The name of Copi (1939-1987) has for years guaranteed entry to a club which is not necessarily restricted but certainly select, one for whose members the work of the Franco-Argentinian author is one of the most unusually radical reading experiences in recent decades.
Copi’s work combines cruelty and tenderness, the absurd and irony, aestheticism, theatricality and the subversion of genders and genres in a device presided over by serialisation, supposedly ‘bad’ drawing and unchecked vertigo. Filled with transvestites, women who talk to snails, rats that write letters, lewd little old women and chickens, his work tests our capacity for wonder, but also the borders between the artistic disciplines the author worked with – playwriting, acting, fiction, illustration and comics – and other borders which have no place in his work: those that exist between men and animals and animals and objects, men and women, homosexuals and heterosexuals, life and death, sleep and wakefulness. Copi’s stories are tales of monsters and fables with no moral or with an uncomfortable moral: that of his short stories, his novels and his extraordinary plays, whose origin, however, lies in the radical creative act of these comics.
Copi burst onto the pages of Le Nouvel Observateur in 1964. He had settled definitively in France just two years before and since then had worked with the dramatic action group formed by Fernando Arrabal, Alejandro Jodorowsky and Roland Topor, he had sold his pictures in the streets and was witness to a radicalisation of ideas that would culminate in the student revolts of May 1968, but also in the persistence of an ‘old France’ that is insensitive to change. Returning to his work at a time which in some ways is so similar means recovering his way of seeing, celebrating it and bringing back an author whose entry into the life of his readers is still not exactly a sneeze in the storm. It’s the same storm, with thunder and lightning and the firemen running to put out the fire with a lorryload of petrol.
What? Copi: The Time of Monsters
Where? Las Ramblas 99
When? 05.11.2016 – 05.02.2017
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