Top Pick: A World of Simplicity and Wonder-BIB 2001

'There is a saying in Slovak that beauty lies in simplicity. French illustrator Eric Battut may have had that in mind when illustrating the children's book Au fil des mois (With the Passing Months). One of the book's illustrations - a bucolic picture of chickens huddled near a brick house as a fox barrels toward them from the far end of a green pasture - is almost ascetic in its inattention to detail, but it was the entry that most impressed the judges at Bratislava's Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava (BIB) 2001.
Part exhibition, part competition, BIB brings the work of 290 children's book illustrators from 43 countries to Dom kultúry (Culture Centre) on Bratislava's námestie SNP (SNP square). The drawings take up two floors of the ample culture centre and are displayed in alphabetical order according to country of origin. The exhibition runs until the end of October.


Krystyna Lipka's Sztarballo is one of hundreds of children's book illustrations showing in Bratislava.
photo: Courtesy BIB

'There is a saying in Slovak that beauty lies in simplicity. French illustrator Eric Battut may have had that in mind when illustrating the children's book Au fil des mois (With the Passing Months). One of the book's illustrations - a bucolic picture of chickens huddled near a brick house as a fox barrels toward them from the far end of a green pasture - is almost ascetic in its inattention to detail, but it was the entry that most impressed the judges at Bratislava's Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava (BIB) 2001.

Part exhibition, part competition, BIB brings the work of 290 children's book illustrators from 43 countries to Dom kultúry (Culture Centre) on Bratislava's námestie SNP (SNP square). The drawings take up two floors of the ample culture centre and are displayed in alphabetical order according to country of origin. The exhibition runs until the end of October.

It was no surprise that Battut won this year's first prize since France has taken that honour four times since BIB, a biannual festival, was started in 1967. Each of Battut's five illustrations is an adventure in simplicity and perspective, inviting the viewer to project his own story onto the sparse landscapes.

Battut's pictures give no indications of being set in France, while other work, notably that from Japanese and South African illustrations, shows off typical sights and dress from countries across the globe. On the whole, the BIB exhibition is a diverse mixture of drawing techniques and runs the imaginational gamut, from Tim Burtonish fantasy to simple lullaby.

Organisers say that BIB has always attracted people of all ages, and that this year has been no exception. Since opening with a September 7 award ceremony, it has seen over 4000 visitors, many of them adults.

Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava, Námestie SNP 12. Open 9:00-21:00. Tickets: 20 crowns for adults, 15 crowns for students and children under 15. For more information call 5292 2873. Runs until October 31, 2001.

By Matthew J. Reynolds

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