Ilan Manouach |
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con­cep­tual comics


Ilan Manouach (Athens, 1980) is a mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary artist work­ing with exper­i­men­tal and con­cep­tual comics. Since 2003 he has pub­lished more than a dozen book works and has curated four antholo­gies bring­ing together con­tri­bu­tions from artists, crit­ics, lawyers and dif­fer­ent pro­fes­sion­als of the book indus­try. Addi­tion­ally, he is a book pub­lisher, musi­cal com­poser, and per­former. His the­o­ret­i­cal research, con­ducted at the MA pro­gram of the Dutch Art Insti­tute, artic­u­lates a pro­posal for an unac­knowl­edged doc­u­men­ta­tion of con­cep­tual comics. The unlo­cat­ed­ness in the medium’s spec­trum is more than an abstrac­tion: works oper­ate on the mar­gins of dis­tri­b­u­tion and recep­tion, artists uncom­fort­able with the entrenched roles per­form under mul­ti­ple iden­ti­ties and capac­i­ties and read­ers, in the absence of crit­i­cal dis­course engage with the works in foren­sic, at times non­spec­i­fied, ways of exam­i­na­tion. His the­sis (2017), and the upcom­ing anthol­ogy, result­ing from a two-year long research at the DAI, pro­vides the res­onat­ing cham­ber for these works, and a spring­board for estab­lish­ing the con­di­tions for an affec­tive lin­eage between sim­i­larly minded prac­ti­tion­ers. He is cur­rently a Ph.D. can­di­date in the New Media Depart­ment of the Aalto Uni­ver­sity of Helsinki.

In comics, he is mostly known for the unsigned comic book appro­pri­a­tions and the texts sup­ple­ment­ing these edi­tions. He has pub­lished ille­gal appro­pri­a­tions of exist­ing comic books,”and rein­jected his detourne­ments in the book mar­ket. He con­tin­u­ously claims for the impor­tance of an idio­syn­cratic “reader’s space”, beyond all imposed mean­ings com­ing from the author or from the pre­vail­ing read­ings of cer­tain works. Fol­low­ing a mode d’emploi, con­sist­ing of a very sim­ple chart of manip­u­la­tions to guide him through the process, he seeks to instan­ti­ate this spe­cific reader’s space, by retal­i­at­ing upon this same for­mat. These fac­sim­ile ver­sions, reg­u­larly dis­trib­uted dur­ing major comics events, demon­strate that comics can be a pow­er­ful self-reflex­ive medium.

His books have received gen­er­ous and con­sis­tent sup­port from the Cen­tre National du Livre in France and La Com­mu­nauté Française de Bel­gique. He is a Fel­low and an alum­nus of the Kone Foun­da­tion in Fin­land. Cur­rently, he is research­ing and work­ing on Shapereader, a com­mu­nity-spe­cific tac­tile con­lang (con­structed lan­guage), ini­tially designed for visu­ally impaired users in regards to tac­tile tex­tual pro­duc­tion. Exhi­bi­tions and the related work­shops have been sched­uled in France, USA, Bel­gium, Ser­bia, Greece, Israel, Spain, Brazil, Fin­land, Den­mark, and Switzer­land. His work has been reviewed in var­i­ous mag­a­zines and blogs such as World Lit­er­a­ture Today, Wired Mag­a­zine, Hyper­al­ler­gic, New York Mag­a­zine and his books are part of the avant-garde archive Ubuweb. He is a funded researcher from the Kone Foun­da­tion, edit­ing an inter­na­tional anthol­ogy enti­tled Con­cep­tual Comics, Unpop­u­lar Prac­tices Within A Mar­ginal Art Form.



Ilan Manouach is a sax­o­phone player, an impro­viser and a com­poser. Besides per­form­ing reg­u­larly as a side­man, his solo acts range from dark lounge to wild free jazz, and noise cut-up improv. His main col­lab­o­ra­tions are the fol­low­ing:

Glacial, a duo col­lab­o­ra­tion with DJ Lemos, has con­tributed to the fabled Hotel Costes series to much acclaim, cre­at­ing a com­plete state­ment of their cre­ative vision through chal­leng­ing rhyth­mic con­struc­tions and loose, impul­sive melodic con­tent that reflected their live approach. In addi­tion they have released sin­gles on Six D.O.G.S and Equiv­a­lence as well as appear­ing on Joris Voorn’s Fab­ric 83 com­pi­la­tion. Rather than adher­ing to a dogma in either the jazz or the techno world, Glacial’s place is in this unpre­dictable flux of an estab­lish­ment, rel­ish­ing the inspir­ing and open-ended pos­si­bil­i­ties of all sounds, exist­ing com­fort­ably along­side those other vagabond auteurs who refuse to fit the mould.

