Documents 23. Women Artists from Spain’s Comix Underground
Workshop and Round-table
The Documents programme explores the relationships between art and publishing, exploring themes that include the effects of archive on narratives of art history, the artist’s book and publishing as an artistic practice. This latest edition, comprising a workshop and a round-table discussion, recovers and grants visibility to women artists from Spain’s comix underground.
In the early 1970s in Spain, a vindication of ugliness, seediness and excess arose from a youth disillusioned and stymied by Francoist censorship, framed inside a context marked by the final repressive throes of the dictatorship. Numerous artists developed their work in magazines like El Rrollo enmascarado, El Víbora, Star and countless transgressive fanzines, yet women’s presence remained out of sight. The lack of women cartoonists was coupled with many women’s invisibility, either owing to careers being shelved in the world of comics or for working alongside other artists that ultimately emerged. Thus, this new edition of Documents recovers the work of female cartoonists such as Montse Clavé, Ana Miralles, Núria Pompeia and Mariel Soria, and serves as a prelude to a document-based show on the same theme, to be held in the Museo’s Library and Documentation Centre in 2023.
A workshop coordinated by illustrator Yeyei Gómez and a round-table discission, featuring the participation of artists such as Isa Feu, Marta Guerrero, Laura Pérez Vernetti and Marika Vila, highlight the role these women played in developing Spanish counterculture and in creating new narratives and references from the feminism of the time.
Isa Feu (1956) is a draughtswoman and comic book artist who regularly contributed to magazines such as Los tebeos del Rrollo, El Víbora and Cavall Fort. She also published illustrations in Diario de Barcelona, La Vanguardia, El Periódico and other periodic publications, and her works have been displayed in the rooms of Metrònom (Barcelona), Amadís (Madrid) and Vinçon (Barcelona). Since 1991, she has worked in film as an assistant set designer.
Ángela Fernández del Campo (1991) is an illustrator and silk-screen printer. She is the founder of the silk-screen printing and illustration workshop La Caverna (Madrid), and is a participant in the Autozine Festival, in Madrid, and a member of publishing collectives such as Turbina Magia and Ediciones Cavernícolas. Moreover, she has participated in self-publishing events like Gutter Fest (Barcelona), Vendetta (Marseille), Hungry Eyes (Berlin) and Tenderete (Valencia). In 2016, she was awarded the CreaCIC (Cuenca) First Prize for Illustration.
Yeyei Gómez (1993) is a draughtswoman and cartoonist who works in the field of editorial illustrations, graphic-art humour and poster art, publishing her work in newspapers such as The New York Times and El Salto and with publishers like Penguin Random House. Her self-published works include Cuaderno de clase (2019), Guy (2017) and Naufragio Universal (2017). In 2021, she was awarded a grant from the Academy of Spain in Rome.
Marta Guerrero (1965) is a draughtswoman, designer and animation director. She was a regular contributor to the magazines ¡¡Al ataque!! and El Víbora, publishing the series Los sonidos del morbo, Sarita and Dolores sus labore. She also made …De ellas (Edicions de Ponent, 2006) and has participated in collective exhibitions that include Brazil Inspiração and El cómic en la democracia española, 1975-2005/6 (Brussels, 2005). In 2017 she premiered the aminated short film El Mag.
Elisa McCausland (1983) is a journalist, critic and researcher specialised in comics. She is a regular contributor to Dirigido por, El Salto and Sofilm, and her most notable publications include Wonder Woman. El feminismo como superpoder (Errata Naturae, 2017) and, with Diego Salgado, Supernovas. Una historia de la ciencia ficción audiovisual (Errata Naturae, 2019) and Sueños y Fábulas. Historia de Vertigo (Ecc Ediciones, 2022). Furthermore, she has curated the exhibition Presentes: Autoras de tebeo de ayer y hoy (Rome, 2016), and promoted Colectivo de Autoras de Cómic (The Collective of Women Comics Artists) and is a member of the Association of Spain’s Comix Critics and Spokespeople.
Laura Pérez Vernetti (1958) is a comics artist, illustrator and photographer. She is a regular contributor to the magazine El Víbora, and has published the albums El toro blanco (La Cúpula, 1989), Las habitaciones desmanteladas (Edicions de Ponent, 1999), El brillo del gato negro (Edicions de Ponent, 2008) and Sarà Servito (Edicions de Ponent, 2010). She has exhibited her work in the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Madrid, Es Baluard Museu (Palma de Mallorca) and the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, among others.
Marika Vila (1949) is a comics artist, illustrator, curator and teacher. Her works have been disseminated in Butifarra!, El Periódico de Catalunya, Totem and El Papus, and most notably include the comic strips Si en el día una mujer… ( Troya/Totem), Dossier Amparo Torrego ( Totem) and Mata Hari (Isla de Nabumbu, 2019). She has also received the Homage Prize for her career at the XVIII Salón del Cómic de Getxo (2019), the Honorary Prize from the Colectivo de Autoras de Cómic (The Collective of Women Comics Artists, 2020) and the Girocòmic Prize (2022), among others.
This workshop explores the reverberations of underground visual culture today, shining a light on the trajectory of draughtswomen and the existence, or not, of genealogies with present-day artists via both theory and practice.
The first session traces a timeline from pioneering women comics artists in Spain to contemporary female fanzine artists and committed graphic art. The second session, conducted by Ángela Fernández del Campo, comprises practical exercises focused on boosting creative and critical meaning by way of different artistic techniques. The third and final session approaches self-management, the root of the DIY concept that makes alternative cultural production possible. It features Yeyei Gómez, the coordinator of two self-publishing events, Lo hacemos nosotras and Autozine, and Marika Vila, who will share her experience in this sphere.
Nouvel Building, Children’s Workshops, Floor -1
—Moderated by: Elisa McCausland
This round table features the participation of some of the most salient figures in Spain’s comix underground, for instance Isa Feu, Marta Guerrero, Laura Pérez Vernetti and Marika Vila, alongside researcher and spokesperson Elisa McCausland. As a coda to the programme, the discussion includes the first-person testimonies of these artists and widens the questions addressed in the previous workshop.
Nouvel Building, Protocol Room