22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Line Hoven

Line Hoven was born in 1977 in Bonn and grew up in East Westphalia. After working as an assistant costume and set designer at the Kassel State Theater, she studied visual communication at the School of Fine Arts in Kassel. Two years later she transferred to Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, where she studied illustration under Anke Feuchtenberger und Georg Baber (also known as ATAK), both of whom strongly influenced her decision to draw comics. In an interview with »brand eins« magazine she explained her fascination with this art form: »What always bothered me about the theater was that you could never just make the things you dreamt up in your head, because they’d always tell you it was too expensive. With comics there are no limits, you can just run wild and share your universe with everybody.«

Hoven creates her images on scratchboard (also known as scraperboard), an illustrative technique where the surface layer of the board is scraped away, to create an array of contrasting lines, shadows or highlights (depending whether it is a white or black scraperboard), resembling a fluid type of woodcut. Today this technique is rarely used as it is considered too time-consuming. According to the »Süddeutsche Zeitung« the charm of Hoven’s images lies in their allusion to medieval woodcuts as well as the elegance of commercial graphics from the 1950s.« »Liebe schaut weg« (2007; Eng. »Love Looks Away«, 2011), Hoven’s diploma project and first full length graphic novel, sparked considerable interest among critics and has been translated into a number of languages. It is a multi-generational account of her parents’ family history – that of her father in Germany and of her mother in the US. Although intimate and deeply personal, this family album covers pivotal events. The »Zeit« wrote: »A German-American love story and family history of the post-Second World War period. Illustrated dreamily in black-and-white, narrated with Walter Kempowski-like stealth.« Two projects she collaborated with the author Jochen Schmidt on further demonstrated just how versatile Hoven is: the »Dudenbrooks«, a 26-part graphic and literary work on the letters of the alphabet, published in the »Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung« (FAZ), and Hoven’s illustrations for Schmidt’s series »Schmythologie. Wer kein Griechisch kann, kann gar nichts« (tr. Schmythologie. If you don’t speak Greek, you’re useless«.), also published in the »FAZ«. Both works were later published in book form.

Line Hoven has had numerous solo exhibitions. In 2008 she was awarded the ICOM Prize for Best Independent Comic at the Erlangen Comic Salon and the e. o. plauen Prize in 2010. She lives in Hamburg.