Exhibition

36 rue de Seine
11.0910.10.2009
Galerie Vallois
33 - 36 rue de Seine
Paris 75006 France

Winshluss

Amour

The term “graphic novel” makes him mad. He finds speech bubbles boring. He also says that the things “he loves most” are the ones that he “is best at trashing.” It’s certainly true that Winshluss, aka Vincent Paronnaud [sic], is a champ at the art of Aunt Sallying forth into just about any field, from comics to films to animation and music. Nobody comes away unscathed (and certainly not Mickey or Pinocchio), neither the codes and customs of the genre nor the readers or viewers of this work of mass destruction in which genetic mutations, chronic debility and economic meltdowns are deployed to maximum effect. We should note the almost prophetic nature of some of these albums whose characters have long done their business against a backdrop of financial crisis, as if he already knew what was coming. Working on the edge of the system, his intransigence and his radicalism – some justifiably prefer the word genius – often land him in the spotlight. Witness the critical reception of his work and the prizes it has won (the special Jury Prize at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival for Persepolis, as co-director alongside Marjane Satrapi) and the Fauve d’Or at the Festival International de Bande Dessinée d’Angoulême 2009 for Pinocchio, which has already become a cult album. Many comic lovers and connoisseurs consider Winshluss to be the best comic artist of his generation. The publisher and critic Vincent Bernière, for example, speaks of him as an “uncompromising creator with his own universe, a brute force in the world of art.” A brute, perhaps, but one whose fist is a fistful of love, symbolising a healthy violence at all the things in life that he finds shocking or repulsive. His, in a word, is an artistic universe that does not tell us only about itself and its creator, but also about the world around it and our shared cultural heritage. Winshluss is always ready to bridge the gulf between popular culture and Art with a capital A. He is the author of numerous albums characterised by their dark and deliciously amoral humour, notably Monsieur Ferraille (the 100% metal hero is seen advising a rather hapless kid to drink rather than do sport, and his story serves as a pretext for sending up all the codes inherited from the history of comics and popular illustrations), Pat Boon Happy End (the tribulations of a feckless loser against a backdrop of economic crisis, porn movies and the Ku Klux Klan), Super Negra (the droll story of a mutant Mickey with a penchant for angling), Welcome to the Death Club (in which the Grim Reaper goes about rounding up all manner of losers), Smart Monkey (the pitiless struggle for life of the small and the weak) and Wizz et Buzz (the hilarious adventures of two self-satisfied cretins). A leading figure on the underground and alternative scenes, Winshluss is also an artist who likes to collaborate and exchange with others, as can be seen from his work with the Requins Marteaux group, with whom he became editor-in-chief of the magazine Ferraille, and from his longstanding association with the artist and colourist Cizo. Two recent shows, one at Lieu Unique in Nantes, the other at the Atelier Magelis in Angoulême, have highlighted both the implacable coherence and the disconcerting diversity of his career. Visitors there could savour many original drawings, but also the famous Raging Blues cartoon (placing in parallel the actions of a shady property speculator and the pathetic life of a beggar during a crisis-ridden Christmas), and his latest film venture, Villemolle 81 (a gory rural thriller combining cinema and animation), whose subtitle, “In the Tarn, nobody can hear you scream,” could easily be applied to all his work. Sidesplitting, hair-raising stuff.

David Rosenberg


33 36 rue de Seine
75006 Paris – FR
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