Arriving like buses, but with considerably more panache and charm, three exhibitions featuring art by the brilliant Italian comic artist and illustrator Milo Manara are currently running across Europe.
In over a 50 years career Milo Manara, a master of Italian and international comics, has created an imaginative universe made of eroticism, adventure, cinema, history, advertising, and social media, that has influenced generations of readers and authors.
There’s still time to view an exhibition of his work at the Huberty & Breyne Gallery in Brussels, dedicated to some of the artist’s most recent works, running until 28th August 2021.
The works on display – which can also be explored virtually – include drawings Manara produced over the last year, during those periods of lockdown, many of them paying homage to the sectors most seriously impacted by the crisis: health care professionals, local businesses, maintenance workers, to mention just a few.
“I live in the country and consequently I coped rather well with the first lockdown,” says Manara. “I was able to get about and, most importantly, I was able to carry on drawing.
“I was well aware that I was luckier than most other people. Being lucky didn’t stop me feeling a sense of solidarity with those who were suffering the most and who were dealing with the disease at first hand.”
Milo Manara is particularly drawn to the arts, and to the people involved in that world, whether he is depicting film technicians or a female drummer, creating an allegorical party scene or reproducing masterpieces by the great names in art history.
The Italian publishing company Feltrinelli put together an initial series of twenty-five drawings and published them as a portfolio, with all profits going to support three hospitals in Italy.
“This watercolour series includes twenty-five drawings. They are ‘thought-drawings’. What they are saying is: ‘I am thinking about you and I want to say thank you.’ We posted a new drawing on social media every other day. I was soon getting messages of thanks from all over the world. From doctors and nurses'”
All the drawings were later sold at auction by the Huberty & Breyne Gallery, with proceeds going to the French, Belgian and Italian Civil Protection associations.
“I think we made about 70,000 euros in total, and all that money was redistributed. It’s a great privilege for someone who knows a bit about drawing to be able to keep making a contribution through his ideas and to receive expressions of gratitude. And I’ve received a great many, including from Japan and China. I’ve kept every single one!”
The exhibition also features a second series of drawings, all of them published on the artist’s Facebook page. And connoisseurs of Milo Manara’s work will be delighted to rediscover some of his earlier material, including illustrations from the enormously successful Le Parfum de l’invisible, which appeared in 1986 and 1995.
It’s also been recently announced that another Manara exhibition, “Secret Gardens”, at PAFF Palazzo Arti Fumetto Friuli in Pordenone, Italy has been extended until 19th September 2021 – and again, a virtual tour is available, but there is a charge for it.
On display are some 90 originals by Manara including comic strips, drawings for advertising, illustrations, tributes, variant covers for Marvel Comics; plus three original drawings by Federico Fellini, personally donated by the director to Manara, four comic storyboards sketched by himself; an autograph letter and a watercolour layout for Hugo Pratt’s El Gaucho.
The selection also includes works rarely exhibited in the past, such as a table from his early experimental work “Alessio the revolutionary bourgeois” and three illustrations created for a special collection of Ulysse Nardin watches.
Finally, A Journey of Desire runs at Porto Antico di Genova, Genoa, until 17th October 2021, curated by COMICON and with the patronage of the Comune di Genova-Genoa Municipality.
On display are some one hundred original works, flanked by sketches, sketches, studies, rare and unpublished documents and, many of his “Lockdown Heroes” illustrations carried out in 2020, during the COVID-19 emergency, in support of women who continued to work, to make life go on.
• Milo Manara – Oeuvres récentes runs until 28th August 2021, Huberty & Breyne, 33 place du Châtelain, 1050 Bruxelles | Open Tuesday – Saturday 11.00am – 6.00pm
• Milo Manara – Secret Gardens, PAFF Palazzo Arti Fumetto Friuli in Pordenone, Italy extended until 19th September 2021 – a virtual tour is available, but there is a charge for it
• Milo Manara – A Journey of Desire runs until 17th October
2021 at Porto Antico di Genova – Porta Siberia | Hours: Tuesday / Sunday from 10.00am to 7.00pm