In Canadian comics artist GG’s I’m Not Here, published by Koyama Press, the unnamed second-generation immigrant protagonist goes about her everyday life while living at her parents’ suburban house. As she occupies her day with seemingly mundane activities, such as wandering around a farmers’ market taking pictures, she notices details such as bunches of grapes or a girl wearing a Peter Pan-collared dress, which, as unremarkable as these things might seem at first glance, are lyrical and fairy-tale like. Meanwhile, she feels estranged at home. “[Your sister] is doing so well in everything. When will you be successful?” her mother asks her while she is clearing the table. In response, the girl tries, literally, to inhabit the life of the Peter Pan-collared girl she photographed, going as far as posing as her in order to be let into her house. While there, she rummages through the other girl’s objects, and wonders what her life might have been like.
GG’s comics transcend a straightforward plot: in all her works, scenes of everyday life are quietly and abruptly disturbed by elements of physical or psychological horror. When a protagonist of A Mysterious Project (available on her website) decides to get a haircut, she is attacked, Black Swan-style, by her shadow self, and in Don’t Leave Me Alone, a father-daughter bonding moment is interrupted by a scene of unjustified police brutality.
GG tells me that by the time she was working on I’m Not Here, she felt like her shock-like denouements were getting too formulaic. Instead, she uses unsettling metaphors to portray the domestic life of an immigrant family struggling to adapt to a new country. When the mother’s mental state seems to be falling apart, we see her having to attach what looks like a prosthetic arm to her body (which then appears to be fully functional in the following panel). The father, who feels lost, keeps driving in a series of wrong turns.
“I didn’t want the reader to feel like they were witnessing an oddity because I think the feelings that I’m trying to convey in the story are common to everyone,” GG said. “So common that sometimes we totally forget about them. So, I think by slightly misplacing one piece of reality here and there might cause someone to take a closer look.” In that sense, GG’s narrative style can be reminiscent of Haruki Murakami’s plot devices, where seemingly normal situations gradually reveal paradoxical realities that feel like very vivid dreams.
GG’s drawing style is stark and impossibly clean: surfaces are colored in different shades of gray, none of which are textured, and the dialogue is superimposed at the bottom of each panel, like subtitles. The relative visual silence and quiet emphasize the sense of uneasiness that seeps from the pages.
GG chose to publish pseudonymously, as she does not want her work and her art to be overshadowed by her personality or backstory. In fact, when she started seriously writing comics, she initially only wanted to publish online and anonymously. “I agree with Elena Ferrante, who’s stayed totally anonymous, that books don’t need their authors once they’re written — if the work has something to say, it will find the right people to hear and understand it without the author having to speak for it,” she elaborated to me. And indeed, despite GG’s austere and allegorical modes of storytelling, the theme of alienation in I’m Not Here resonates loud and clear.
The settlement comes after Tate prevented an artist who exposed sexual harassment by one of its largest donors from co-curating an exhibition.
Let’s be honest: On a best bathrooms list, no one wants to be number two.
The Newark Museum of Art Presents Jazz Greats: Classic Photographs from the Bank of America Collection
Photographers Antony Armstrong Jones, Milt Hinton, Chuck Stewart, Barbara Morgan, and more capture a breadth of legendary and local musicians and performance artists. On view through August 21.
Advocacy groups are pushing for a 5% royalty in resales, which would pertain even after the artist dies, in which case the funds would go to their estate.
This week, the Getty Museum is returning ancient terracottas to Italy, parsing an antisemitic mural at Documenta, an ancient gold find in Denmark, a new puritanism, slavery in early Christianity, and much more.
Art and photographs, publications from the 19th and 20th centuries, manuscripts, posters and more are set to cross the auction block on August 18.
The absence of an explicit framing of American art, in all of its diversity, as a visual culture of empire distorts and hampers our ability to understand — and reimagine — our social world.
The gap between the material body and the psychological one, which we all too often take for granted, is one of the underlying themes of Hiro’s exhibition.
David Rios Ferreira and Denae Shanidiin join forces to bring awareness to the plight of Indigenous women and girls, and LGBTQ+ individuals.
Metrograph’s series The Process features films that were either directed by Robert M. Young or made with the help of Irving Young’s postproduction facility.
Memes depicting a sinister, all-powerful Joe Biden alter ego are sweeping the internet, and the Democratic establishment is loving it.