22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Franz Suess

Portrait Franz Suess

Franz Suess was born in Linz in 1961. He studied painting and graphic art at the University of Art and Industrial Design Linz and attended the master class for ceramics. Afterwards he designed postcard comics and published comics, photos, and satirical collages on the »Raketa« internet platform for satire and art. After taking part in a 24-hour-drawing marathon as part of the »Comics-gegen-rechts« (comics against the right wing) event in 2010, his desire to work on a larger comics project grew. At the same time, he attended a drawing course with André Breinbauer, through which he especially learned how to estimate the effort required for a comic.

For his first book »1160, Ottakring« Suess allowed himself to be inspired by his residential district in Vienna. He depicts four Saturdays in the life of a man who has no obligations and spends his days and nights shopping, walking, cycling, and watching television. »Originally in the comic, I only wanted to accompany one person for a day – on a day when nothing happens, at least nothing significant. One then became four – four days in four seasons.« In »Isopoda« (2016), Suess takes up the theme of Freudian psychoanalysis. After breaking up with her boyfriend, Tanja moves to a dreary apartment in a worse neighborhood and tries to make a fresh start. While her ex-boyfriend seeks comfort in beer and mountain hikes, amidst the moving boxes Tanja loses herself in the past and in memories of her previous life. Her imagined austere mother becomes the »super-ego«, in Tanja’s dreams she is tormented by the intangible »it«, and she remembers a certain uncle named Paul, which hints at abuse that ultimately remains unspoken. The past crawls out of all the cracks like the insects that lend the title and the depressive mood is fed by dark drawings with melancholy faces. His latest graphic novel »Paul Zwei« (2019), for which Suess was named a finalist for the comic book prize awarded by the Leibinger Stiftung in Stuttgart, deals with a gender transformation: for the first time, Paul spends the summer in the big city, moves into a shared apartment, enjoys freedom, and hopes for sexual adventures. But his expectations remain unfulfilled. Finally, after a disappointing date, the transformation begins – his penis shrinks, reverts inside, and Paul arrives at a new identity. Suess depicts the oppressive world of the feelings within Paul, who feels strange in his own body, with fine pencil strokes in grey and black.

Suess was awarded the Fumetto Competition Prize, the Austrian Outstanding Artist Award, and the Romulus Candea Prize for his graphic novels and children’s books. He lives and works in Vienna.