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

Fred Andersson, Anne Magnussen (Editor)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


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.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Title of host publicationComics and Power: Representing and Questioning Culture, Subjects and Communities
EditorsRikke Platz Cortsen, Erin La Cour, Anne Magnussen
PublisherCambridge Scholars Publishing
ISBN (Print)978-1-4438-7086-3
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book


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

Cite this