22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Barbara Yelin

Portrait Barbara Yelin
© Martin Friedrich

Barbara Yelin was born in Munich in 1977. She studied illustration at Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, graduating in 2004. Anke Feuchtenberger, one of her Hamburg professors, had a major influence on the style Yelin eventually developed. Yelin’s individualistic and unmistakable illustrative approach has added another category to the repertoire of the graphic novel genre. While her pencil drawings are marked by a certain earnestness, colors signalize emotions. Her images are dynamic and vibrant, with sharp contrasts between shadow and light, the intensity of color reflecting her characters’ emotional states.

Barbara Yelin actually became more widely known through the works she published in France, such as »Le Visiteur« (tr. The visitor), the tale of a friendship between a little girl and a raven, and »Le Retard« (tr. The delay), a subtle and melancholic love story. She also regularly publishes comic short stories in »Spring«, an illustrated journal published by a group of illustrators, of which Yelin is also a member. Yelin’s graphic novel »Gift« (tr. Poison), conceived with the author and stage designer Peer Meter, describes the real-life criminal case of Gesche Gottfried, a female serial killer living in Bremen in 1828, whose grizzly deeds became known throughout Europe. Richly contrasted black-and-white scenes and blurred boundaries create a sense of unease and ambiguity; by »modeling« light and dark, her illustrations take on a strangely spacious and illuminated quality. Yelin’s multi-award winning graphic novel »Irmina«, published in 2014 (Eng. 2016), is a gripping drama about having to chose between personal integrity and social advancement. Based on a true story, Yelin’s intensely atmospheric images document the many rifts in a young woman’s life, thus concentrating on the choice made by many to look the other way and become hangers-on of the Nazi regime. Together with the writer Thomas von Steinaecker Yelin created the serialized web comic »Der Sommer ihres Lebens« in 2015/2016 (tr. The summer of her life).

Barbara Yelin’s works have been shown in numerous exhibitions. In 2008 she won the newcomer prize of the Frankfurt Book Fair, in 2015 the Bayerische Kunstförderpreis, and in 2016 the prestigious Max and Moritz Prize for Best German-language Comic Artist. Yelin lives and works in Munich.