Monday, September 21, 2009

Object D' Art-Tomi Ungerer-Agent Provocateur

'My anger is essential to my work,-Humour is a defense mechanism against the evils of society.'
Tomi Ungerer

I first became aquainted with Tomi Ungerers work, upon discovering his dark little tome-Testament-in an even darker corner of a Liverpool library in the very early 1980's.
The naive, fluid economy of brittle line drawings, belied the psychological and political depth of his renderings-from the protest posters of the 60s, to the flabby skinned,
pearls and fur draped caricatures of high society,stiffing one another with a leer, or the Belsen style corpses humping sadomasochistic machines (when not fleecing swine tied to kitchen furniture,that is), the stark expressionistic monochrome of his sardonic humor, cut through the dung like the knife carving blood trails on the jacket.

A popular children's illustrator and broadsheet cartoonist in the US during the fifties and sixties-Ungerer-seeing too many parallels between the Nazi occupied township of his childhood, and the war in Vietnam, became incensed and returned to his native Europe in 1971, growing more subversive in the approach to his craft.

Recast as 'agent provocateur' no stone of modern malady was left unturned and tossed in vitriol, be it a world choked by greed, overpopulation and industrialization, the sacrificial bloodletting and bomb stockpiles of the warmongers, or the alienation of sexual perversion-now more than ever-his work peels back the thinly veiled skin to reveal the stark bone of societies distemper beneath.

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