The New National Museum of Monaco is bringing together collections from the ‘ninth art’, some rarely seen, for their newest exhibition starting 1st April.

Marginalia: Inside the Secret Comic Book Collections is a new show curated using comic book collections from both public and private sources at the New National Museum of Monaco (NMNM) Villa Sauber.

Running from 1st April to 5th September, it features 350 works from more than 90 of the world’s most well-known artists for lovers and newcomers to the ‘ninth art’ genre.

Born around the same time as cinema and psychoanalysis, comics are a relatively new medium which very often chose marginality rather than convention, humour rather than academicism, counter-culture rather than received ideas. The comic has always straddled two worlds, between the subversive counter-culture and mass culture, and fans find depth in the subtlety of the messages.

Marginalia are small drawings made in the margins of medieval manuscripts. Oftentimes secular and sometimes quite cheeky, they were meant to form an additional dialogue to the texts. Following this principle, the organisers of the event ask visitors to rethink comics from a “marginal” art form to a more serious one, despite the often funny nature of the drawings.

Contributions from Jean-Luc Fromental, Thierry Groensteen, Didier Pasamonik and Numa Sadoul shed a more academic light on the genre whilst still encouraging visitors to see the humorous aspects of their unique pieces.

The image chosen for the cover of the catalogue, as well as the poster promoting the exhibition, have been realised specifically for this occasion by avant-garde cartoonist Herr Seele, adding a nod of mischief at the meeting of classical painting with comics.

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