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“I feel like some kind of ridiculous cartoon character!” – On occasion of the 50th birthday of Ralf König

14. July 2010 – 15. November 2010

For decades his bulbous noses have kept the gays company. They suffer and prance, they party and screw, they mourn and age with them. Generations of gays and lesbians and have not only enjoyed but have also been encouraged by his image of the gay scene as the centre of the universe, surrounded like satellites by tragic female figures and muffled hetero men.

Meanwhile, König’s bulbous noses populate all of world history, from the Bible, through Antiquity and the Renaissance, up to the present day. The merciless disrespect of his work has given way to a subtle irony over the years. But still he understands his comic strips and “Graphic Novels” as statements to sociopolitical questions.

“I can perfectly relax and run around without any bulbous nose for weeks, too”, maintains Ralf König. But this statement already shows that he is in the innermost part at home with bulbous noses. He dreams their dreams, he listens to their music, he lives and suffers with them. He did not invent and later write down their histories, but rather shared experiences with them. “I behave like a director with no script, but who starts filming anyway,” says König. He dives right into the events and surprises himself with the speed with which he manages to draw. “Sometimes I don’t know at all what happens on the next page and it’s lots of fun and keeps up the excitement.”

At the end, there are works which transport their messages almost cinematically, and which drag the reader along with fast cuts and flashbacks. The messages are often shrill because Ralf König has developed his very own type of mad and disrespectful diplomacy. But his messages are always humane in a subtle way and promote tolerance, love for life, enlightenment, and responsibility, and not least for themselves: intelligent and funny comics.

On the occasion of his 50th birthday, Schwules Museum presents the world of Ralf König. The stars from his pen will be present as well as a number of rather unknown characters. New facets and rarities meet classics which have already investigated the sector of the merchandizing products for a long time: Teddy bears as key tags, condoms of the horror made of glass, bulbous noses as wall clocks, on wine bottles or phonecards…

The viewpoint is an unusual one because the universe of the bulbous noses is investigated for the first time quite “scientifically”: Where are the objects of obsession? Which rolls do women and pets play? And what about religion or the old dispute between sissies and leather men? The exhibition based on the collection of Mario Russo answers those existential questions from 14 July.

Curator: Boris von Brauchitsch