WE WERE THERE – The event dedicated to comics is one of the few that has not been canceled. Report in the heart of the Angoumois city which tries to put some dream bubbles in its daily covid.
This year, the 48th edition of the Angoulême Comic Strip Festival took place in resilience mode, and in small groups. About fifteen journalists were invited to cover the Fauve de la Bande Dessine Award ceremony at the city theater. Without forgetting an exclusive visit to the Angoulême museum of the exhibition dedicated to the city’s Grand Prix, Emmanuel Guibert, screenwriter of the children’s series Ariol, also author of the trilogy Alan’s War or The photograph.
The organizers of the event preferred to maintain a date – even a symbolic one – as the list of the best albums of the year 2020, rather than giving up this annual spotlight, which traditionally puts the center of public attention. an art whose dynamism has been evident for ten years. And which was not contained, unlike other cultural sectors, by the health crisis.
The festival was thus split in two: a first part took place on Friday January 29 to mark the occasion, while the organizing team of 9th art + hopes to be able to set up a second part, physical this one, with an audience. and comic book authors at the end of June, beginning of July, hoping that the pandemic will have receded a little.
Magistral Fauve d’or
In the meantime, the award ceremony for this 48th Angoulême festival edition, quite strange it must be admitted, was broadcast digitally and relayed by France Inter, despite some technical bugs.
The vintage of the best albums of 2020, a bit cerebral, showed like every year how big the gap is between the best sales of comics (Lucky Luke, Arab of the future , Blake et Mortimer, Asterix or Mortal Adele) and award-winning albums, mainly graphic novels …
This 2020 vintage nonetheless provided comic book lovers with some very good reasons to rejoice, and in particular by crowning a masterful Fauve d’or awarded to the graphic novel. The Hunting Accident, which frankly deserves the detour.
Above all, the ceremony gave the opportunity to designers, screenwriters or publishers who came to seek their rewards, to discuss the precariousness of the status of comic book author. Especially in these times of pandemic. Almost every Beast has provided the pretext for an appeal to the government, so that it keeps the promises to make decisions going in the right direction.
An astonishing exhibition
But the day also allowed the journalists present to visit the exhibition of the Grand Prix 2020, Emmanuel Guibert. Located at the Angoulême museum, this exhibition, closed to the public, is astonishing in more than one way. Having already been the subject of a major retrospective in 2018, the author of the trilogy Alan’s War or Photographer preferred to choose an exhibition focused on other works than the comic strip entitled “Emmanuel Guibert – In good company”, which should normally have been held from January 30 to June 27.
The writer of the youth series Ariol justifies this radical choice with simplicity. “Given that, thanks to the Prix Goscinny three years ago, the festival offered me a large retrospective, I did not see fit to exhibit again work already seen or related to it., explains the author. I thought: a particular year, a private exhibition. So you won’t find comics on the picture rails or in the windows, but paintings, prints, drawings and sketchbooks that had never left my boxes and shelves. “
As most people at the moment live a little confined time, Emmanuel Guibert offers a great escape: his exhibition aims to show a designer who takes the air, who sees the world, who draws the countryside while s’ walking there … This first section of the exhibition is entitled “Herborisons”. At the entrance to this part, we discover a giant drawing representing the young Emmanuel sunk in a deckchair, in summer, in front of the family house.
The child is immersed in reading a collection of Spirou’s Journal dated 1948, having belonged to his father. “Inside this collection were the first four chapters of the biography of Baden Powell, the father of scouting, which recommended, among other things, learning to draw by practicing observational drawing in nature. Needless to say, this advice has not fallen on deaf eye if I may say so!»
Attention, for those who expected to discover the originals of Emmanuel Guibert, the exhibition may seem frustrating. There isn’t a single comic strip from the author of the Captain Scarlet. But, even if we may be surprised at the radical nature of such a choice for a comic book designer, the exhibition still deserves to be immersed in … and even reserves some very nice graphic and pictorial surprises. .
Through the rooms and windows, we discover a completely different Emmanuel Guibert: the one who draws from nature. An artist on the lookout, patient and attentive to everything that surrounds him. Its landscapes are striking, beautiful, surprising. The techniques used are adapted to the different subjects represented. In the midst of a pandemic, we are transported outside, to the heart of a sunny countryside. We travel to Tokyo, we walk on booms over the various travel diaries unveiled by Guibert.
The other part of the exhibition, “Fraternisons” is devoted to his artist friends. We can thus appreciate the variety of professions of people of good company, painter, architect, engraver, sculptor, photographer, musician or creator of comics. We leave the visit with the feeling of having taken a deep breath of air, freedom and beauty. And we begin to hope that the general public can have access to this exhibition as quickly as possible, who knows, when the Angoulême festival will be held in “face-to-face” next June-July …