Laura Virginia Sández
“This is not a foreign country!” screams Mafalda in one of the first compiled strips of Mafalda to be published under Juan Carlos Ongania’s regime. The protagonists in the comic strip Mafalda are children who speak with an adult voice about everything regarding the ‘reality’ of those years, such as the Cold War and the dictatorship. The status of illogical fiction is what spares Mafalda’s author, Quino, the hassle of being censored. Other forms of art belonging to the Argentinean avant-garde whose content was interpreted as logically criticizing the regime were often censored, and many of the politically involved artists in the avant-garde abandoned the studio to work in the streets. When artistic activity was truly committed to the political situation, it seemed to stop belonging to the artistic realm to be exclusively political. Nevertheless, Quino succeeded in being both artistic and political. Quino, applied in Mafalda pop art techniques such as the use of line to generate forms and the play with perspective and intertextuality utilizing them not to subvert other artistic mediums but to deliver political commentary. Most important, in contrast with the un-commercial nature of the Argentinean avant-garde, Mafalda was sold as a product. The comic strip Mafalda was an occasion in which people consumed the same product. This tension between the artistic, the political and the popular is performed in a unique way in Mafalda. Similarly to what kids do in their games, the comic strip engages us in making meanings. It not only provides a critique and amplifies what words stand for, but also gives us a set of tools to build our own discourse while understanding the contexts that make true the discourses of others.
Performance política, América Látina, arte de vanguardia.
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