THE BLOG AT THE CROSSROADS
Article: Interview with Enki Bilal
Posted: October 13, 2013
In his early sixties, Enki Bilal feels in his prime, enjoying the freedom of being able to apply his brooding, speculative visions and narratives fluidly between comics, films, paintings and other projects. An ex-Yugoslav naturalised as a Frenchman in 1967 and an acclaimed author of bandes dessinées since 1972, Bilal remains something of an outsider, at one remove from France’s cultural elites, despite such honours as two one-man exhibitions this year in Paris, one at the Louvre, the other entitled Mécanhumanimal. All the accompanying images come from this show, on view at the Musée des Arts et Métiers, Paris, until 5 January.
Born in Tito’s Communist Belgrade to a Czech Catholic mother and a Bosnian (nonpractising) Muslim father, Bilal grew up amid the fault lines that would eventually fracture his homeland. Becoming an attuned observer of global tensions, he anticipated in his fully painted graphic novels the breakup of the Soviet state and visualised the attack on the World Trade Center years before 9/11. His latest trilogy introduces a looser, stripped-down technique in crayons with added highlights on tinted paper. His story envisages the planet traumatised by our abuses into an unrecognisable, untameable sentient environment, in which humans and animals are realigning and hybridising to survive. As Bilal takes a seat in his Paris studio for this conversation, a stuffed zebra’s head stares down from the wall behind his head. Read my interview with Bilal here…
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