Knock Knock @ Galería Javier López, Madrid
Galería Javier López in Madrid is about to open what looks like an epic group show, "Knock Knock," that basically runs the entire roster of every fantastic comic-book inspired artist we have ever covered. From Charles Burns to Daniel Clowes, Erik Parker and REAS, Gary Panter and Kaws, Keiichi Tanaami to Ed Templeton, Nara and Faile, this looks to be one of the absolute standout exhibitions of the summer.
Galería Javier López presents the exhibition Knock! Knock! curated by its director, Fer Francés. The selection brings together the work of forty visual artists and international illustrators, many of whom show their work for the first time in Spain. The exhibition reflects the influence and evolution of the comic as an artistic and graphic demonstration as well as the vast relationship between comics and contemporary art. Comics are often unfairly categorized as ‘minor art’ that have been demonstrating for a long time the astounding quality of great artists, with a vast level of production inversely opposite to their social recognition. The exhibition does not seek to become a manual of the history of comics. However, intends to draw the viewer’s attention to a clear reality within the international context that has to do with the growing recognition of this genre. It is a unique presentation in the Spanish art market and offers an opportunity to access original works by many key artists in this discipline or, to some extent, be influenced by it, but with poor visibility in Spain.
With this exhibition Galería Javier López is not looking to create a revolutionary exhibition, but instead a demonstration made by revolutionary artists; artists who are contributing to change and who want to make the world aware that both the comic and contemporary art is for everyone. Fleeing from the reductionist topics of comic and the labeled contemporary art, only as a territory of elites. Under the title Knock! Knock! onomatopoeic sound that means knocking on the door, Javier Lopez opens its doors to both, perhaps, artists, many of them considered outsiders of the art market as a public that still has great respect for the barrier outside an art gallery.
The exhibition presents a remarkable relationship of influences and styles that summarizes the evolution from the underground comics, graphic novels and contemporary art.
Since its inception, the Pop Art movement has been one of the greatest of the twentieth century, achieving influence for later generations. Nonetheless, it is noteworthy to say that, while it enjoyed a hegemonic boom it was a large expanded stream among the young hippies, underground comic, which also marked a before and after in the way of irony and drawn stories. Robert Crumb was precisely one of the most important figures of this movement. The underground comic was presented as an ironic way of looking at society from an acid and critical standpoint. And it was these characteristics that, first, made the comic became adult reading and, secondly, that the genius of writers like Chris Ware, the novel turned into cultured society today as having reason and thematic apology.
Knock! Knock! is an approach to one of today's most forgotten or ignored modernity by contemporary art, however, it is a source of attraction, reflection and influence to a lot of current artists. It is truly amazing the huge direct references of this movement in contemporary art. In the exhibition there are a great variety of formats and techniques, from comic stripes to sculptures, through drawing, painting or installation. It is impossible to gather all the truly important artists whose work is related to the theme of the exhibition and, based on this obvious limitation, the selection has sought to be as generous and wide as possible. Not for nothing in it you can see the work of established and emerging artists coexisting those from the world of comics with contemporary art. And again the look is a truly international, global vocation, finding that comic book culture is rich in diversity but at the same time, even in principle, gestures, intentions and goals.