Comic Links

21/10/2022 to 29/01/2023
exhibition hall "13"
Eva Bendová, Václav Šlajch
Marcela Štýbrová

A drawing is an essential part of the comics; a drawing, which, in sequences, creates a story, a visual narrative. A comic book author is, first and foremost, a figure cartoonist, he/she must be able to maintain a distinctive style, the atmosphere of the story in a pictorial narrative in a series of successive pictorial sequences. What have been the drawing characteristics of the distinctive Czech comics? How did the artists inspire each other? And does the published and popular outcome of the comics correspond to their own artwork? In comparisons of drawings and printed results, the exhibition will highlight the mutual inspirations and stylistic expressions of the distinctive cartoonists of Czech comics from its beginnings in the 19th century to the present day in a series of references (links).

The Comic Lines exhibition explores the influences, trends and connections of Czech and international artists across the history of comics from the mid-19th century to the present. However, the term ‘link’ does not mean just a mere line of drawing, but also a continuous connection of individual artists in time and space. The intention of the exhibition is to present concrete (apparent) examples of artistic influences – whether acknowledged (e.g., in the form of quotation, homage) or otherwise documentable. The exhibition will consist of four key ‘links’ of influence, referred to in the exhibition as the Saudek link (Link 1), the Lada link (Link 2), the Rapid Arrows link (Link 3), and the Busch-Tintin link (Link 4). Within each link, key artists will be featured either through their original artwork or through printed media, specifically published comics. The Saudek link will feature Jean Giraud (Mebius), Kája Saudek, Libor Páv, Jan Patrik Krásný, and Karel Jerie; the Lada link will feature Josef Lada’s drawings and Marek Čolek (Tin Can Forrest), the link referring to the phenomenon of Rapid Arrows and adventure stories will be represented by Jan Fischer, Marko Čermák, Bohumil ‘Bimba’ Konečný, Jiří Grus and Tomáš Staněk. The last link – the Busch one – will present lithographed drawings by Wilhelm Bush, printed works by Benjamin Rabier, Charles Burns, drawings and comics by Václav Šlajch and Tomáš Motal.

The exhibition will include both original comic sheets and samples from the period press (presenting specific examples of the connection) or prints by contemporary artists who work with digital media.

The aim of the exhibition is not to present epigones of the artists; rather than that, it aims to present artists who have partially incorporated the influence into their own distinctive expression. That is why, for example, Saudek’s ‘followers’ do not include names like Dan Růžička or Štěpán Mareš, who only have idly adopted Saudek’s style without further development.

Thanks to its professional focus, the author team has been able to cover both contemporary and historical drawing approaches and prints in the selected examples, including securing loans, both from institutions and private individuals, often the artists themselves.