Uhlig, Barbara. "Andrea Pazienza and Lorenzo Mattotti: How the Student Riots of 1977 Shaped Italian Comics." On the Edge of the Panel. Essays on Comics Criticism. Eds. Julio Cañero and Esther Claudio. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publ. 2015. 291–305.
Added by: joachim (1/22/19, 1:00 PM)
|Resource type: Book Chapter
Language: en: English
BibTeX citation key: Uhlig2015a
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Keywords: Avantgarde, Italy, Mattotti. Lorenzo, Pazienza. Andrea
Creators: Cañero, Claudio, Uhlig
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publ. (Newcastle upon Tyne)
Collection: On the Edge of the Panel. Essays on Comics Criticism
In 1977, Italy experienced a sudden outburst of aggression when the student movement reached a violent climax. The government reacted with repression and brutally suppressed the uprising. By the end of the year, disappointment had replaced the youth’s hope for change. The political and social climate had cooled down considerably, becoming detached and emotionless.This development also found its echo in the language used in independent magazines as for example in »Frigidaire«. This publication was closely linked with the student movement and for instance released Andrea Pazienza’s monthly autobiographical documental comic on the riots in Bologna. The medium of the comic was especially suitable as it was as youth orientated and anti‐hierarchical as the Movement itself. This was reflected in Frigidaire’s choice of material which contained a reportage on death squads in El Salvadore as well as socio‐critical comics and high‐brow paintings of the trans‐avantgarde artists like Mario Schifano.
The golden age of Frigidaire lasted for approximately 5 years. They found their successors in the art group »Valvoline«, founded in 1983. Like the artists of ’77 they explicitly referenced the historical avantgardes such as futurism or expressionism. They also embraced the return to figurative art but additionally linked it to a return of emotion and a larger plurality of styles. Taking the internationally acclaimed artist Lorenzo Mattotti, co‐founder of »Valvoline«, as an example, I want to illustrate how the political shift in the late 70s altered the Italian art scene in the following years: In the early 1980s, Mattotti broke with the social realism of the previous decade and with the dominant black‐and‐white style of alternative comics. Instead, he drew on the tradition of Italian painting to establish a new iconography of the fantastic, offering an escape of an increasingly claustrophobic culture.