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.