The Slovenia Times

Folk Art Reinterpreted



Stripburger originated out of the underground scene in the late 80's, created by the organisation Strip Core (which also included music, photography and visual arts). Since 1992 when the first issue was published, Strip Core has issued 44 editions of Stripburger. The diverse activities of Strip Core show that Stripburger is exceptional not only in Slovenia, but also internationally, especially with its thematic issues focused on East-European comic strip production, marginal social groups, human rights, madness, war and sexuality. "After the break-up of Yugoslavia we still had strong connections with authors from all the ex-Yugoslav countries," comments Katra Mirovic from Strip Core. "We wanted to re-connect the scene, and to distribute their works Europe-wide."Actually, they did even more than that. Today, Stripburger represents a reliable source of information on the Eastern European alternative comics scene and features not only artists from Eastern Europe (who remain their focus), but also artists from the West. The latest edition, called Honey Talks, has been published in collaboration with the Slovene Ethnographic Museum, Viva Comix from Italy and Serieteket Liberary from Stockholm. It includes two local and nine foreign artists. In addition to the printed edition, there is also an exhibition of the works at the Slovene Ethnographic museum until March 31st. Honey Talks The most recent edition of Stripburger contains an odd combination of art forms. Honey Talks is a collection of comics inspired by a form of Slovene folk art - painted beehive panels. Sometimes an outsider's view is needed to appreciate the local cultural heritage. Such was the case with painted beehive panels. French artist Pakito Bolino initiated this project. In the painted beehive panels, Bolino discovered suitable material for conversion into a newer medium. The designs of beehive panels, with their caricaturing, waggishness, inclination to irony and distorting of the normal world, are very similar to those of comics. Even though the panels are a product of another time and place, and even though they come from a rural milieu that is seemingly quite different from the urban setting of comics, the two still have much in common. They both are capable of telling a story with very limited means. But the unique character of these re-interpretations lies in the imaginative transformation of an old art form into a contemporary one. The invited authors, Matej Kocjan-Koco (Slovenia), Jakob Klemencic (Slovenia), Danijel Zezlej (Croatia), Marcel Ruijters (Netherlands), Vladan Nikolic (Serbia & Montenegro), Ruto Modan (Israel), Anke Feuchtenberger (Germany), Milorad Krstic (Hungary), and Matthias Lehmann (France), together formed a stylistically diverse post-modern group, which worked to set traditional themes to modern contexts. Among others, one can admire Kocjan's "Goat Eats and Shits the Tailor;" Nikolic's "Women's Duel on Cocks," which is a feminist version of the Wild West set in the Gorenjska region; Ruijters's reinterpretation of the story of Adam and Eve that happens to include medieval monasteries; and Anke Feuchtenberger's "Woman Takes a Beehive," in which one can observe the transformation of a woman into a raging swarm of bees. Thus, the stories of the painted beehive panels live on. The unusual, somewhat incomprehensible, wonderfully bizarre artwork has gained a worthy heir. The tradition continues, even though it has lost its local spirit as a result of being broadened for an international audience.


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