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From Bande Dessinée to Artist's Book:
Testing the Limits of Franco-Belgian Comics
April 19, 2013 - June 29, 2013

Franco-Belgian Comics

image: Franquin, Gaston 16, plate 844, © Dupuis 1979, 1997.

Organized by Catherine Labio, Independent Curator

Along with American comics and Japanese manga, bande dessinée("drawn strip") is one of the great comics traditions. In French, "bande dessinée," often abbreviated as "BD," refers to comics in general and to francophone European comics in particular. The English term "Franco-Belgian comics" corresponds to the latter, narrower definition. It is geographically too restrictive, especially today, but does reflect the central role works published in Belgium and France have played in shaping this important tradition.

One of the essential characteristics of Franco-Belgian comics has been the early adoption of the hardback, which has done much to elevate the status of the genre in francophone Europe. This exhibition presents key moments in the evolution of dessinée volumes, from their initial standardization into a dominant format: 48 pages measuring approximately 11.5 x 8 in, in color, and with a hard cover- to contemporary explorations into the possibilities offered by the book as three-dimensional object, explorations that have led, in Europe as elsewhere, to a blurring of the distinction between comic books and artist's books.

Featuring work by: Andreas, Nava Atlas, Lars Arrhenius, Adolpho Avril & Olivier Deprez, Rémy Pierlot & Vincent Fortemps, Jean-Jacques Oost & Gipi, Richard Bawin & Thierry Van Hasselt, Dominique Théâte & Dominique Goblet, Pome Bernos, Paz Boïra, Claire Bretécher, Julie Chen and Lois Morrison, with Elizabeth McDevitt, Frédéric Coché, David B., Martin tom Dieck, and Jens Balzer, Will Dinski, Vincent Fortemps, André Franquin, Dominique Goblet and Guy Marc Hinant, Guillermo Gomez-Peña, Enrique Chagoya, and Felicia Rice, René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo, Emmanuel Guibert, Didier Lefèvre and Frédéric Lemercier, Hergé, Mamiko Ikeda, Edgar P. Jacobs, Eric Lambé, Marc-Antoine Mathieu, Michael Matthys, Emily Martin, Max, Miles O'Shea and Olivier Deprez, Omar. F Olivera, OuBaPo, Philippe Petit-Roulet, Peyo, John Porcellino, Nicolas Robel, Marjane Satrapi, François Schuiten and Benoît Peeters, Joann Sfar and Jean-Christophe Menu, Stefan J.H. Van Dinther, Thierry Van Hasselt and Karine Ponties, Chris Ware, Toña Wilson, and Melinda Yale.

©2013 Center for Book Arts, Incorporated 1974

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