The British Library has unveiled a brand new artwork by Tank Girl and Gorillaz co-creator Jamie Hewlett to promote its upcoming Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK exhibition, featuring a sassy new female character.
Comics Unmasked traces the history of the British comic book and explores how comics and graphic novels have uncompromisingly addressed such subjects as violence, sexuality and drugs, breaking social boundaries with the innovative form that marries literature and visual art.
Jamie’s art shows a moody, caped female, equipped with hipflask and knuckle duster, in an alley way after vanquishing a generic super hero, shown dazed on the floor (with St Pancras station just visible in the background).
The new artwork, which will appear on the exhibition poster around the country and as a six metre high graphic installation in the Library, aptly represents the key ideas around sedition that are at the heart of the forthcoming show. A second image (right) has also been produced, creating a digital two-panel comic to celebrate the exhibition.
Comics Unmasked particularly highlights the trend set internationally by British comic creators, whereby comics are used to subvert and challenge stereotypes. The exhibition features original artwork and video montage of Jamie Hewlett’s most celebrated creations, Tank Girl and ‘Gorillaz’, alongside other exciting examples of original British comic art.
“There is no national institution better than the British Library to showcase such an extensive collection of British comic art,” says Jamie. “I’m thrilled to be part of this exhibition, and to celebrate the history of British comics.”
“The new artwork from Jamie Hewlett perfectly encapsulates what we are trying to communicate with this exhibition of seditious British comics from the last few centuries,” says John Harris Dunning, the exhibition’s co-curator, “including rare and unseen discoveries from the Library’s collection as well as once in a lifetime sneak peeks at original artwork and writers scripts.
‘Jamie’s work defies categorisation, playfully challenging the status quo as it crosses over into many worlds, including comics, visual arts, film, sculpture, music and theatre. It really illustrates our point that comics are not only an extraordinary medium in themselves, but have also had a huge and ongoing impact on British culture in a number of different arenas.”
As well as the exhibition itslef, the Library will be hosting an extensive programme of other events, featuring many of the most renowned comics artists and writers, both British and International. Those on sale now include Bryan and Mary Talbot (2nd May) and a European Graphic Novelists event (15th May); and a special event with Jamie and the original writer of Tank Girl, Alan Martin, Tank Girl and the Aftermath, on Friday 27th June, 18.30-20.00. Tickets priced £8 (£6, £5 concessions) available from http://boxoffice.bl.uk
The full season will be announced soon on the Library’s What’s On pages.
• Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK opens on 2nd May 2014 and runs until 19th August. Tickets for the exhibition are now available to book online and the first dates from the accompanying events programme have been announced on the Library’s What’s On website, Prices: Standard Adult £9.50, Gift Aid £10.50, Senior 60 plus £7.50, Other concessions £5, Under 18s Free, Friends of the British Library Free. All galleries are accessible by wheelchair. Information can be requested from Visitor Services staff on: T +44 (0)20 7412 7332.
Due to the explicit nature of some of the exhibits, the Library has issued a parental guidance warning for under 16s.
Web: www.bl.uk/comics-unmasked / #ComicsUnmasked /@britishlibrary