Kocher & Manouach, have vividly doc­u­mented their eclec­tic approach to music. The duo col­lab­o­ra­tion has been ques­tion­ing, beyond any style con­straints, the very same tools of their craft: the holy respect of shared lis­ten­ing, the sanc­ti­fi­ca­tion of ad-hoc and hic et nunc, stem­ming from an awk­ward solip­sism, the cap­i­tal­iza­tion on the ephemeral nature of music, the stretched wire, and all metaphors often crys­tal­lized into rigid rules and order­ing sen­tences. Instead, they have tried to build music on atti­tudes that have been often dis­missed as incon­se­quen­tial, coer­cive or sub­mis­sive. The duo exper­i­ments on the dif­fer­ent per­mu­ta­tions by fol­low­ing exhaus­tion as the nec­es­sary corol­lary for music. Their instru­men­tal game has already been devel­oped as a cog­ni­tive tool, forg­ing a men­tal archi­tec­tural con­struc­tion: ver­ti­cal planes ver­sus hor­i­zon­tal grounds, sud­den bursts ver­sus drones, sound cas­cades ver­sus pedal notes, ten­sion ver­sus bore­dom, vain attempts ver­sus sud­den devel­op­ments. Rather than fac­ing down the “blank page”, this archi­tec­tural con­cep­tion of impro­vi­sa­tion is an intu­itive, pur­pose­less machine that makes music.

Bali­nese Beast is a hiber­nat­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion with Gior­gos Axi­o­tis that count more than ten releases over the past four years. Their trade­mark sound col­lage of feed­back, two-penny effects, mix­ing-board abuse, per­verted exot­ica and car­tooney reeds is expressed through a fren­zied and hyper-active cut-up style.

book pub­lish­ing


Topovoros (the trans­la­tion of the neol­o­gism loca­vore describ­ing a group of per­sons that only con­sumes locally pro­duced food) is an non-profit hyper­local ini­tia­tive con­sist­ing of a lim­ited print run book cat­a­logue with a main inter­est in pol­i­tics, urban space and rad­i­cal move­ments. Eager to bring in Greece an eclec­tic array of impor­tant texts, Topovoros has released among oth­ers trans­la­tions of works from Craig Dworkin, Anne Fausto-Ster­ling, Donna Har­away, Eyal Weiz­man, Mike Davis, Valerie Solanas, the Black Pan­thers, Robert Smith­son, Guy Hoc­quenghem. The struc­ture of the com­pany fol­lows, as its name sug­gests, the dynam­ics and ethics of the organ­i­cally and locally dri­ven niche gas­tro­nomic cat­e­gory. The design, print­ing, bind­ing and dis­tri­b­u­tion of the books is done strictly within the pre­cise geo­graph­i­cal area, the 200 acres of the neigh­bour­hood of Exarchia in Athens.

Ink­press is a small pub­lish­ing house that spe­cial­izes in trans­lat­ing, design­ing and dis­trib­ut­ing impor­tant works of the world lit­er­a­ture of comics in Greek. Since six years now, it holds under its belt, books from Dan Clowes, Chester Brown, Kaz, Deb­bie Drech­sler, Ivan Brunetti, Gilbert Her­nan­dez and Ben Katchor.


Har­vested  2016
Tintin Akei Kongo 2015
Riki Fer­mier 2015
Noirs 2014
Metakatz 2013
Katz 2012
Both Sides Of A Wall 2011
VSAdH/ EdWB/ IpAN (uDdPL) 2010
Écolo­gie For­cée 2010
Limbo Text­book 2010
Limbo Sketch­book 2010
Frag 2007
The Horse-Headed Statue 2007
The Golden Age 2007
Le Coup de Grace [5C, 2006]
Arbres en Plas­tique, Feuilles en Papier 2006
La Mort du Cycliste 2005
Les Lieux et les Choses… 2003


Glacial, Hard­core Lounge EP
[Equiv­a­lence, 2016]
Glacial, Entropy EP
[six dogs, 2015]
Kocher & Manouach, Skele­ton Drafts [Bruit, 2015]
Unde­vel­oped LP
[Romvos, 2014]
Wry Trio,
Wry CD
[Clamshell Records, 2013]
Bali­nese Beast / Fusiller LP
Bali­nese Beast / Wham Jah LP
Glacial–Hotel Costes
Présente... CD
[Pschent, 2012
Bali­nese Beast,
Bali­nese Beast LP
self-released, 2010]
Bali­nese Beast,
Soft Offer­ings
self-released, 2011]
Bali­nese Beast / Thomas Beck

Bali­nese Beast / Dieter Muh, K7
[The 7.17…,
Sonic Protest Com­pi­la­tion CD
[Bimbo Tower,