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German comics go on display

Update: May, 11/2013 - 08:45
Vuong Bach Lien
Comic creations: The exhibition provides insight into the diverse world of German comic art.

HA NOI (VNS)— Nine-year-old Tran Nhat Phuong looks intently at the pictures of the short-sighted hare named Supa Hasi. She scans the text below and bursts out laughing as she reads a funny conversation between the hare and his friends.

Supa Hansi, the clumsy yet loveable creation of German artist Mawill 10 years ago, is among hundreds of other characters starring in a month-long exhibition featuring German comics in Ha Noi.

The show, titled Comics, Manga & Co: the New Culture of German Comics, will run at the Goethe Institute, 56-58 Nguyen Thai Hoc, until June 2.

The exhibition has been touring international branches of the Goethe Institute since May 2010. It arrived in Ha Noi on Wednesday, promising to provide an insight into the diverse world of German comics.

It presents two generations of artists: the avant-garde that paved the way for the emergence of an independent culture of German comics, and a generation of younger comic artists whose work embraces new aesthetic and narrative aspects.

Visitors to the show can read Vietnamese translations of extracts from 55 cartoons created by 13 artists and see the diversity for themselves.

The comics on display include autobiographical, surrealist, historical and fantastical narratives, comic reportage and literary adaptations. They have been created on a wide variety of surfaces, from computer screens to scratch boards, and are drawn in pencil, ink or charcoal, among others.

One of the highlight of the exhibition is the cartoon Alpha, created by Jens Harder, which detailed the period from the Big Bang through to the appearance of the first hominids, describing fourteen billion years of evolutionary history.

The exhibition has certainly struck a chord with Phuong.

"I love it because here I can read many funny stories and learn about lovely animals and others characters," she says

Her mother, Pham Thi Trec Van, accompaningher on the opening day of the show, is also full of praise.

"The exhibition has taught me a lot about the culture and daily life of German people, so it is very interesting," she comments.

It is not just children and their parents who enjoyed the opening.

"Here visitors can learn many precious life lessons," says 76-year-old Le Ha. "I like cartoons because they can teach us many things."

To accompany the exhibition, German cartoonist Line Hoven will hold a workshop with students of the Viet Nam Fine Arts College next Wednesday morning at the institute. She will meet Vietnamese artists the day before.

According to the Institute's director Almuth Meyer-Zollitsch, German artists started creating cartoons in the 19th century. However, their popularity slumped in the early years of the 20th century, before a resurgence in the 1990s following the reunification of the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic.

Not long ago, German comic art was little known abroad. However, now it is gaining particular recognition for its diversity, distinctive imagery and unique narrative language. — VNS


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