Independent and alternative comic books have always been a place of experimentation both in narrative and art styles, pushing the medium in new directions but rarely recognized or known by the mainstream audiences. That’s what makes comiXconnection such an interesting exhibition.
Set up in Nova gallery in Teslina street 7, comiXconnection is a traveling exhibition of independent comic book artist from the region, gathering talents from Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary and Bosnia and Hercegovina and showcasing the alternative comic book scenes in those six countries.
The words independent and alternative might be a bit misleading in this case, as the comic book industries in these countries are not big and the medium itself does not adhere to mainstream mentality so the lines are a bit blurred when it comes to ‘independent’ comic books.
Still, the exhibition fills the need to discover, connect and collaborate, as Beate Wild, the curator of the traveling exhibition explains.
‘The mental map is stereotypically orientated ‘with its face to the West and its back to the rest’. Even neighboring countries often exclude each other from their line of sight. Exactly here, then, is the focal point of the comiXconnection project with its emphasis on the six countries mentioned above. Beyond historical-political, linguistic and mental boundaries, it examines already existing connections as well as possible future ones’ she elaborates.
So the exhibition does provide an alternative look at comic books in relation to well known genres and styles of USA and French comics, but the focus is more on highlighting the differences and possible connections between scenes that are existing next to each other but have too little contact between them.
‘The exhibition introduces independent comics in the broadest sense of the term. These artist design and tell their stories free of profit oriented pressures’ says West.
The styles and forms presented on the exhibition are varied and do break away from the mainstream aesthetic of the medium, providing an insight into different approaches to comic books and the way these are formed by the cultures and countries the artists come from.
If you enjoy comic books comiXconnection is a great exhibition to check out. It will be opened until October 1st.