Alan Ford’s Lap of Honour
On December 2, the guest exhibition “Alan Ford’s Lap of Honour”, which was one of the most visited Slovenian cultural events in 2019, will be opened in the Museum of Yugoslavia. There will be exhibited 152 original boards from the early period (1969-1975), when the recognizable Italian duo Magnus-Bunker worked on the comic, as well as three title drawings by Paolo Piffarerio. The Museum of Yugoslavia will mark this year’s Museum Day with this exhibition, as well as numerous regular programs, in the period from November 28 to December 2.
The first issue of “Alan Ford” was published in May 1969. It was designed by Luciano Secchi – Max Bunker, as a screenwriter, and cartoonist Roberto Raviola Magnus. A year later, this satirical comic won the affection of audiences throughout Yugoslavia due to its impressive drawings, witty dialogues and skilful irony, as well as the exceptional translation by Nenad Brixy.
“The comic mocked all the corrupt, incompetent and manipulated people in the world. It spared no one. It dealt with the beautiful and the ugly, the rich and the poor, the honest and the thieves. The events in the comics are absurd, surprising, witty and absolutely politically incorrect. Some quotes have become part of everyday speech, so we can recognize its influence in music (“Prljavo kazalište”), as well as in film (“The Marathon Family”, “Who’s Singin’ Over There?”, “Smogovci”). Today, the comic is equally interesting due to the current socio-political situation, and many perceive it almost as prophetic”, explains the author of the exhibition, Rok Glavan, a comic book collector from Slovenia.
The exhibition is organized by the Museum of Yugoslavia and the Institute of Culture and Education from Ljubljana, in cooperation with the National Gallery of Slovenia, the Italian Institute of Culture in Belgrade and the Yugoslav Film Archive.
Expert collaborators at the exhibition are Dr. Andrej Smrekar and Samo Pureber, as well as Lazar Džamić, the author of “Flower Shop in the House of Flowers”, a popular study on the phenomenon of Yugoslav success of the comic book “Alan Ford”. The design of the original exhibition was done by Ranko Novak, while Marica Bucek and Dejan Todorović were in charge of the adaptation of the Belgrade exhibition.
“Alan Ford is one of the very rare examples of how a foreign cultural artifact is ‘received’ in a new environment and, moreover, becomes an inseparable part of the cultural heritage of the recipient country; the cultural equivalent of fruit grafting. It is true that ‘Alan Ford’ became more popular and significant in the former Yugoslavia than in its native Italy, while in all other countries, where the translation was attempted, it was shut down after only a few editions. It has never, for example, been translated into English.
In my opinion, there are several reasons, which I elaborated on in the book. The first and the foremost is that our natural form of mental and social functioning is a ‘surreal’ farce – neither capitalism nor socialism, but ‘surrealism’. That’s why the comic resonated so strongly. Besides, ‘Alan Ford’ is a modernized version of comedy del arte, an old and archetypal art form that largely shaped the modern culture of the mass media. Finally, there are several other reasons, from social satire, as a strong art form of former communist countries, through the way the Croatian language is perceived in the rest of the former Yugoslavia, to the prevailing cult of amateur amateurism in our societies”, states Lazar Džamić on the occasion of opening the Belgrade exhibition.
The exhibition will also feature rare editions of the comic book “Alan Ford” from the collection of Marijan Matić and Mario Reljanović.
The realization of the exhibition was assisted by Erste Bank and S-Leasing, Vip mobile, Montprojekt, Traco invest, Triglav osiguranje and Soko inženjering.
Within the exhibition “Alan Ford’s Lap of Honour”, accompanying programs will be held.
The exhibition will be open until January 31, 2021.
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