Spreading fear and mayhem in the visual arts.

The Fumetto 2011 Report

by Suzanne on April 14th, 2011


Waiting by the ILLUMAT® for this - Photo by Robert M Fenner, 2011

This year's edition of Fumetto marked the festival's 20th anniversary and it was a worthy celebration of sequential art that I was fortunate enough to attend with The Fenner.

And since all festival director Lynn Kost had to tell me when I congratulted him on the programme was "Yeah, you just came for Dan Clowes!", I thought I should probably at least attempt to prove him wrong by writing this little Fumetto photo love story. Do teenage magazines still print those? I suppose not. I sometimes forget that I could be your collective gramma.


Installation view of Daniel Clowes' retrospective during Fumetto 2011 at Frigorex - Photo by Wurzeltod, 2011

Anyways, so just like every year, there was some outstanding and exceptional work on display: From a post-apocalyptic bombed-out teenage angst shelter to art brut to traditional sequentialism to sausage art. Yes, there were A LOT of sausages from Ampel Magazin, to Beni Bischof (obsessively!), to (more subtly, but STILL!) Brecht Vandenbroucke and Tommi Musturi AND I HAVEN'T EVEN BEEN TO THE SATELLITE EXHIBITIONS! I have been thinking about this trend since my return and to be frank with you, I'm not sure whether it has to do with Lucerne's sick love affair with the "Cervelat" or whether it's more because, after all, every idiot can draw a sausage with a face - including myself. At any rate, I thought it essential to raise this issue.


Artwork by Tommi Musturi for Fumetto 2011 at SBB Tunnel - Photo by Wurzeltod, 2011

But now, and because I'm an opinionated cunt, to my personal Top 5 of Fumetto 2011 in Order of Awesomeness:

1. Daniel Clowes
2. ILLUMAT®
3. Tommi Musturi
4. Jim Shaw
5. Beni Bischof

6./Honourable mention: Atak

- 1-

Dan Clowes needs no further explanation/introduction/votum as people who know me well are probably sick of me going on about his work. All I can say is that an interview that Rob and I conducted with him will follow later and in the meantime, why not get jealous at my signed copy of Like A Velvet Glove Cast In Iron?! And just one last word to "curator" Susan Miller: That press release was DREADFUL! Particularly compared to Lynn's amazing essays. Just sayin', just sayin'.

- 2 -

The ILLUMAT® (top picture) was a very pleasant surprise this year and I'm glad I waited amongst screaming children and smelly dogs for the Weimar illustration students... errr... ROBOTS to draw me this amazing watercolour with the instructions "Godzilla standing on Mount Fuji with a censored erection. During sunset" (Yes, OF COURSE I wanted to go for "Godzilla Bukkake" first, but so much for self-censorship..)

- 3 -


Projected face paint courtesy of Tommi Musturi and Fumetto 2011 - Photo by Robert M Fenner, 2011

Finnish artist Tommi Musturi was probably my favourite discovery of this year's Fumetto. His candy-coloured neo-new-age worlds and zine works were as psychedelically trippy as they were technically impeccable. That's sensory overload and synapses harakiri at its best!

- 4 -

Jim Shaw is one of those artists I always knew about but had so far subconsciously avoided a confrontation with his oeuvre in the slightly psychotic fear I would hate it or its monochrome character wouldn't have enough essence. Well, I'm glad to say I couldn't have been more wrong and more snobbish. His (very directly) William Blake inspired cycle was one of the big revelations of Fumetto 2011. His works have all the gravitas, all the complexity, all the rebellion, all the cleverness that even elusive Blake himself would have loved this homage to him.

I'm afraid I wasn't allowed to take pictures of this show as it was at the modern art museum. Same applies to Yves Netzhammer whose show was very inspiring too. BOOOO KUNSTMUSEUM LUZERN!

A propos Kunstmuseum Luzern: If you visit the Fumetto exhibits, make sure to check out Patricia Bucher's Schlachtenpanorama one room after Jim Shaw's exhibition as well. You won't regret it.

- 5 -


Detail of Beni Bischof's No Longer Pie in the Sky installation at Fumetto 2011, SBB Tunnel - Photo by Wurzeltod, 2011

Beni Bischof's work is art brut at its best. it's unfiltered and uncensored inspiration put into shape. And they're weird, foamy shapes growing like a fluorescent cancer and pulsating in stroboscopic light. It's unsurprising that a lot of his displays immediately entered my dream cosmos. Lynn called Beni "eine Art Verdauungsmaschine" in his press release and I couldn't agree more.

- 6 -

Let's be honest: Atak's exhibition was the most epic one. And that's precisely why he didn't make it into the top 5. I just don't think he still needs the attention. His Toy Box was a work of genius though and put a giant smile on my face and this here was rather sweet too:

So, kids, what can I tell you? I had a great time, I got a chance to talk at length with one of my biggest comics heroes ever, I have a Godzilla with a giant censored erection, I had fun looking at Pipifax and Analph books I couldn't afford and I got to spend a few days in my home town of Lucerne.

The festival was outstandingly curated and locations (some architecturally stunning, some venerable, some industrial) well chosen. It was a particularly brave (and the right!) choice to put the headliner in an old fridge factory outside the city and not in the central modern art museum. Contextualisation always needs to go before commercialism and easy access.

I would particularly like to thank Dan Clowes, Lynn Kost, Daniela Krienbühl and Fabienne Anthes and everyone else from the amazing Fumetto team for making this all possible. You rock, in case you hadn't noticed.

Oh, and here's a little slideshow with some impressions for all of you who were too lazy to read this. Bastards.

Fumetto is still going on, btw, and all the exhibitions will remain on show until April 17, 2011.


Dan Clowes in conversation at Frigorex, Fumetto 2011 - Photo by Wurzeltod, 2011