MAMCO Genève Modern Art Museum’s devotes a gallery to pioneering graphic novelist Chantal Montellier

MAMCO Geneva, the Genève Modern Art Museum, has unveiled their summer programme, which includes a gallery devoted to the comics art of graphic novelist Chantal Montellier – the first female editorial cartoonist in France, noted for pioneering women’s involvement in comics.

Chantal Montellier
Chantal Montellier. Image via SelfMadeHero

“The show will present 81 original strips by Montellier, plus some archival material, from albums between 1978 and the late 1990s,” says Vanina Geré, Professor of Art History and Theory at the Villa Arson National School of Fine Arts in Nice. “It will run until September.”

Chantal Montellier is one of France’s leading bande dessinée artists. She takes pride in her capacity to challenge people, and some of her work is very explicit.

A painter and teacher who abandoned her career in the fine arts to become a cartoonist and illustrator, Montellier’s work has appeared in a range of leading French newspapers and magazines, including Le MondeL’HumanitéFrance Nouvelle and L’Unité.

She has written several very successful graphic novels, most recently TchernobylMon Amour and Sorcières Mes Soeurs (Actes Sud). 

She’s also a contributor to Métal Hurlant, and the creator of some of the most striking and stirring science fiction comics of the 1970s and 1980s

Previous exhibitions include shows at the Beaubourg (Paris) and a retrospective at the Centre National de la Bande Dessinée et de l’Image (Angoulême). Her work has been featured on national and international radio and television.

The opening of the new gallery comes ahead of the release of Social Fiction, published by The New York Review of Books later this month. Appearing together in English for the first time, its features three politically charged sci-fi graphic novellas by Montellier – Wonder CityShelter, and 1996.

Social Fiction, art by Chantal Montellier

An anonymous official chides a man under surveillance for stepping out of view of a security camera; visitors to an underground mall are forced to form a new society when a nuclear strike may (or may not) have left them as the sole survivors on Earth; newlyweds living in an authoritarian New York City attempt to navigate the insidious hurdles of being permitted to have a child; and a Puerto Rican boxer discovers that segregation continues in America long after death.

La Reconstitution, art by Chantal Montellier

Montellier’s blend of dark humour, gripping storytelling, and consistent focus on the perils of totalitarianism, shows her to be a master of both comics and science fiction.

Announcing the exhibition, the Museum states: “The new operating principle for our summer exhibitions is based on the concept of an annual ‘special edition,’ borrowed from the world of magazines or biennials. The aim is to bring together diverse practices connected by nothing but the fascination they exert on us.

“We thus invite you to discover, on the first floor of the museum, the projects by (or on) Mathis Gasser, Eugen Gomringer, Jacques Lacan, Ghislaine Leung, Lou Masduraud (Prix Manor 2023), Chantal Montellier, and Jim Shaw.”

SelfMadeHero published The Trial in English, written by David Zane Mairowitz, drawn by Montellier in 2008, a bleak tale of Joseph K, arrested one morning for unexplained reasons, struggling against a bewildering judicial process.

The Trial, art by Chantal Montellier

Chantal Montellier will attend the opening of the gallery on Friday 6th July.

Since its opening in 1994, the MAMCO Geneva (Musée d’art moderne et contemporain), has developed an original form of museography. Mainly working with art from since the 1960s, MAMCO bases its action on several principles: a conception of the museum as a “global exhibition” which brings together, in the continuity of a visit, temporary exhibitions and renewed presentations of its permanent collections; a variation in the types of spaces and displays, so as to evoke the history of museums (from a collector’s apartment to the “white cube” or the artist’s studio); a “collection of artists’ spaces” (ECART Group, Sarkis, Claude Rutault, and a Cabinet of Concrete poetry); and, finally, a regular attention to the Genevan and Swiss scenes.

• Mamco, Musée D’art Moderne et Contemporain, 10, Rue Des Vieux Grenadiers, 1205 Genève Switzerland | Web: | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Buy Social Fiction from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link) | ISBN: 978-1681377407 | Buy Social Fiction via (Affiliate Link)

With thanks to Paul Gravett

Categories: Comic Art, Comics, Creating Comics, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, Events, Exhibitions

Tags: , , , , , ,

Discover more from

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading