-compliment: an exhibition titled “Mickey&Donald, tout un art…” (the art of Mickey&Donald) will be held from 31 January to 3 February 2013. The event emerged from a desire to “revisit cartoons’ foundations, said Benoît Mouchard, the Festival’s Art Director, and amongst them one finds an essential pillar of Mickey and Donald”. To respect the Festival’s spirit, the exhibition will reveal artists that branded each decade of cartoons’ history, from 1930s to nowadays, under the Disney label: from Floyd Gottfredson to Kari Korhonen and Silvia Ziche, without forgetting Carl Barks, Romano Scarpa or Don Rosa.
Each of them adopted Disney codes overstepping them to give this unique world their own touch and make univers of Disney evolve. Affiliations and respect of one towards another is so great that some play with these sentiments, quoting their collegues, integrating their predecessors’ motives in their own creations, notably Don Rosa vis-à-vis Carl Barks. Editors developed cartoons in Europe, settling down primarily in Italy and Scandinavia, allowing themselves great liberty: “Scrooge Mc Duck was invented by Carl Barks and Walt Disney found out about it only three years later! reveals Benoît Mouchard. This shows the great confidence Disney placed in his cartoonists and scriptwriters. Carl Barks developed the univers of Donaldville and the characters of Beagle Boys, Magica De Spell, Scrooge Mc Duck, Gladstone Gander – Donald’s cousin who always has luck and Gyro Gearloose. There was no censorship nor directive”.
This exhibition is as well an opportunity to show how strong was these creations’ influence on other cartoonists. “A comic author, such as Lewis Trondheim, who twenty years ago was considered an underground artist, certainly read Mickey Parade when he was a child! continues Benoît Mouchard. One can feel it in his series Donjon. On the other hand, Zep does not hide his admiration for Claude Marin – French Mickey drawer. I think this heritage is now self-sufficient and it was necessary that the Festival “marks” the great cartoonists who worked for Disney label and who now embody the history of comics”.
This influence goes beyond the 9th art for contemporary art took over Disney characters in the 1960’s, notably with Pop Art and Narrative Figuration, with a noteworthy case of British artist Eduardo Paolozzi in 1948. Mickey in particular became an icon of America, capitalism, overconsumption, as well as political criticism in Bloody Comics, Chili by Bernard Rancillac, where Chilean Generals overthrown Salvador Allende in 1973 wearing mice and ducks masks, disclosing Nixon’s support for the Chilean military forces. This versions and diversions of Disney’s characters will be clarified during the conference led by journalist and critic Alexia Guggemos on Thursday 31 January at 12pm.