STUDENTS CULTURAL CENTER BELGRADE (SKC) / HAPPY GALLERY
19th INTERNATIONAL COMICS FESTIVAL
Sep. 30th – Oct. 2nd 2022
GUESTS OF THE FESTIVAL 2022
IZTOK SITAR (SVN)
Iztok Sitar was born in 1962 in Ljubljana, where he graduated from a design school. His first (semi-autobiographical) comics, titled Ko je ubio crtača stripova (“Who Killed a Comics Artist”), was published in 1984 in the literary magazine Mentor. Since then, under his name or pseudonym Ninel, he has published comics and cartoons in most Slovenian newspapers and magazines. In 1990, his first comic book Sperma in kri (“Sperm and Blood”) was released, which, with its hermetic content, composed of quotes from Hegel, Lacan, and Marquis de Sade, and above all with the original woodcut drawings, remained within the underground genre. Therefore, in 1992, Sitar opted for a professional and commercial approach. In the Dnevnik daily, in the following ten years, he regularly published his humorous comics Bučmanovi (“The Buchmans”), which was also released in four separate albums. To date, he has published seventeen genre-different albums, ranging from children’s and teenage, in which he is primarily interested in the attitude of young people towards love, sex, alcohol and drugs, to erotic and his favorite social-critical comics, where he focuses on anomalies such as nationalism, chauvinism, racism, xenophobia and homophobia, otherwise thematically present throughout his comic oeuvre. His album Glave (“Heads”), in which he ‘dissects’ the entire Slovenian society in fifty connected short stories, is a characteristic one. His most heretical, and at the same time completely independent comics, differing in terms of themes and style both from the attitudes of state institutions and opinions of civil movements, and from any comics trends and influences, is undoubtedly Priča o Bogu (“The Story of God”). For the fictional biographical story Dnevnik Ane Tank (“The Diary of Anne Tank”), translated into Serbian and English, he received the Golden Pear Award in 2008, given in Slovenia in the field of the highest quality youth literature. In addition to comics, he also deals with caricatures. His adaptation of old Slovenian proverbs in the book Striposlovice (“Comicsverbs”), which in Sitar's performance acquired a completely new meaning, is worthy of note. He is also engaged in illustration, and in that domain, the most intriguing are his drawings of Plautus’ Asses. At the Novi Sad Book Fair in 2012, he was awarded for the illustrations in the novel Belo-crveno (“White and Red”) by Dorota Maslovska. Sitar is also a renowned expert on comics and has written four books on the theory and history of comics. He regularly writes reviews and critiques for the Slovenian literary monthly Literatura, and theoretical texts in various magazines in Slovenia and worldwide, especially in the countries of former Yugoslavia, where he is a frequent and always welcomed guest at various comic festivals.
VELJKO KRULČIĆ (HRV)
ANDRIJA MAUROVIĆ (1901-1981), a retrospective
VELJKO KRULČIĆ (HRV)
ANDRIJA MAUROVIĆ (1901-1981), a retrospective
Veljko Krulčić (Pula, 1962) is a professional journalist, publisher, and historian of comics. He is intensively involved in the popularization of comics. He regularly writes about comics, organizes thematic and solo exhibitions in Croatia and abroad, produces and writes screenplays for documentaries about comics authors, participates in comic festivals, round tables, seminars and panels. He is the editor of many large retrospective exhibitions (Comics in Yugoslavia 1866-1986, Paris). He is the initiator and editor of several comics editions, author of several important monographs on comics (Croatian post-war comics, Road to the Promised Land, Maurović), and editor of numerous albums and graphic novels. The prominent place among them belongs to the published works of Andrija Maurović.
Among other things, Krulčić initiated the Lifetime Achievement Award in the field of Croatian comics, named after Andrija Maurović and since 2009 given by the Art 9 association.
Andrija Maurović was a great painter and an even greater comic artist. With his inspiring comics series, he stimulated the imagination of the youth before World War II, teaching them about the victory of justice, truth, and good over evil.
Even more renowned as an illustrator, comics artist and creator of commercials, Maurović, with his recognizable painting style, irresistibly attracted the attention of readers through the covers of books, magazines, newspaper stories and above all, his exciting comics.
At the time, the most sought-after entertainment foreign volumes were Sherlock Holmes and Arsene Lupin, and among domestic authors, Zagorka's novels and Maurović's comics in Oko and Mickey strip magazines. Due to the nickname of his most famous comics hero Old Mickey, Maurović was called ‘The Old Cat’. And that Old Cat, in collaboration with the great journalist Franjo Fuis as a scriptwriter, who signed himself as FRA MA FU, knew how to excite the readers in such a way that the sequels of his comics were snatched from newspaper sellers, in the true sense of the word.
