The fiftieth edition of the Festival international de la bande dessinée in Angoulême, the most important European comics festival, ended yesterday.
Riad Sattouf received the Grand Prix, an award that is overdue;
with "The Arab of Tomorrow" and "Esther's Diaries" Sattouf celebrates justified success.
The Swiss Martin Panchaud received the award for the best album: his "La Couleur des choses" (The Color of Things) is a very original volume that works with Google Maps and shows the figures as circles from above.
But the main topic was not the award winners, but the canceled exhibition by Bastien Vivès (FAZ from December 16, 2022).
The cartoonist was accused of misogyny and charged with child pornography.
This is the MeToo moment of the comics scene.
There has hardly been any well-founded discussion about it.
This was shown by the news on France Inter, which public radio broadcast directly from Angoulême: no real statement was made on the subject;
the moderator Bruno Duvic pointed out that the fear of a social media shit storm was widespread.
Nevertheless, fault lines are emerging: “Le Point” speaks of an “Affair Vivès”, which is also a “lynching”;
in the comic "the new battlefield of ideologies" is identified.
"Le Monde" sees - in allusion to the volume "Streit um Asterix" - genre-typical "zizanie".
Bastien Vivès' defenders form up
The prominent comic artist Jean-Marc Rochette had defended Vivès early on, now others followed.
Speaking to Duvic, Fausto Fasulo, the deputy festival director, spoke out clearly in favor of Vivès;
the cancellation was really only for security reasons, he fully supports the author and cannot understand the criticism.
Enki Bilal, the most expensive living French comic artist, also positioned himself in the Vivès camp;
Speaking to Le Monde, he states: “The pressure, the haste, the lack of discussion made the exhibition in Angoulême go under, although nobody knew what it was about.
Don't bother an artist.
You like him or you don't like him, you criticize him, also with vehemence, but with words.
And above all, no cowardly dogged determination, no exclusion, no pillorying.”
In the same newspaper, his colleague Jacques Tardi, who is at least as prominent, counters this: “Child pornography is a crime, you cannot praise it.
The trivialization of incest that Vivès practices is unbearable.” And: “You can't spread nonsense under the pretext that you're creating a work.” Apparently Tardi doesn't necessarily represent the majority opinion.
Artists such as Catel ("Kiki de Montparnasse") and Coco (cartoonist for "Charlie Hebdo" and "Libération") also show solidarity with Vivès.
A petition circulated behind the scenes for the disinvited, titled "L'art n'est pas la morale, la fiction n'est pas la réalité" (Art is not morality, fiction is not reality);
it should only be made public after the festival.
According to “Le Monde”, a good ten winners support Vivès,