Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Barthélémy Schwartz's, Balthazar Kaplan's and Others' Dorénavant - Coda










1. Thierry Lagarde's STP # 0 (cover; first quarter, 1977); I don't share Lagarde's taste, obviously;
2. Bruno Lecigne's Controverse # 1 (cover; May, 1985);
3. "Accident" by Barthélémy Schwartz (Dorénavant # 3, September, 1986); the work is not only the graphic part (an Hergé's détournement), but also the Balthazar Kaplan's explanation (5; my translation): "In this page (a remake of a sequence from L'affaire Tournesol [the Calculus affair] by Hergé), the global surface is considered. The division, by its austerity, puts in relation every image with the whole. The result is an impression of echoes between panels, of visual rhymes which emphasize the scene's dramatic tension.
The link between the images is not exclusively narrative. It partakes in a superior logic: the dialectics between the fragment and the whole. Every image is a fragment of the scene. The latter can only be felt by a global vision of the page, by a synthesis of the fragments.
It also gives an impression of rhythm: the time represented is a syncopated one.
The pleasure of reading: this page functions as a whole. We may scan it endlessly in all directions. It contains both emotion and vertigo."; Balthazar Kaplan describes what Pierre Fresnault-Deruelle dubbed the tabular reading ("Du lineaire au tabulaire" - from the linear to the tabular -, Communications # 24, Seuil, 1976: 7 - 23); it exists in every comic, but it's also true that some comics artists (mainly with a tendency for description: e. g.: Guido Crepax; or practicing what Thierry Gröensteen called "tressage" - braiding -: Système de la bande dessinée, PUF, 1999: 8) stress it more than others; I would say that Schwartz's page is innovative in another way rather than as an example of the tabular: it's a synchronic instead of a diachronic page; it invites a vertical instead of an horizontal reading, amplifying the emotional charge of the event;
4. the first thirty titles and authors in a list of a Dorénavant's putative comics anthology; the first seven entries belong to the restrict comics field; number eight is a poster, but, from number nine on, all the entries belong to what I called the expanded field and Barthélémy Schwartz described as "bande-dessinée non consciente de son existence en tant que telle" (comics without a conscience of being comics; "Dorénavant et la bande-dessinée," Dorénavant # 2, June, 1986: 5; my translation);
5. number ten in the aforementioned list: Textuel (textual) by Michel Seuphor and Piet Mondrian (1928); speaking of which, Barthélémy Schwartz: "in [Broadway] Boogie-Woogie, the gutter plays an active role, like images themselves." (Dorénavant # 2: 20; my translation);
6. poster announcing a Dorénavant exhibition (Dorénavant # 2) and showing Joost Swarte's influence;
7. satirical drawing by Frank Le Gall (Les cahiers de la bande dessinée # 70, July / August, 1986), it isn't clear who's being satirized: Schwartz and Kaplan, who supposedly wrote a "difficult" book about the gestalt theory?; or the comics milieu (personified by Louis Forton's the Pieds Nickelés) which is too stupid to understand them?;
8. Jean-Christophe Menu was the managing editor of the satirical mag Globof (# 9's cover by Charles Berberian, January, 30, 1988); it mainly made fun of the Angoulême comics con; two years later Labo was published (Barthélémy Schwartz participated with the text "Une période de nuit, l’idéologie bédé" - a night period, children's comics ideology): L'Association was born and the rest is history;
9. Matt Konture's page (Globof # 8's back cover; January, 29, 1988) satirizing the low standards of comics readers (children, young adults, old hippies and babymen); the comics author herein depicted is forced to sell-out "juste pour buffer" (just to eat).

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