CHARLES BURNS | 08.12.11 >< 11.03.12 | Museum M Leuven


At the crossroads of fiction and memory, of cheap sensation and horror, lies the dark world of American graphic novelist and illustrator Charles Burns (Washington, °1955). His stories are populated archetypal comic book characters. Burns rearrange them into disturbing yet funny patterns. The atmosphere of his comic books ranges from kitschy nostalgia to disconsolate horror. Themes such as adolescence and sexual awakening are blended with constantly recurring images of mutation, plague, alienation and violence.

Most people know Burns as an author who integrates pop art and pop culture in his comics: his illustration work is much less well-known. Over the years he has created photographs, book illustrations, record covers and films. His works, published for the first time in Art Spiegelman’s RAW Magazine, showcase a vast range of different projects and expression forms: from record covers for rock artist Iggy Pop to Altoids or OK Soda advertising campaigns (with his collegue Daniel Clowes).

He created the set for Mark Morris’ Nutcracker adaptation (aka The Hard Nut) at La Monnaie in Brussels, and premiered in January 1991. The exhibition at M shows an overview of his extensive œuvre of the past 30 years, showing Burns’ versatility. Discover more than 200 works, including original comic pages like Black Hole and X as well as sketches and illustrations for magazines and books, his photographs. An unique opportunity to discover Burns’ comics and other projects in a design of B-architecten!