Presented at the NMNM-Villa Sauber from April 1 to September 26 2021, the exhibition Marginalia. Inside the Comics Art Collections is an exploration of comic book art, a young art born at the same time as film and psychoanalysis, and which has frequently opted for marginality over convention, humour over academicism and counter-culture over received ideas…
Built around rare loans from public and private collections, the exhibition offers a chance to rethink the relationship between comic books and their acceptance by institutions, or how a medium that has always been split between counter-culture and mass culture has entered the museum space without giving up its transgressive vocation or boosting its commoditisation.
Following Freud’s traumarbeit (dream-work) model, Marginalia. Inside the Comics Art Collections invites visitors to discover over 350 works by some of the greatest comic book artists and honours the passion of those who find their work an endless source of fascination.
Marginalia are the small drawings located in the margins of Medieval manuscripts. Often secular, sometimes droll, always fascinating, they form a dialogue with the texts that they illuminate, explain or criticise and can be seen as the origins of comic books, a combination of drawing and writing which blossomed in the 20th century.
Following the principle of these Marginalia, the graphic works that reflect the curators’ point of view mixing texts and images are found around the works of art. Rethinking the function of the “informational label”, these quirky cards play on reversing polarities – from the margins to the middle and vice versa – to propose new readings and perspectives on the artists’ works.
Marginalia. Inside the Comics Art Collections is accompanied by a fun and lavish publication (co-published by the NMNM and Glénat) which intends to square the enjoyment of reading comics with the demands of an appropriate scientific approach through contributions from Jean-Luc Fromental, Thierry Groensteen, Didier Pasamonik and Numa Sadoul.
The image chosen for the cover of the catalogue, as well as the poster promoting the exhibition, have been realized specifically for this occasion by avant-garde cartoonist Herr Seele: like a wink full of mischief at the meeting of classical painting with comics.
Curator: Marie-Claude Beaud
Guest Curator: Damien MacDonald
Associate Curator: Stéphane Vacquier
Scientific Adviser: Didier Pasamonik
Scenography: Berger & Berger (Laurent P. Berger and Cyrille Berger)
List of artists on show
Neal Adams – Alex Barbier – Gilles Barbier – Carl Barks – Jordi Bernet – Enki Bilal – Jean Boullet – Martin Branner – Alberto Breccia – Claire Bretécher – John Buscema – Calvo – Milton Caniff – Yves Chaland – André Chéret – Gene Colan – Guido Crepax – Robert Crumb – Paul Cuvelier – Phil Davis – Rudolph Dirks – Walt Disney – Philippe Druillet – Will Eisner – Lee Falk – Emil Ferris – Max Fleischer – Jean-Claude Floc’h – Jean-Claude Forest – Hal Foster – André Franquin – Frank Frazetta – Jochen Gerner – Dave Gibbons – Paul Gillon – Jean Giraud – José Gonzalez – Gotlib – Floyd Gottfredson – Juanjo Guarnido – Ralph Heimdahl – Hergé – Hermann – George Herriman – Burne Hogarth – Edgar P. Jacobs – Jijé – Jeff Catherine Jones – André Juillard – Jack Kirby – Ralf König – Liberatore – Régis Loisel – Milo Manara – Mandryka – Francis Masse – George McManus – Winsor McCay – Jean-Claude Mézières – Frank Miller – Moebius – Thomas Marco Nadal – Kevin O’Neill – Osamu Tezuka – Richard Felton Outcault – Peyo – Georges Pichard – Joseph Pinchon – Gérald Poussin – George Pratt – Hugo Pratt – Benoît Prévot – Benjamin Rabier – Alex Raymond – Julio Ribera – Alain Saint Ogan – José Luis Salinas – François Schuiten – Charles Monroe Schulz – E.C. Segar – Sempé – Denis Sire – Pat Sullivan – Jean Tabary – Gengoroh Tagame – Jacques Tardi – Maurice Tillieux – Tom of Finland – Roland Topor Albert Uderzo – Myron Waldman
Some of the heroes on show
Barbarella – Batman – Bécassine – Benoît Brisefer – Betty Boop – Bianca – Black Bolt – Black Panther – Blacksad – Blake & Mortimer – Blueberry – Bugs Bunny – Captain and the Kids – Charlie Brown – The Thing – Cisko Kid – – Corto Maltese – The Masked Cucumber (Concombre masqué) – Daredevil – Donald Duck – Felix the Cat – Flash Gordon – Fritz the Cat – Gaston Lagaffe – Iznogoud – Jerry Springer – Johnny Comet – Jungle Jim – Krazy Kat – Little Nemo – Mandrake – Marsupilami – Mickey Mouse – Phantom – Scrooge McDuck – Popeye – Prince Valiant – The Fantastic Four – Rahan – RanXerox – RIP Kirby – The Smurfs – Snoopy – Spirit – Spirou – Steve Canyon – Tanguy et Laverdure – Tarzan – Terry and the Pirates – Tintin – Vampirella – Watchmen – Winnie Winkle – X9 – Zig et Puce