Tag Archive for 'Frémok'

Soul on Fire


This review is was originally published in Danish at Rackham in 2004 and is reprinted here as a supplement to the short essay Yvan Alagbé’s comics that I’ve just published over at The Comics Journal.

The French-Belgian publishing structure Éditions Frémok, or FRMK for short, has now been in the game for ten years, initially separately, as Belgian Frémok and French Amok, and since 2002 together. They have managed one of the most consistent and challenging publishing programs in avant-garde comics. They have unerringly emphasized the boundary-breaking, the experimental, and often fine arts-oriented comics by some of the most innovative creators in Europe, people such as Thierry van Hasselt, Olivier Marboeuf, Dennis & Olivier Deprez, Stefano Ricci, Silvestre, Kamel Khélif, Vincent Fortemps, Michael Matthys, Dominique Goblet, Martin tom Dieck, Nabile Farès, Aristophane, and the Dane Søren Mosdal.

Their publications are unequivocally high art and as such expose themselves to criticism on two flanks. One is the risk of pretentiousness and postulated profundity, the other is the inevitable comparisons with other forms of visual art, comparisons which tend to put this kind of sequential painting to a disadvantage. Unsurprisingly, FRMK’s publication history is one of precarious and not always successfully negotiating these difficulties, but the fact that they persist is entirely to their credit. It is refreshing to see somebody uncompromisingly asserting their belief in the potential of the medium to fathom the wide expressive range that has traditionally been the domain of other media. Continue reading ‘Soul on Fire’

Angoulême 2011: Saturday

From the Frémok/Cinquième couche show


As usual Saturday brought the crowds to Angoulême. It is difficult to get around, but it brings to the festival a heady atmosphere of art and commerce. Even the Association staff decided today partly to suspend their ongoing strike in order to support their artists who had turned up to sign their books. Killoffer, Gerner, Baudoin, Sury, Ruppert & Mulot, and several more were drawing up a storm for the throngs passing through the doors to the Nouveau monde. There is talk of upcoming negotiations between direction and staff, but for the moment the situation remains strained.

The programming has also been popular. This morning, I tried in vain to get into the CIBDI lecture hall to hear the talk by Ikeda Ryoki, the creator of the still-to-be-translated-into-English classic Rose of Versailles. I did manage to get a seat for the similarly mobbed on-stage interview with Moebius last night, even if it turned out I needn’t have bothered. Arriving late to a sweaty, overheated lecture theater, the aging maestro was given very little to work with by the interviewer, who simply let him go on and on about the trivialities of how his current retrospective at the Fondation Cartier in Paris came to be, and how he has recently returned to his classic creation Arzak. Very little effort was made to discuss the intricacies and themes of this or other works, or his thoughts on why this was a good moment to return to a character who had his day in the late 70s, or the fact that the book in question is amongst the sloppiest-looking he has turned out in a long time. Continue reading ‘Angoulême 2011: Saturday’