Saturday, April 30, 2011

Nos Tocó Hacer Reír

I’m going to go ahead and say it. "Nos Tocó Hacer Reír" is probably the best panoramic of Argentine comics that I will ever see in my lifetime. The exhibit was the perfect combination of history, politics, and culture that exists so fluidly in Argentina. Original work by contemporary and historical comics creators was divided into three themes: “Nunca Más,” “Fundaciones, Tierra, y Urbe,” and “Dónde Está Oesterheld?”.

The exhibit “Nunca Más” dealt with a number of political themes including poverty, exploitation, and the dictatorship. The constancy of these preoccupations is seen in their occurrence throughout all eras of Argentine history from the late 1800’s to the present day. However, the thing that most caught my attention was not the content of the work, but the curation. The drawings were grouped according to both political message (i.e. hunger) and image.

For example, this series had hunger/ inflation as a theme. The transition from hunger (left) to inflation (right) is achieved through grouping together characters with open mouths.

Grenet, Julio Málaga, "El pan se fue a los nubes," 1917; Cao, José María, untitled, 1911; Venturi, Franco, "En este país todavía se come," 1969; Palacio, Lino, "La inflación," 1971

This series, in contrast, is not bonded together by a common theme, but by airplanes.

“Fundaciones, Tierra, y Urbe” (“Foundation, Land, and Metropolis”) presented various images of Argentina’s interesting history and diverse territory. The groups were more intentional, with each section bearing the name of the sort of images it contained.

“Urbe” contains images of life in a big city. Although Argentina is a relatively large country, most of the citizens live in cities. Thus, urban life is very much ingrained in the mentality and culture of the Argentines. Some of the themes presented in this show were soccer, architecture, tango, and human interactions.

The middle of the room was filled by a timeline comics. I loved looking at how the different styles developed throughout the 200 years of Argentine history. The comics shown in the Peronist Era (see below) were mostly modern comics (Dora by Ignacio Minaverry), which makes me wonder if that is the period most often recreated by contemporary authors.

“Dónde Está Oesterheld?” was the mandatory tribute to Héctor Germán Oesterheld, the father of Argentine comics murdered during the military dictatorship. We read and talk a lot about his work in the “Artes Secuenciales” class, so it was nice to see pages from some of the comics we have been examining.

I wish I could tell you all to go to “Nos Tocó Hacer Reír,” but the exhibit was taken down at the end of April. It was shown in Frankfurt last year, so hopefully it will be presented in other corners of the world. Chicago, maybe? Fingers crossed!

1 comment:

  1. ;-; awww yo no pude entrar por el documento, que mala suerte ;_________;