The third Le Havre contemporary art biennale will take place from 1 to 31 October 2010. The event will be dedicated to the exploration of the relations between comics and contemporary art.
“We knew for a long time that literature included works ranging from Winnie the pooh to Histoires d’O, and that Ben Affleck’s movies were not similar to Jean-Luc Godard’s. We just discovered that Marjane Satrapi’s Persépolis was not competing with Jean Graton’s Michel Vaillant.”
In 2005, this humoristic asumption by Evariste Blanchet allowed us to understand that there were different types of comic boods, while suggesting that there was a real need to classify and define contemporary comic book art.
But how can we define contemporary comics art, and is there comic book art created today that cannot be classified as « contemporary » ? One could assume that, as for contemporary art, all comics cannot be called « contemporary » ; the works of an artist painting Montmartre «Poulbots» or « Marines » for an art gallery in Le Touquet can hardly be called contemporary, even if the execution shows genuine virtuosity.
One will point out the fact that contemporary comics have a long history, which has been widely referenced and commented on, and that a number of artists throughout the past decades have challenged the boundaries of the genre : from Gilbert Shelton to Aurélie William-Levaux, Moebius, Philippe Druillet, Chris Ware, Christophe Blain and many others. And creators have to be aware of the fact that they belong to this history, and have to mistreat their medium by multiplicating hybridisations with other artistic specialities to make unknown aspects emerge.
One could conclude that the purpose of an event such as the Le Havre contemporary art biennale is to reference, in a non-exhaustive way, the most convincing of these hybridisations. A word that has to be understood in its latin meaning, “mixed blood “.
Image: Achraf Touloub