The great temporary exhibitions

13.02.18 > 09.09.18

A panorama of Chinese comic strips

Connected images from abroad

The decision to devote a major exhibition to Chinese comic strips one day was made some time ago and now the Belgian Comic Strip Center is delighted to announce “A Panorama of Chinese Comic Strips” will take place. With the backing of the Chinese authorities, this key event will showcase the extraordinary richness of an art which covers several genres, from calligraphy and illustrated legend to Manga. It has been several years in the making, necessitating a number of research trips, and would not have been possible without the participation of the “China Arts and Entertainment Group”. It answers some simple questions: What do the Chinese read? Do they read comic strips? Is this art just as popular in Beijing as it is in Brussels?

The oldest illustrated Chinese book was printed by wood block in the year 868, well before Gutenberg invented the printing press, however manhua (Chinese comic strips), like its Belgian counterpart, did not really take off until the first half of the 20th century. Mr Wang, the first Chinese comic strip hero to make a regular appearance, was born in 1929, the same year as Tintin. And China’s most famous comic strip character, San Mao, was created in 1935, the year of first publication of The Blue Lotus, which recounts Tintin’s adventures in China.

However, Chinese comic strip culture also has the lianhuanhua, which originates from an ancient tradition of telling stories in pictures. These small volumes, measuring 12.5 x 10 cm, were created for the ordinary people. Each told a complete story, with an illustration and narrative on every page and were often printed in millions of copies. Although the printing quality was poor, their illustrations were often genuine little masterpieces.

At the dawn of the 21st century, when China opened up to the world, Chinese authors found new sources of inspiration in European, American and Japanese comic strips and adopted the storyboard with dialogue in each small box. While adult fans took an interest in western-style comic strips, the younger generations, who had been brought up on Japanese cartoons, found a passion for Manga.

Regardless of the genre, it is always the most talented authors in both China and Western Europe who end up making their mark. When you consider that China has a population of 1.3 billion, there is every likelihood that you will discover some of the best authors on the planet in this exhibition.

Curators: JC De la Royère and LUO Yiping.
In collaboration with
China Arts and Entertainment Group and with the Support of the Brussels-Capital Region and the Chinese Embassy in Belgium.

Tags : Museum / Strip / Exhibition / Publication

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