An Artist, a Cowboy and Some Ontological Jokes: A Nordic Contribution to the Understanding of Comics in Art

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Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: Fred Andersson
Editors: Rikke Platz Cortsen, Erin La Cour, Anne Magnussen
Place: Cambridge
Publication year: 2015
Publisher: Cambridge scholars publishing
Book title: Comics and Power: Representing and Questioning Culture, Subjects and Communities
Start page: 44
End page: 71
ISBN: 978-1-4438-7086-3


The article investigates the phenomenon of ontological jokes in storytelling. As an example of this, it describes the genesis and semiotics of Pavan, an avant-garde cartoon by the Swedish visual artist Elis Eriksson. The basic characteristics of Pavan, with its mix of visual simplicity and semiotic subtleties, were present already in the exhibition Indians and a cowboy in 1965. Later the three-dimensional narratives of the exhibition were transferred to the comic medium. This process is directly reflected in some ontological jokes and paradoxes in the cartoon. The Author argues that Peircean semiotics offers a necessary theoretical frame for describing such jokes and paradoxes.


Art History, Comics, Nordic countries, philosophy of art, Semiotics, Visual Studies

Last updated on 2020-10-04 at 06:36