The illustrated cities – English

Oktober 23, 2017 by admin Uncategorized 0 comments


We very rarely have the opportunity to see an exhibition dedicated to illustrators. In fact, the work of these creators, often linked in some way to the world of advertising and publishing, is almost always known as part of an alien message. On this occasion, and just as institutions are gradually beginning to take an interest in exhibiting non-traditional artistic languages (cartoon strips, design, photographs), we have attempted to gather together the works of some of the most representative illustrators of different European cities.

The illustrator is, by definition, a creator of a symbology, allowing the image to acquire new meaning. His or her works are esteemed on the basis of their ability to offer a richness of readings whose complexity goes much further than the original intentions which, depending on the commission, often include his or her own discourse.

The illustrators involved in this exhibition, all connected to different fields of artistic creation (painting, cartoon strips, audiovisual languages, design), have very personal styles which, in some ways, have managed to gain a “cult” following in their respective countries and around the world: a common element in a large number of works by JoostSwarte, Mariscal, Peret, Ever Meulen, George Hardie, Kiki Picasso, Jacques de Loustal and Lorenzo Mattotti –apart form their renowned professionalism- are the specific references and metaphors related to the city.

“Illustrated Cities” is a collection of these illustrators original works from different periods and of differing styles, in which the city plays the leading role and is shown in all its complexity. Each artist was also asked to make a written contribution to this exhibition.

The notion of the city is reflected as a symbol of an a support for the testimonies of our civilisation, representing the uniqueness of each one and the collective sense of loss o identity leading towards cultural globalization.

From Kiki Picasso’s images for a French political party or JoostSwarte stamps for the Dutch postal services to Ever Meulen’s Japanese calendar illustrated with European cities or Mariscal’s image of Barcelona drawn for some North American magazines, as well as George Hardie’s poster for a tree-planting campaign in a London park or Peret’s constructivist view of the map of his city. Finally, Jacques de Loustal’s more lyrical sight in his cartoon strips or Lorenzo Mattotti’s images of the solitude of the individual arising from his drawings. In all these works, the city –whether real, utopian or recalled from memory- is presented as a social and cultural environment open to exchange and plurality an not so much as a geographical or political notion.

JoostSwarte can be connected with the “ligne Claire” tough unlike Tintin’screator,Swarte employs a language between surrealism and the absurd, in which he often ironises the contradictions of our urban culture.

Mariscal’s style is unmistakable, be it a piece of furniture, an object, a print, a poster or any other medium. We can always find the naïve gaze of the astonished child. A sight that he knows how to turn into poetry. His images of Barcelona are known the world over.
Ever Meulen is another major representative of the “ligneclaire”. Apart from his highly personal style, of trompe-l’oeil Escher style and shapes inspired on 30’s art-déco aesthetics, architectural elements in unmistakably urban landscapes are very often present in his work.

Peretlikes to describe himself as more of an applied arts worker, following on in the Rodchenko or Bauhaus sprit. The symbolic aspect of his work and his metaphoric capacity is evident, form his most graphic works to the latest proposals in volume.

Encyclopedist-like George Hardie patiently and meticulously gathers together everything that goes to make up our day-to-day environment in his drawings and filigrees of symbols.

Kiki Picasso, illustrator and artist, a transgressor of good taste in his Bazooka period, has done much of his most recent work in the audiovisual field, perpetuating his ever cutting a provocative style.

The eminently pictorial work by Jacques Loustal, most of which has been published in albums of short stories, is a long journey through the cities and landscapes of the South, where the light and colour are an invitation that appeals to the senses.

Lorenzo Mattotti has been one of the great restorers of fashion magazine illustration. His graphic register ranges from the vigourous, colourful stroke bordering on expressionism to the simplicity of pure lines, in images of man, solitary, contemplating a landscape that is foreign to him.

( Catalogue “Les CiutatsIl·lustrades”, 1992)

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