Osijek: The exhibition 'To Be Continued… Comics and visual culture in Croatia'

(The guest exhibition of the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb)
time: 25.03.2021. - 13.06.2021.
place: Osijek, Museum of fine arts

The exhibition To Be Continued… Comics and visual culture in Croatia sets the so-called Ninth Art of comic strips, cartoons and graphic storytelling in its European and international context, bringing together its history, evolution, and canonical authors. The exhibition examines the way in which perceptions of comics have changed over time, the role of comics in shaping popular and mass culture, and the professional and personal networks within which comics are created and find their way to the audience.

Originally emerging in the margins of newspapers as a form of mass communication that combined text and images, comics developed a complex set of social and cultural relationships. They share territory with the publishing industry, the mass media, literature, film, painting and design on the one hand; and with newspapers, academic institutions and countercultural movements on the other. Despite their deceptively simple mission to tell a story with text and image, comics constantly wrestle with the contradictions of visual and verbal narration, while balancing commercial demands and authorial individuality, and contending with production values that range from the self-published fanzine to the glossy hard-cover album. It is in this sense that the comic strip can be understood, quite literally, as a defining example of visual culture in the modern age.

By observing comics as both a visual and a social phenomenon, the exhibition seeks to widen our view of the various ways in which both historical and more recent works can be presented and promoted. It also opens up space for a wider discussion of primarily non-commercial, so-called authorial comics (the work of graphic storytellers who work independently of industrial, serial publishing), and their role as an integral part of visual culture and cultural production in general. The exhibition thereby hopes to raise awareness of the authorial comic’s potential as an artistic, social and educational medium. Alongside their indisputable artistic and formal qualities (whether composed of drawings, collages or photographs), comics are seen primarily as an extremely convincing set of visual and verbal signs that owe their magical appeal precisely to their ability to tell a story. The exhibition also places great emphasis on artists and publications that cross media boundaries, or question traditional media practices and conventions, while at the same time understanding comics as an autonomous artistic discipline. Opening the door to possible, multiple narratives about comics in Croatia from the 1930s to the present day, the exhibition also casts an eye towards the future of comics through models of production and education, exchange, networking and international cooperation.

Exhibition concept: Jasna Jakšić, Irena Jukić Pranjić, Ivana Kancir
Curators: Jasna Jakšić, Ivana Kancir
Curators in Museum of Fine Arts Osijek: Martina Gavran Španiček, Mateja Moser, Valentina Radoš
Visual identity: Rafaela Dražić
Exhibition graphics: Rafaela Dražić, Nikola Križanac
Educational programme: Kristina Delalić Vetengl, Josipa Stojanović
Technical support: Mirsad Bećarević, Tihomir Ferlin, Ranko Lalić
Supported by: Osijek - Baranja County, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia


(D.H.F., 19.03.2021)