Sunday, 22 November 2015

Madness Reigns Here!


- My grandfather loved those drawings!

As a guest to this house exclaimed yesterday at which I was at first a total ? since Det lille rige med svovlstikkerne (roughly "The Little Sulphurous Country" a play on words from the original title of The Little Match Girl) by Adam O. was only published this week.

Adam O. Cover of Det Lille Rige med Svovlstikkerne, 2015.

But her remark was a revelation. She merely glimpsed a spread from the book while rushing through the house, and yet it felt familiar to her. It was a revelation as to the place in the grand tradition of Danish cartoon art, which in spite of his young age is already rightfully Adam's.

He places the political enterprises of the day in full sceneries with colors as saturated as if they were still created in water color like Alfred Schmidt did and Herluf Jensenius and Roald Als before him too. Within each scenery and its coloring roam the sharply drawn politicians and the rounded outlines of the homeless and their countrymen, highlighting that strange animal that is society.

One drawing could hardly be more painfully on point right now. It was done in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo-massacre, but now 10 months later the theatre is at once an all too recognizable reality onto which Surveillance, Control and Intolerance is about to enter: "Come on lads, the stage belongs to us now":

Adam O. Det Lille Rige med Svovlstikkerne, 2015.

Adam O. Det Lille Rige med Svovlstikkerne, 2015.
- Now you can sleep safe and soundly!
The carat of a democracy is measured by the means with which it answers to the challenges with which it is met. The raised voices on every page are reflected against the responsibility they should have had towards their fellow man - with that added bizarreness performed in this country lately, when exercising one's right to freedom of speech has turned into an exercise of going all out. Forcefully so since anything less than emptying the content of one's stomach could be taken as cowardice against true freedom:
Adam O. Det Lille Rige med Svovlstikkerne, 2015.
- WOW, look at all that freedom of speech!
- Yes, baby! The core substance of our democracy!
To which (Adam's signature) mouse adds: 'think that this right there is vomit...

Adam O. Det Lille Rige med Svovlstikkerne, 2015.


Shakespeare was as always right. Something keeps being rotten in the state of Denmark; in fact the government could have saved the translation into Arabic of the "Stay away, you Syrians"-warning distributed to Lebanese dailies in September had they used the portrait above on the minister in charge. On the other hand, on the very day of the printing of the advertisement and by way of social media, Adam's drawing below made its way directly to Syria:


Adam O. Det Lille Rige med Svovlstikkerne, 2015.
- and as it was, distributed in Syria.

The reaction to the massacre in Paris was a mixed lot cartoonwise, but among the exceptional was the one below by Adam. The nihilists turning out to be mere amateurs against the Nihilism of life, since why should any Other Side differ from the one we know?

This one is of course too new to have made it into the present collection and consequently the next one is already in the making. Of Det Lille Rige med Svovlstikkerne before us, quite a handful of drawings shall be a central source to new generations, when it is time to unravel the noise that was our age.


Adam O. in direct response to the massacre in Paris.


Adam O. Det Lille Rige med Svovlstikkerne, Forlaget Fahrenheit, Copenhagen 2015.


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