Prints : Götting

"Jeu de regards sous l’Atomium" - Götting
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"Jeu de regards sous l’Atomium" - Götting

GÖTTING: SIDELONG GLANCES IN THE SHADOW OF THE ATOMIUM

Jean-Claude Götting enjoys a challenge. Initially surprised to be invited to take part in a homage thought to be reserved for masters of “ligne claire” style, his imagination led him to project the thoughts of the lovelorn in the shadow of the metal giant. The continuing triumph of life…


Götting was about ten years old when he discovered the Atomium, thanks to a friend from Brussels with whom he would spend his summer holidays in Spain. “That particular year, in the course of a trip to visit my grandparents in Germany, we decided to make a detour via Brussels and go to visit him. He and his family showed us around the city and I remember that they showed us, from a distance, this incongruous metal being. I had not been able to grasp its size and I had difficulty imagining that one could stand upright inside it.” The author of “La malle Sanderson” remained somewhat sceptical about the significance of the structure but, as he says himself, the Eiffel Tower didn’t serve any particular purpose either.

He is now of the view that the Atomium represents the challenges of technology. “It’s in keeping with its time; that of Sputnik, Explorer 1 and other structures that incorporated metal and glass. I think that its concept and design are sufficiently robust to remain modern for some time to come. But it’s not timeless.” For the author of “Happy Living”, the Atomium and bande dessinée are inextricably linked. “Franquin seems to me to be the most representative, particularly because his work has always featured the style of the times. I remember the collection “Atomium ’58” from Magic Strip. Serge Clerc, Chaland and Dupuy/Berberian shared at that time the same enthusiasm for the perfect brushstroke. It was a kind of “post-modernism” taken to its limits. I was slightly tempted by that style.”

For Götting, the Atomium has a graphic presence that simplifies things. It is not necessarily easy to draw, but it is very photogenic. Did the idea for the image come easily? “Yes and no. I already had the idea of only showing a small part of the structure,” he says, “but in such a way that the remainder is clearly suggested. I had also had the idea of avoiding the problem by depicting engineers working in the wind-tunnel during the earliest tests on the maquette of the Atomium. Unfortunately, that general aspect was quite similar to what Floc’h had already sketched out as his approach. That brought me back to my first idea, which was to have two figures in the foreground, allowing me to play upon the notion of sidelong glances that echo the structural communication between the spheres. It suggests to us a third character, outside the frame, much as is one of the spheres.”

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