Exhibition: Sequential Investigations at STPLN in Malmö

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This thursday we premiere the exhibition “Sequential Investigations: the New Comics” in Sweden!

Sequential Investigations is an exhibition of original art, prints, and wall projections showcasing some of the finest experimental artists working on the periphery of the comics form, pushing and probing the potential of sequential storytelling.

How to talk about comics in terms that don’t ignore or even exclude one aspect or other? Most people with the slightest interest in the form know that genre trappings or age divisions don’t make any sense at this point. 30 years ago people proclaimed that comics had “grown up”, but that term seems to be moot now that comics for all and any ages have gained general acceptance.

The father of modern manga, Osamu Tezuka, is quoted as saying that comics “should be like air”. Depending on your interpretation, that prediction may have come true, as sequential narrative has become a natural form of expression, both for traditional comics artists trying to break into a steadily narrowing mainstream, and for artists from other fields who test the comics grammar in new, often unexpected contexts.

That is probably the common denominator between the artists presented in this exhibition: that they use the form as naturally as breathing. Their work doesn’t relate to comics as they were, but as they have always been at their core, that is, a set of syntaxes that anyone can use to communicate their own personal message. These are no “grown-up” comics, or even a “new” kind of comics as the exhibition title could be construed; rather, they are distinct, artistic visions that are also very clearly recognizable as comics. Within the sequential framework the exhibitors probe and explore the possibilities of comics and, as it were, chart the unmapped areas in the process.

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