Tackling “millennial realities” like money woes, job insecurity, the concept of “sisterhood”, and navigating relationships forged online, nine female Spanish illustrators are featured in a new exhibition at CCCB Barcelona.
Titled Graphic Constellation: Young Women Authors of Avant-Garde Comics, the show uses bespoke installations to bring the artists’ “creative universes” to life in a 3D space, away from their usual flat paper panels.
The artists featured in the show are Bàrbara Alca, Marta Cartu, Genie Espinosa, Ana Galvañ, Nadia Hafid, Conxita Herrero, María Medem, Miriampersand, and Roberta Vázquez. “These authors, born between the early 80s and mid 90s, represent a millennial generation which in Spain corresponds to those born in the period spanning from the post-dictatorship and the economic boom of the 90s,” says the gallery.
Each artist’s space looks to replicate or expand on their comics: Bàrbara Alca’s, for instance, riffs on her Cringer creation – a Tinder-inspired dating app; and visitors can match with one of the artist’s surreal characters. Meanwhile Conxita Herrero’s Summer Storm installation looks to “highlight the poetics of everyday life and the affective value of objects”, taking some elements of one of her unpublished comic books into the physical realm.
Some artists, like María Medem, have taken a totally multisensorial approach to their installations. Her piece, titled Reflejos and directly linking to the universe of her work Because of a Flower, plays with ideas around time by incorporating the sounds associated with nighttime. The atmosphere is heightened by her use of the smell of rosemary and sound created by producer and DJ Ylia (Susana Hernández).
The exhibition has been curated by female comics researcher, editor, and publisher Montserrat Terrones, and aims to “explore comics in an innovative way”, showcasing the diversity of languages, “aesthetic registers”, and cultural references of the artists featured. What unites these nine artists, according to Terrones, is the way they use colour, graphics, and “stylistic and narrative experimentation” to question “canonical forms of comics”.
The show looks to demonstrate that the artists are all part of a broader network that’s likely not visible to those who aren’t in such ‘scenes’; uncovering the self-publishing fairs, small publishing houses and printers that foster the alternative comics scene. It also shows how the art of comics comes to life off page, too, in media such as ceramics, tapestries and animations.
On their way to the exhibition, visitors will also be able to participate in La Comiquera, a space that invites them to have a go at drawing themselves, and which will host workshops with the artists featured in the show and other guests from the world of indie comic books. The space (which opens on December 20) also houses books and zines for visitors to browse.
Graphic Constellation: Young Women Authors of Avant-Garde Comics is on show until May 14 at CCCB Barcelona; cccb.org