Cartoonmuseum Basel

Lorenzo Mattotti



The painter, illustrator and comics artist Lorenzo Mattotti, who was born in Brescia in 1954 and now lives in Paris, is one of the world’s most important comics artists. He was already drawing comics during his time as an architecture student in Venice and he later devoted himself completely to drawing, painting and illustrating. At the end of the 1970s, as a founder of the Valvoline collective, Mattotti championed a broad understanding of art, architecture, film and design. After mostly black-and-white beginnings, he found his way towards dynamic, colourful, expressively charged images in almost wordless comics that have made him famous. His luscious graphic novel “Fires”, which was published in 1985 with surrealist dreamy content realised using an unusual chalk technique, is a milestone in the history of comics. However, Mattotti repeatedly returns to drawing: 1991 saw the release of his graphic novel “L’Homme à la fenêtre”, in which he adhered to the use of delicate lines. He illustrates classics, such as “Hansel and Gretel”, and in 2003 he received the Eisner Award for his version of “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde”. Collaborations with musicians like Lou Reed or filmmakers like Wong Kar-wai and Steven Soderbergh are typical for this crosser of frontiers, whose drawings can also be found in major newspapers and magazines, such as “The New Yorker”, “Le Monde” and “Süddeutsche Zeitung”.

The exhibition at Cartoonmuseum Basel is Lorenzo Mattotti’s first retrospective in Switzerland. Realised in close cooperation with the artist, it presents all important milestones in his broad oeuvre, from his beginnings in the 1980s to the present day. It is accompanied by a Christoph Merian Verlag publication on “ligne fragile”.

Curator: Anette Gehrig

  • Lorenzo Mattotti from “Le Signor Spartaco” 1984

  • Lorenzo Mattotti from “Feux” 1986

  • Lorenzo Mattotti “Guirlanda” 2017

  • Lorenzo Mattotti “Vanity” 1989