It was because everyone wanted to find out as soon as possible whether the miraculous Dan would be able to heal the wounds of The Old Cat, how the madness and plague on the mysterious ship will end, whether The Black Rider will win his fight against robbers, and who is the enigmatic ghost of green swamps.
In the daily and nightly struggle with time, while newspapers, publishers and filmmakers, demanded new sequels, new illustrations and new film announcements day after day, Maurović had few free moments to take a break from ‘commercial’ work and to dedicate his artistic soul to the painting.
Only occasionally did he manage to immortalize the sea of the Bay of Kotor, and, with his brush, to let the wings of the Mediterranean soul sing the beauties of his native land. He was born there, in the village of Muo on March 29, 1901. He spent the last years of his life as a lonely weirdo, living ascetically and befriending nature.
Andrija Maurović died on September 2, 1981, in Zagreb.
DANIELE MEUCCI (ITA)
Daniele Meucci, also known as Meu, is an Italian artist based in Belgrade. Born in Spilimbergo (Pordenone, Italia), in the north-east of Italy, in 1982, he grew up in Lucca, a small but charming Tuscan town where he studied Arts at the local Institute of Art “A.Passaglia”.
Growing up in Tuscany played a part in his development as an artist and all the while Lucca provided the perfect environment to discover his passion for comic books; this quaint town is famous for “Lucca Comics & Games”, the largest comics festival in Europe, and the second biggest in the world after the Comiket.
Later on, Daniele became fascinated with building design and went on to study Architecture at the University of Trieste. His love for buildings is reflected in all of his works.
After graduation, Daniele worked as an industrial designer in Italy and eventually moved to Germany to explore his interest in arts in the underground art scene of Berlin, any artist’s hot spot. The way in which Berlin accommodates for alternative thinking and a bohemian lifestyle, allows it to become the perfect space for artists looking to experiment. Being immersed in that environment, in 2015 he went solo and started to work as a freelance illustrator and logo designer.
Leaving Germany in search of inspiration, he ended up in the Balkans. Since 2017. he is collaborating with a Serbian publishing company, “Komshe d.o.o.”, and currently has two books released.
The first one was “Shades of Belgrade”, a colouring book, it’s a collection of city sketches where anybody can unleash their own creativity.
His second book, “Tesla: The man who defined the future” is a graphic novel about the real life of Nikola Tesla, and it is published in English and Serbian version. The book is based on an interview that the Serbian inventor gave to the “Liberty Magazine” in 1935.
This graphic novel gives back to the reader a more complex and human-like Nikola Tesla and it takes the distance from the fictional Tesla that already appeared in comics and movies.
The book is the result of two-year-long research, during which the author collected engaging and not commonly known real stories about Tesla’s life. The book is 200 pages of expressive watercolours that picture Europe and the USA during the second industrial revolution when Nikola Tesla was considered one of the most important and popular inventors.
Belgrade became a source of constant inspiration for the artist and the Serbian culture gave way to a myriad of ideas, what is to come next is still to be seen.
