The Bastien Vivès affair sows discord in comics, at the dawn of the Angoulême festival

Exhibition on the comic strip

Title of a famous storyAsterix, would the “discord” spread in the middle of the comic strip, without the boars? Unpredictable two months ago, a climate of division seems to have spread in the 9e art, on the eve of its major event, the Angoulême International Comics Festival. six weeks later the cancellation of the exhibition dedicated to Bastien Vivès, who is under investigation for disseminating child pornography, a deep cleavage has emerged in the profession, engulfing many discussions, damaging a number of links, to the point of relegating the fiftieth anniversary of the event (January 26-29) to the background.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Bastien Vivès controversy: among cartoonists, feminist mobilization galvanized

Two camps face each other. On the one hand, those who consider that the author of Polina had nothing to do with the poster of Angoulême, in view of his pornographic albums and certain comments made in the media and social networks. On the other, those who are offended by the attack made on the freedom of artistic creation with the deprogramming of this exhibition, even for security reasons. The divide seems generational. Rather young authors and autrices make up the majority of the ranks of Bastien Vivès’ detractors, according to the names of 500 signatories of a petition called “The reasons for anger”, published on Mediapart. On the other hand, rather seasoned professionals affirm their visceral hatred of censorship, in all its forms.

The latter have made their voices heard little so far. Firstly because the verbal excesses of Bastien Vivès, calling in particular for the murder of a designer he hated, Emma, ​​and the rape of his child, make it difficult to defend him, despite his apologies. Then because the slightest speech, in a debate that has become cacophonous, exposes you to the risk of stigma on the Web. Broken by rare authors, like Jean-Marc Rochette or Catel, the silence of the “pro-freedom of expression” could be more massively, soon. A column entitled “Art is not morality, fiction is not reality” is currently circulating within the corporation. Call not to “to gag” artists, the petition should only be made public after the festival, so as not to disrupt its progress.

“It’s a dictatorship in motion”

Major figure of 9e art, Enki Bilal is one of those who want to express themselves openly today. The 1987 Angoulême Grand Prix does not compromise on “the creative freedom of an artist”as he said in World : “If we want to be provocative, we have to be able to do it. In art, it is even desirable. But you have to stay in the realm of fantasy, of the shift from reality. It is necessary to show, even in the greatest delusions, a certain nuance – a word which seems to have lost all its meaning in today’s binary world. The surge of hatred on social networks proves it, with the unpleasant impression that wokism, this upside-down McCarthyism, plays its part. That this ideology comes from the left is appalling. »

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