Attacked for drawings deemed child pornographic and misogynistic, the designer reportedly received physical threats, prompting the organization to cancel his controversial exhibition.
The Angoulême International Comics Festival announced on Wednesday the cancellation of an exhibition dedicated to the cartoonist Bastien Vivès after “threat” received by this author from controversial works considered child pornography and misogyny. The management highlights security issues and takes care not to position itself against the backdrop of the dispute, clarifying in a press release that “physical threats were made against Bastien Vivès. It is therefore not possible for the event to consider that its programming could pose such risks to an author and potentially in a few weeks to its festival goers”.
The exhibition “In the eyes of Bastien Vivès” should open at the end of January in the Charente city on the occasion of this event, the most important for the world of comics. While the controversy grew in recent days, with the launch of an online petition against the exhibition (more than 100,000 signatories), FIBD initially refused to change its programming. But “New facts have radically changed the nature of this situation and now impose on the festival the need to cancel this exhibition”wrote management on Wednesday, which also reported “of intimidation […] against members of the festival team”.
The Bastien Vivès case is tearing the world of comics apart. Mainly known to the general public as co-author of the bestseller Last man or for his cartoon about the world of classical dance Polina (Casterman), he also signs books with the most outrageously twisted taboos and sexual situations. Attacked since their release for “excusing incest” or “trivializing child pornography”.
“The festival believes that Bastien Vivès’ work as a whole falls within the scope of freedom of expression and that it is up to the law to draw the boundaries in this area and justice to enforce them”, p.emphasizes FIBD in its press release on Wednesday. Culture Minister Rima Abdul Malak said this on Tuesday “certain words” Bastien Vives’ past “is not acceptable”, saying “understanding emotions” current, in an interview with Parisian. She qualifies her argument and adds it “It is not the exhibition itself that is the problem” and that we “can’t reduce this writer to two comics and a few lines spoken in an interview”. “Incest excites me to death”had launched Vives in the magazine miss in 2017. His defenders assure that he was joking then.