SLOBODAN IVKOV (SRB)
SPECIAL AWARD FOR GENERAL CONTRIBUTION TO SERBIAN COMIC STRIP
Slobodan Ivkov was born in 1959 in Subotica. He attended high school in Subotica and Sombor. He graduated in art history and economics at the University of Belgrade. In 1985, he received the Belgrade October Award for his graduation thesis in sociology defended at the Faculty of Economics. From 1986 to 1993, he worked as a graphic designer. He has been a freelance artist since January 1994. In addition to comics, since 1979, he has been engaged in graphic design, caricature, photography, illustration and fantasy literature, both professionally and directly as a creator. The most famous comics he drew are from the Zemljani (“Earthlings”) series, but he also published other individual tables and comic strips in various newspapers and magazines. His independent exhibition of comics in the Cultural Center of Sombor in 2002 was also the first comics exhibition in that town. He was the scriptwriter of several hundred comics tables by other comic artists. He was a member of the comics group Belgrade Circle 2 from 1979 until the end of the team activity in the mid-eighties. He is the author of several thematic exhibitions, the largest and most famous of which is 60 years of Domestic Comics in Serbia (exhibited in Serbia and abroad, 1995/1996). Also noted are Small History of Serbian Comics (Cultural Center of Belgrade, 1998), Philharmonic and Comics (Belgrade Philharmonic, 2001) and Comics and Theater (Bitef Theater, 1997). He was one of the selectors of the October Salon in Belgrade in 1998. He is the author of the only exhibition of the greatest Serbian illustrator Branislav - Brana Jovanović (Đura Jakšić's House, Belgrade, 1999), as well as the exhibition of Dušan Gačić (Cultural Center of Belgrade, 1999). He is also the author of the Serbian selection of comics on the collective exhibition 1h 59 min. in Angoulême in 2000. Since 1986, he has been a member of The Association of Applied Arts Artists and Designers of Serbia (ULUPUDS). Until 2008, he was in the Design Section, and since then he has been in the Section for Theory, Criticism and History of Art. He has been a member of The Journalists' Association of Serbia since 1987. From 2010 to 2012, he was the President of the Arts Council and a board member of ULUPUDS and from 2015 to 2018 president and member of the Court of Honor of the same association. From 1985 until the closure of the newspaper Mladost in 1990, he was the editor of the comics section and critic. Since 1988, he has been publishing texts about comics in NIN weekly, and since the end of 1991, he is its permanent comics critic. During 2005-2006, he regularly wrote about comics in the cultural section of Politika daily. From January 2007 to August 2009, he had a column Comicstore in the cultural section of the Belgrade daily Blic, and since May 2015 he has been writing the column Comicology. In Maurice Horn's World Encyclopedia of Comics (1998/2000), he wrote entries about Serbian comics artists. He received several awards for his contribution to comic art, among others: Pavle Vasić Award (1996) awarded jointly by the Museum of Applied Arts, Faculty of Applied Arts and ULUPUDS, as well as prizes at the comics festivals in Zaječar (1996) and Leskovac (2007). He also received three annual awards from ULUPUDS. He was president and a member of many juries. Since 2004, he bears the title of distinguished artist. He lives and works in Belgrade.
MILIJA BELIĆ (SRB/FRA)
“SREĆKO JOVANOVIĆ” – AWARD OF DEČJE NOVINE DOSITEJ PUBLISHING HOUSE AND GORNJI MILANOVAC MUNICIPALITY
A painter, sculptor and art theorist, Milija Belić is one of the most important representatives of geometric abstraction in the international arena. He was born in 1954 in Rudovci, Serbia. He graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade in 1978. He defended his doctoral thesis at the Sorbonne in 1994 and earned a doctorate in art and art theory from the University of Paris. He exhibited at a large number of solo and group exhibitions in his home country and abroad, and he won several awards and recognitions. He published the following books: Meta-Art (SKC, Belgrade, 1997), Heavenly stories (Library of Belgrade, 2000), Apologie du rythme (L'Harmattan, Paris, 2002), Omcikous (L'Age d'Homme, Lausanne, 2004), Image and World (SKC, Belgrade, 2004), Photographs 1964 – 1978 (Narodna knjiga & Alfa, Belgrade, 2008), Spiritus Mundi (Red Box, Belgrade, 2011), Meta-photographs by Mirko Lovrić (Artget & Clio, Belgrade, 2015), The Challenge of Modernity (Arhipelag, Belgrade, 2017), Ecce homo (Čigoja & Society for Cultural Cooperation Serbia-France, Belgrade, 2019), Ars longa (Art Gallery Nadežda Petrović, Čačak, 2020). His works can be found in the following collections: National Library in Paris; Satoru Sato Art Museum in Tome (Japan); Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, and many others.
Already as a fourteen-year-old, he won the first prize at the comics contest, organized by the popular youth magazine Kekec, with the following comment by the jury: “Refined sense for graphics. The most mature artist.”
Comics and illustrations marked the beginnings of his artistic career. Especially, his collaboration with Dečje Novine Publishing (“Children’s Newspaper”) from Gornji Milanovac, between 1970 and 1975. At that time, in addition to numerous illustrations published in the Dečje Novine and Tick-Tack magazines, he made several short comics with the heroes he created for the edition Nikad robom (“Never Surrender”), and afterward, for domestic comics magazine Kuriri (“The Couriers”)
“After the final split of modern and contemporary art with figuration, a characteristic of comics is that it remained a refuge for painters and other visual artists who wanted and knew how to draw people, animals and objects as they are. As an artist, Belić developed beyond that and achieved an impressive career in the world of abstract art, but he also showed in his comics that he is a worthy heir to the giants of the past with style and poetics that evoked masters such as Hal Foster or Andrija Maurović,” writes Pavle Zelić.