“This exhibition is not revenge” | EUROtoday

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EFinally in his factor! More than a yr after the lurid affair that tore the world of comics aside and past, Bastien Vivès returns to his first and real love: drawing. The peak of irony is that this return comes by means of an exhibition though it was a retrospective dedicated to his work, deliberate for the Angoulême Festival in January 2023, which brought on the earthquake that we learn about. Furthermore, if we can’t essentially converse of a sneaky return, because the setting of the Huberty & Breyne Gallery, within the coronary heart of Brussels, is majestic, holding such an occasion would in all probability have been unimaginable in France , because the title of Bastien Vivès, in his personal phrases, remains to be “radioactive”.

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Alain Huberty, one of many two homeowners of the premises and a fervent fan of the work of Bastien Vivès, most well-liked, curiously, to not categorical himself, referring to a press launch which mentions numerous pressures exerted on the gallery, together with one petition calling for the exhibition to be cancelled. The Child Focus Belgium affiliation, requested by the authors of the petition, got here to look at the content material of the exhibition and “found nothing to complain about,” laughs Bastien Vivès.

No, the drawings on show “do not glorify either the sexual abuse of children or incest”, notes the press launch from the gallery, which intends to “raise the question of our relationship to the image and the border between fiction and reality », a key issue in the proceedings brought against the designer in France.

This did not prevent a small number of demonstrators from seeking to disrupt the opening of the exhibition on Thursday evening, shouting “No showcase for Vivès” or “We can’t stand a society that tolerates this anymore”. But Bastien Vivès has now seen others: “The gallery held on,” he congratulates himself, “even if we had to elbow our way in to get in amid the insults and whistles! » The 40-year-old author is above all relieved to become again what he has always been: a gifted designer, admired by the public and his peers – at least, some of them. “This exhibition, where there are four or five pieces which were to be presented in Angoulême, is not a revenge,” he desires to emphasise. But I needed to point out what I’m. The case that considerations me additionally revealed that some folks within the occupation noticed me as an imposter. »

Aptly titled “Heritages”, the exhibition concentrates round fifty splendid watercolors, which mix homage to the nice masters of comics and popular culture who nourished the creativeness of Bastien Vivès and testimony to the traumatic expertise lived by the writer over the previous few months. “As someone who has been working on a tablet for a very long time, I wanted to return to an organic contact with the board to rediscover the pure pleasure of drawing and gesture. Watercolor has something very soft, which goes well with humor. »

Exorcism and censorship

The exhibition also provides a rather scathing refutation of those who accuse Bastien Vivès of inconsistency, irresponsibility and a total lack of reflexivity in what he draws. The eternal adolescent has given way to a wounded artist, but who has chosen the path of humor and intelligence to purge sad passions and resentment. The two Nazi enemies of Indiana Jones who liquefied in front of the Ark of the Covenant in The Raiders of the Lost Ark break down this time when reading… Little Paulone of the comics at the origin of the author's misfortunes.

The famous scene of The Exorcist who saw the little girl possessed by the demon rising above her bed is diverted to make a reading of… Billy and Buddy the origin of evil! “I used a lot Billy and Buddy in these watercolors, because it is a work which constitutes for me the zero point of comics. That is to say, if we find fault with it, no one is safe. However, I came across a video from 1974 where Roba, the author of Billy and Buddy, complains about the dangers of censorship and animal rights associations who harass him for what he allegedly does to dogs and turtles in his books! So what is happening to me, on another scale, is not new. At the same time, it is more than worrying that we are still here today. »

On another watercolor, Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford who were investigating, in The President's Men, on the Watergate affair are faced with a wave… of canceled works! “OK, then from cancel we have: Billy and Buddy, Leonard, Gil Jourdan Calvin and Hobbes cancel too. » “It’s going too fast,” Redford’s character notes, panicked. Vivès even created the duvet of an imaginary comedian e-book sequence for the event, The Wokeson which a gang of children on scooters flee with a statue of Napoleon that they’ve simply demolished.

READ ALSO Bastien Vivès, the canine Messi and demiseThe designer presents his affair extra immediately by depicting a fee of inquiry whose members are very significantly reflecting on the items of proof that are the disproportionate penises and the massive breasts current in Little Paul. Bastien Vivès additionally doesn’t neglect to mockingly salute the success of his “adversaries” after the Angoulême Festival's refusal to current its exhibition, by pastiching the Babar by Jean de Brunhoff. We see the inhabitants of Célesteville gathering in entrance of drawing boards with this caption: “Fortunately, the exhibition was maintained at the big Célesteville comic strip festival and everyone was happy about it. »

Educate in drawing

But, as Bastien Vivès says, he did not design this exhibition as revenge, but as a reflection of the open look he has on his work and the function of drawing. These young women who proudly display “Je suis Charlie” t-shirts or crop tops query the standing and which means of this slogan immediately, notably amongst new generations with heightened sensitivity and studying grid. unsure.

Another illustration reveals youngsters seated quietly in a museum, considering works populated with nudes, lascivious poses and homoerotic scenes from Antiquity, below the gaze of a younger information who awakens them to this world.

In one other, we see, misplaced within the very stylish stands of a tennis match, two youngsters who flip away from the present to focus on studying the… Click from Manara.

But one plate, current within the exhibition catalogue, is conspicuous by its absence. It is a tribute to Marcel Gotlib through which a younger mom performs along with her baby after having taken a shower with him, earlier than realizing, frightened, that the charming toddler has a… vigorous erection. And the mom gave him a powerful spanking.

“This is one of the boards that I took as it appears in a Gotlib album, Rhââ Lovely. That the gallery was careful not to exhibit it says something about our times. We can deplore this reality, but it is ours today. I will always be the judge of what I should or should not show, and, if we have to go back to the 1960s, the artists will do it, because we are always able to adapt. But it will be sad. » In the meantime, we must rejoice in this flamboyant and laughing kaleidoscope, which the locals of the stage, René Magritte and Marcel Broodthaers, would not have denied.

“Bastien Vivès. Héritages”, Galerie Huberty & Breyne, Brussels, from April 12 to May 11.