Hidden Art: Artistic References in Mattotti’s Docteur Jekyll & Mister Hyde

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Barbara Uhlig

Abstract

Mattotti’s adaptation of the classic Jeykll and Hyde narrative is a unique and stylistically rich interpretation. Shifting the setting from Victorian London to Weimar Berlin, his graphic adaptation is closely linked to the artistic expression of the time. Mattotti understands art as a reference system that can be activated and used to suggest new interpretations of an old story. He weaves quotes and references to a multitude of visual sources into his adaptation, from Expressionist film to paintings by Otto Dix and George Grosz. These artistic references open up the adapted text and enable the reader to view it in a new light. At the same time, his disregard for the distinction between highbrow and lowbrow consciously dissolves the boundaries between art and comics and further strengthens the medium’s position as ninth art. To analyze Mattotti’s approach to art, the categories of “filtered memory” and “direct reference” will be introduced and expanded upon.

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Author Biography

Barbara Uhlig

Barbara Uhlig studied protohistoric archaeology and art history at the Universities of Munich, Salzburg, and Eichstaett, and works as a book designer. She is currently writing her dissertation on narrative strategies in the work of Lorenzo Mattotti, with a special focus on the use of color in comics. Her main research interests lie in subversive art, text-image relationships, and the development of Italian comics since the 1960s.