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Farewell to Fumetto's Artistic Director
After 11 festival editions, Artistic Director Jana Novotny of the Fumetto Comic Festival Lucerne will be stepping down at the end of August 2022. Many great exhibitions, unusual locations and international names will be remembered. The advertisement for the position of "Artistic Director Fumetto" will soon be available at www.fumetto.ch.
The artistic director and co-managing director of the festival Jana Novotny has shaped the content and productions of the festival since 2011. After 11 festival editions, she is now stepping down at the end of August 2022. Jana Novotny has deepened the festival's focus on current work in comics and related arts, added reflection in digital techniques and been responsible for sustainable initiatives and networking of Swiss comics work at home and abroad. Jana Novotny helped to shape and partially implement the current reorganisation of the festival, the change to digital hybrid forms of the programme and the new festival appearance.
Numerous outstanding exhibitions by international artists will be remembered for a long time. For example, the world's first retrospectives of Jacques Tardi (2015), Julie Doucet (2017), Joe Sacco (2016) and Joann Sfar (2019), both in cooperation with the Cartoonmuseum Basel, exhibitions with Gabriella Giandelli (2014), Joost Swarte (2016), the Swiss drawing collective Seico (2016) and the Lucerne Ampel Magazin (2022).
In a multi-year collaboration with the Museum of Art Lucerne, Jana Novotny curated the exhibitions Robert Crumb & The Underground in 2013, Robin Rhode (2014), Hariton Pushwagner (2015), Lorenzo Mattotti (2016), Bertrand Lavier (2017), Gustave Dorée (2018), Keiichi Tanaami (2019), Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg (2022).
In collaboration with the Lucerne Theatre, the performance "Eurydice Says" with Swiss comic artist Lika Nüssli was created in 2018.
The diverse creativity of the Swiss comic and illustration scene has been the core and heart of Jana Novotny's appreciation and promotion of the festival in all years. The promotion of young artists and cooperations with art schools in Switzerland (HSLU; HEAD, ZHDK) abroad have been expanded under Jana Novotny's leadership. With interactive exhibition projects such as Joann Sfar (2018) or the Swiss children's books of the Bolo Klub 2022, an emphasis was placed on cross-generational audiences.
Artists Jana Novotny was able to bring to the festival included Richard McGuire, Julie Doucet, Brecht Evens, Max, Emil Ferris, Ben Katchor, Frémok, Dominique Goblet, Jacques Tardi, Judith Vanistendael, Joann Sfar, Anke Feuchtenberger, Ulli Lust, Edmond Baudoin, Caroline Sury and Tom Gauld. Comic icon Robert Crumb paid his respects as a visitor to the last festival edition by Jana Novotny.
The exhibition "Motion Comics - The Beginning" brought together projects and artists from all over the world who develop comics in augmented and virtual reality for the first time. The first comic entirely in virtual reality was performed by the Australian artist Sutu himself in the middle of the 360° painting of the Bourbaki Panorama Lucerne. The Fumetto project moved on to Haarlem (HOL) and Zagreb (CRO) and was continued by the Amsterdam production studio "Submarine Channel" as a curated online platform.
For the 25th anniversary in 2016, Jana Novotny brought 50 artists to Lucerne and designed a large Fumetto anniversary book with them, which was individually finished and signed by the artists at the festival - a festival edition in a double pack.
An experience for all comics fans and festival visitors was also the opening up of unusual locations for the Fumetto exhibitions, in the entire building of the former Neubad indoor swimming pool during the renovation phase in 2013, the labyrinth of the Sonnenberg civil defence facility (2018) for the group exhibition "Shelter" 2018 or, in this year's edition, the Red House, an industrial building from 1920; the former post office tunnel under Lucerne railway station, or the Viscose site when the Lucerne School of Art and Design moved into Emmenbrücke (2017).
Even many Lucerne residents first got to know these locations through Fumetto.
Thanks to her engagement with art beyond the usual focal points and her investment in an extensive network of contacts, she has achieved extraordinary collaborations and projects: "Meta Magma" 2018 with comic artists from Switzerland and Brazil at the Chacara Lañe Municipal Museum in Saõ Paulo; Indian artists from various regions of the country in the exhibition "Mytholitics" 2019; group exhibitions of Swiss artists at the Comic Festival in Helsinki (2014); and exchange projects with Swiss and Russian artists in St. Petersburg and Moscow. In 2013, Jana Novotny co-curated the extensive exhibition on comics in the Arab world "Al Comix Al Arabi" with Christoph Badoux and Daniel Bosshart.
Jana Novotny has promoted comics and drawing as an art form in their own right, but also as a connecting medium in various inclusive comics projects. In collaboration with its founder Sharad Sharma (New Delhi) for several years, Fumetto has since 2017 provided access to drawn stories for different communities (e.g. immigrant women or children) through the Grassroot Comic Workshop, in order to manifest their voice through stylistically simple comics. Students from art schools (HSLU, ZHDK) were trained via Fumetto to become teachers of this comic empowerment in Grassroot Comic and are still active today.
With "Shapereader", a main exhibition for visitors with visual impairments was the focus of attention in 2017. The large-scale exhibition by the artist Ilan Manouach (GR), designed for the sense of touch, attracted international attention. The Swiss Federation of the Blind and Visually Impaired was invited to actively participate in the exhibition's mediation.
With the projects "Maria y io" by Miguel Gallardo in 2016 and "Immer Trubel mit Ted" by Émilie Gleason in 2022, for example, it has raised awareness of autism.
In a long-standing cooperation with the aid organisation "Médecins Sans Frontières", Fumetto under Jana Novotny has invited cartoonists "into the field" every year, and at the festival, in open studios and exhibitions, to open up to the public the creation of comic reports and problems in remote areas of the world.
Since she took up her post, she has continuously given the 40 popular satellite exhibitions more importance and visibility. The comic markets she initiated, the "Small Press Heaven" in the festival centre for self-publishers, and the poster bazaar in the Bourbaki Panorama are annual festival highlites and are indispensable places of exchange. This year, with "Comixities - The Market", she has brought together important players in Swiss comics to form a joint Fumetto bookshop.
In addition to a diverse artistic programme, Jana Novotny has also promoted exchange and discourse between cartoonists and professionals. In collaboration with the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Illustration Department, she has initiated and implemented symposia, expert panels and lectures on current topics and with international guests. Since 2021, even audiences around the world have been able to participate thanks to hybrid and digital versions. Topics ranged from various comic scenes, reportage comics (with Guy Delisle and Joe Sacco), Swiss comic promotion, gender and identity in comics, insights into comics from around the world, to children's books censorship or currently Russia in comics. Through these discourses, the festival also experienced increased interest from illustration school classes and cartoonists from all over the world.
Promoting comics was a major concern of Jana Novotny. As co-founder of the first comics network, the Réseau Bande Dessinée Suisse, in 2017, Jana Novotny advocates for comics and illustration as an independent art form, its remuneration and promotion at federal level. She is jointly responsible for ensuring that comics produced in Switzerland have a permanent place at Europe's most important comics festival in Angoulême.
She is also committed to the comic scholarships of the German-speaking cities of Switzerland and the newly established work scholarships for comics at the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia.
The board appreciates Jana Novotny's contribution to the Fumetto Festival, especially her wealth of ideas and her ability to inspire others for comics and for her projects. With a big thank you, Fumetto says goodbye to its long-time, committed and go-getting artistic director.
The advertisement for the position of "Artistic Director Fumetto" can be found at www.fumetto.ch.
If you have any questions, please contact Annette Schindler and Marco Schmidiger. Please make appointments by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.