By Heike Clemens LOOK was specifically curated to focus on the work of younger German illustrators for children
The illustration exhibition LOOK! was inspired by Germany’s role as Guest of Honour at the 2016 Bologna Children’s Book Fair. The design of the exhibition was led by the Frankfurt Book Fair and supported by the German Foreign Office. LOOK! was specifically curated to focus on the work of younger German children’s book illustrators, both in order to showcase current trends in children’s book illustration in Germany and to direct maximal attention to this generation of illustrators, given the special position enjoyed by children’s and YA books in the German rights trade.
Thirty illustrators were selected by a jury and an advisory board from a list of more than 200 names, representing a living cross section of the current illustration scene in Germany. This selection is on show in the exhibition: 123 exhibits – by Anke Bär, Sonja Danowski, Julia Friese, Jan von Holleben, Anke Kuhl, Torben Kuhlmann, Gerda Raidt, Sybille Schenker, Katrin Stangl, Einar Turkowski and Mehrdad Zaeri, among many others – invite visitors on a voyage of discovery inside the different styles, techniques and narrative forms practised by the illustrators. The exhibition of images is accompanied by a book collection that includes the so-called ‘Master Library’, containing the most recent books by fifty-five German illustrators who are already well established and enjoy considerable recognition both at home and abroad – Rotraut Susanne Berner, Wolf Erlbruch, Ole Könnecke, Axel Scheffler, Michael Sowa and Philip Waechter, to name but a few. The ‘Master Library’ is supplemented by thirty further books from the young artists whose work is showcased in the exhibition, forming an impressive library with a total of eighty-five titles to be viewed and enjoyed.
The exhibition and its accompanying catalogue provide access to the impressive diversity and wealth of the current illustration landscape. Widely divergent techniques as well as different genres are on show, ranging from fairy tales, to non-fiction books, to comics, graphic novels and apps, executed in pencil and fine brushstrokes or in mixed media, water-colours, paper-cuts or photography to produce 3D models, digital collages and animations.
The LOOK! exhibition has generated great interest among visitors, prompting Frankfurt Book Fair to send the images on an international tour. After a brief stopover at the ‘Factory of Arts’ in Hamburg, the crates are now being packed for Mexico City: with the Goethe-Institut’s assistance, the exhibition will be appearing at the children’s book fair for Germany’s Guest of Honour appearance. Watch this space for further news!