Comics come to Helsinki

7 September 2012 | In the news

Comics are the ‘ninth art’, according to the organisers of the 27th Helsinki Comics Festival, which runs from 7 to 9 September.

This time, the special theme examines comics in relation to visual arts, and the main venue of the Festival is the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki. An exhibition entitled Eyeballing! and a concert series where comics meet music will take place there – artists improvise drawings inspired by live music.

Belgium is the country of focus;  in the homeland of the classic Tintin the tradition and the experimental forms of comics live side by side. Among the guest artists will be Benôit Sokal and François Schuiten, Gert Meesters and Herr Seele from Belgium, Émile Bravo from France and Arne Bellstorf from Germany. Tommi Musturi and Amanda Vähämäki are the Finnish guests.

The ninth art? In Greek mythology, the Muses are nine goddesses personifying the fields of the arts. So nowadays Polymnia, Clio, Melpomene, Urania, Euterpe, Terpsichore, Calliope, Erato and Thalia inspire, respectively, painting (including drawing and photography), sculpture, theatre, architecture, music, dance, literature, cinema (as well as television & video) – and comics.

Thalia is ‘the amused muse’: in most languages the term for comics is a variant of  ‘comic story’ or ‘amusing art’ – but the Finns call comics sarjakuva (serial pictures), which is what they mostly are.