Special envoy to Angoulême
All good things come to an end. The 51st Angoulême International Comics Festival ended on Sunday January 28, after four intense days of meetings, discoveries and exhibitions. Among the latter, let us cite the magnificent one devoted to the sword manga The Inhabitant of the Infinite by Hiroaki Samura, the two proposals on the theme of bloodsuckers (“Requiem, vampire knight” by Olivier Ledroit and “Dracula, immersion in darkness" by Shin'ichi Sakamoto), one in honor of Nine Antico and another, outdoors, on the diversity of Canadian comics. From Monday, it will no longer be possible to discover them.
On the other hand, a certain number of installations will remain accessible for several weeks, or even several months. For frustrated festival-goers or regretful absentees, here are seven highly recommended exhibitions to catch up on.
As is customary, Riad Sattouf benefits this year from an exhibition as the Angoulême Grand Prix of the previous edition of the festival. This very general public installation invites the visitor to immerse themselves in the world of The Arab of the Future, an immensely popular series completed in 2022. The emphasis is particularly placed on the dual culture of its author, half-Breton, half-Syrian , thanks to numerous everyday objects, but also touching childhood photos (yes, little Riad was really very blond, like in the comics).
If the numerous drawn sequences are generally enlarged reproductions, some interesting originals dot the course: extract from the storyboard of The Arab of the Future, high school drawing in the style of Mœbius, original cover of The Poor Adventures of Jérémie, large illustration by Pascal Brutal ... The autobiographical angle of Riad Sattouf's masterpiece makes it possible to broaden exposure to the influences as well as to the rest of the designer's (and director's) career. The touching text of thanks to Guy Vidal de Dargaud, the first publisher to have signed him a complete author's contract, allows us to observe his very beautiful rounded script writing.
Finally, in a very educational video, the artist explains how he works on a graphics tablet. Something to interest children and adolescents dreaming of entering the profession.
Until May 5, at the Vaisseau Mœbius
It was the first stop of the Minister of Culture Rachida Dati during her visit to the festival and, indeed, “Catching the race” is worth the detour. This is the first exhibition in Angoulême by Lorenzo Mattotti, a 70-year-old Italian artist who worked for L'Écho des savanes and Métal hurlant in the 1980s, also known for his covers of the New Yorker and the making of the wonderful film animation The famous invasion of the bears in Sicily in 2019.
As part of the “Cultural Olympiad” ahead of the Paris Olympic Games, the exhibition presents a vibrant collection of sketched, drawn or painted runners. The visitor is invited to follow their movement along a guided route with multiple branches. The formats and techniques vary, in black and white or in color, notably pastel. Texts by Maria Pourchet on large panels bring an appreciable literary dimension to the whole, even if the poetry of the images is sufficient in itself.
Until March 10, at the Angoulême Museum
“Moto Hagio, beyond genres” was probably the most anticipated exhibition by festival-goers, with its 163 original plates from Japan covering an immense career from 1969 to the present day. Many foreign visitors had made the trip, gushing in English or Spanish at the expressiveness of the faces, the grace of the postures, the audacity of the exploded compositions. At Moto Hagio, beauty is everywhere, whatever the genre of the characters or the stories, however dark they may be.
The textual accompaniment deciphers the construction of the plates and the use of metaphors, sheds light on the editorial context and provides numerous biographical elements, supporting quotes. Browsing this retrospective reminds us that the vast majority of Moto Hagio's manga have never been translated in France. After a long period of scarcity, things are nevertheless changing: three new Akata releases and a double Glénat reissue were released in January alone!
Until March 17, at the Angoulême Museum
Also read: Moto Hagio, the queen of manga, finally celebrated in France
At the Paper Museum, the thematic exhibition Adolescents at War highlights three recent albums from the Aire Libre collection by Dupuis: Madeleine, resistance by Dominique Bertail, Jean-David Morvan and Madeleine Riffaud, The Ivy and the Spider by Grégoire Carlé and The Fight of Henry Fleming by Steve Cuzor. Each comic has its own space with a specific color (blue, green or gray).
In the first room, the many original boards of Madeleine, resistant, emerge from a bluish darkness, conducive to immersion. A film projected on a large screen shows in accelerated fashion the fascinating inking and painting work of Dominique Bertail. The next, brighter area focuses on another story of resistance from the Second World War, The Ivy and the Spider, in magnificent colors. The third part, The Combat of Henry Fleming, a black and white dive into the Civil War, grips the visitor just as much.
Very informative, the exhibition takes care to associate an analysis or a commentary by the artist below each (double-)plate, thus constituting a real making of.
Until March 3, at the Paper Museum
This exhibition runs until November, and we understand it. Take a bite! shows that food is closely linked to its time and that its rituals say a lot about our society. Logical, therefore, to find it in numerous fictional comics, from Asterix's wild boars to Naruto's ramen, but also in reality, within reports or intimate stories.
Very generous in terms of original boards (Uderzo, Taniguchi, Blain…) and scenographic finds, Croquez! opens with a guessing game where you have to associate a food with a character. Throughout the course, the sense of smell and touch will also be used. Something to entertain the children, who will also find some of their favorite characters, notably Magda and Sanji from One Piece (not forgetting Chipo the sausage). To make older children smile, an olé olé space, still on the culinary theme, is hidden behind a wall pierced with holes.
Note that the Bouchées doubles book sold on site is not a simple exhibition catalog since it takes up and develops the last part of the exhibition devoted to “foods of the future in comic strips”. It compiles 14 comic strips created by as many designer-chef pairs, notably Coco and Bertrand Grébaut, Sole Otero and Mauro Colagreco, Jean-Louis Tripp and Jérôme Ferrer. Yum.
Until November 10, 2024, at the Comics Museum
Winner of the Goscinny Prize in 2023 for Cauchemars ex machina but also a comics historian, Thierry Smolderen has designed a rather astonishing exhibition to explain to the public behind the scenes of the screenwriter's profession. How to make a universe or a plot believable? By what concrete mechanisms can we capture a reader’s attention? The opportunity to discuss big names like Mœbius and Hergé, but also to review the career of Thierry Smolderen. The latter gives pride of place to genre comics (science fiction, thriller, espionage, etc.) and is rich in multiple collaborations with designers with very distinctive styles. What a pleasure to discover original boards from his first series Hybrides with Séraphine, from Gipsy with Enrico Marini or even from Convoi with Philippe Gauckler, who anticipated massively multiplayer video games and virtual reality as early as 1990!
Until May 5, at the Vaisseau Mœbius
For comic fans curious about emerging talents or works in progress by more established artists, Avenir is worth the trip. Within the House of Authors, which has hosted more than 400 artists in residence since its creation in 2002, visitors will be able to discover the “2023 vintage”, namely 47 creators from all over the world (Chad, Chile, Lebanon, Poland, etc.) .
Le Figaro was happy to find intact the sense of perspective of Léa Murawiec (Le Grand Vide) and the visceral darkness of Aniss El Hamouri, whose second volume of Ilsburnent will be released this year. A dedicated space allows you to read in full comics from 2023 produced “in whole or in part during a residency”, notably Hanbok by Sophie Darcq, special Fauve of the 2024 jury, and Des mals à dire by Bea Lima, France Télévisions Audience Prize 2024.
Until February 25, at the House of Authors