ENKI BILAL

Born in Belgrade, Serbia, Yugoslavia.
Lives and works in Paris.

ENKI BILAL was born in Belgrade in 1951, now lives and works in Paris where he emigrated at age of 9. Enki Bilal is an internationally celebrated French artist, comic book author and film director. He became a bestselling innovative artist in political science fiction and fantasy genre comic books. In his career he’s written and directed a number of feature films as well as produced theatre sets, plays and operas. His prolific career as a comic book artist and writer has brought him great recognition and connected Bilal with a world of theatre, opera, movie and fine arts.

In 1971, Enki Bilal won a contest organised by the famous comics magazine Pilote with his first story “L’appel des étoiles”. It was published in Pilote and later re-released under the title ‘Le bol maudit’. It allowed Enki Bilal to start working for the magazine by drawing politicians. In 1975, Enki Bilal began his first comic book ‘La Croisière des oubliés’ in collaboration with Pierre Christin. ‘The Nikopol Trilogy’, the first solo work by Bilal, which brought him recognition from the public and critics, was conceptualised in 1980. ‘The Woman Trap’, published in 1986, represents a turning point in his career. The style is imposed on everyone as inimitable by both drawing and script mixing politics, current affairs and fiction. In 1987 he was awarded the Grand Prize of the City of Angouleme, a French Comics Hall of Fame. In 1989 Enki Bilal has made his first feature film ‘Bunker Palace Hotel’ and has directed 3 other movies.

In year 2015, in collaboration with Artcurial and Fundazione Giorgio Cini, Enki Bilal has joined a group of exhibitions at the 56th Venice Biennale shown next to other internationally acclaimed artists such as Magdalena Abakanowicz, Matthias Schaller, Hiroshi Sugimoto and Liu Xiaodong.

In Enki Bilal’s work art coincide with life. He paints the feelings that pass before his eyes, without idealism or contemplation. Decision on what to paint is forced by an urgency. In Bilal’s practice tragedy and suspense are always present and tension can be felt and observed through the imagery and story. This is a mindful expression of coexistence of opposite worlds, world of vulnerability and world of peace equally present. He works using instinct, with an energy and spirit that reflect his commitment and lucidity, and the engagement of a creator with his work. The beauty that he loves and represents is not superficial. It is baroque, dark and sensual.

Through the mediums of comic strip, painting and cinema, personal elements rise to the surface. His work bears the mark of both a culture and a sensibility, an interaction between the conscious and unconscious, a reflection in the shadows entwined with Enki’s childhood memories. It is creation that surpasses the graphic legacy and upsets the historical framework, that breaches traditional forms and codes. The integrity of the drawing remains. A presence manifests itself, out of the work and the subject, from the subjectivity of the artist and the sensibility of the spectator : to look at things head on, to challenge. A guideline that relates to history and to ambiance, and remains attached to a strange, fantastical universe.