This exhibition is the first ever large-scale attempt in Germany at documenting the influence of comics and animated cartoons on the visual arts since the 1960s. The Staatsgalerie Stuttgart is showing a good 80 works in different media by approximately 40 artists from Europe, the United States and Japan. Beginning with the revolutionary appropriation of comics by Pop Art, the exhibition spans these last forty years to the very latest trends in the work of those young artists of today who thematicize in a diversity of ways the commercial and “trivial” worlds of comics and animated cartoons.
Using motifs from popular comics, the early exponents of British and American Pop Art – such as Peter Blake and Roy Lichtenstein – pioneered the revolutionary confrontation of high and low culture in modern art during the 1950s and 1960s. This development was later to take a socio-critical turn in the works of such artists as Erró and Öyvind Fahlström.
During the 1970s, American “comix” turned to such socially tabooed themes as sexuality and violence and, against the background of Punk culture, inspired such artists as Mike Kelley and Raymond Pettibon.
An important part of the exhibition focuses on the youngest generation of artists and on the way they come to terms with the worlds of images of comics and animated cartoons, including their Japanese counterparts, the Manga and Anime films, which inspire the paintings and drawings of such artists as Yoshitomo Nara and Takashi Murakami. The presentation includes the works of a host of other young artists (including Angela Bulloch, Marcel Dzama and Tim Eitel), whose themes range from political and social realities through to the mythological potential of comics and animated cartoons and the creation of new virtual worlds in video art.