Tintin’s image watchers close an exhibition inspired by him


Artist Nacho Simal has spent four years working on an exhibition inspired by Tintin’s comics. The exhibition was inaugurated in Barcelona on October 8 and closed three weeks ahead of schedule. The abrupt closure was due to a claim by Moulinsart, the Brussels-based company that protects the intellectual property of Hergé’s work, as reported yesterday by El Periódico and has been able to confirm this newspaper.


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It consists of eleven large pieces that represent “a tribute, revision and almost a kind of abduction, because sometimes you do things that you don’t know why you do them,” explains Nacho Simal to elDiario.es. “Tintin comics are something that we have all read since we were little and that we carry in our subconscious,” recalls the artist.

According to information from the gallery that exhibited the exhibition titled Simalia, the works consisted of “free versions of settings and characters” and the show was guided by “permission to imagine.” The artist explains that they are re-readings that stem from his obsession with the album Ottokar’s Scepter that they not only look at Hergé’s universe but “what Hergé looked at”. An example: the work that the gallery uses to publicize the exhibition (and which is not reproduced in this article due to the claim that there is about it) reflects the face of a Tintin deformed by ropes that surround it, an image that crosses, or is remixed, in the manner of a mash-up, with the mime Les Bubbs.

The first reaction of the cartoonist to the request for closure was “incredulity”: “everyone in art relies on those from before or revisits it,” he says. And he adds: “ours is something very small, we did not think it could bother anyone”.



But the first sign came before the inauguration, when invitations to open an exhibition called Syldavia, name of the imaginary kingdom that appears in The Adventures of Tintin. A burofax of Syldavia’s “consul” in Barcelona. This fictitious embassy of a fictitious country and issuing fictitious passports controls the use of the word Syldavia as a trademark. Interestingly, I reversed It has also been the subject of Moulinsart marking.

Immediately, Simal, his gallery owner Cromo and the curator of the exhibition, Mery Cuesta, preferred to change the title to Simalia, playing with the original idea and the artist’s last name. “From there, calm down. We opened the exhibition, which was accepted and we were happy,” he says.

But a few days ago an email arrived from the Moulinsart legal team requesting all the information available on the exhibition: photographs, price of the pieces and whether or not any of them had been sold. “Fortunately, or not, none had been sold,” Simal clarifies, “we sent them what they asked for and told them that none were being sold. merchandising of Tintin “.

But the company, which holds the rights to exploit all merchandising related to the blond adventurous journalist created by Hergé, ordered the gallery to immediately close the exhibition, stop distributing any advertising or promotion of it and that the works of Nacho simal not be shown in public or sold.

Those involved have complied but there is something that was already underway: the publication of the new issue of La Cruda magazine, which Simal performs with his partner Gonzalo Rueda and which comes out this November 18. In fact, the call of this newspaper finds the artists intervening three pages of the magazine, which they have just received from the printing press, in which several works are reproduced. With a big tampon they are stamping the word “censored” (censored) in red and thus be able to put them on sale.

Hergé’s lucrative legacy is firmly protected. The comic scriptwriters Antonio Altarriba published in 2008 a tribute to the artist’s centenary entitled Tintin and the pink lotus. Tribute to Hergé on his centenary, which became a difficult to access book. It was a meeting of essays and stories in which the character was speculated. On this occasion Moulinsart did not pursue the use of image rights but the perversion of “the essence of the character.” Altarriba and the publisher that brought it to the bookstores, Ediciones De Ponent, reached an agreement not to reissue the book when the first edition ran out.

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