Ilan Manouach

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Ilan Manouach
Live at the Mississippi Studios.jpg
Live at the Mississippi Studios in Portland
Born (1980-07-11) July 11, 1980 (age 38)
Athens, Greece
Nationality Belgian
Known for Visual artist, publisher, musician,

Ilan Manouach (born July 11, 1980) is a conceptual artist, a musician and a book publisher. He is mostly known for creating Shapereader, a tactile language specifically designed for the production of literary works for and from the visually impaired.

Conceptual comics[edit]

Ilan Manouach holds a BFA from École supérieure des arts Saint-Luc in Brussels. Since 2003, he has published more than a dozen bookworks under the catalogue of a small publishing house based in Brussels, fr:La Cinquième Couche. He has curated four anthologies bringing together contributions from artists, critics, lawyers and different professionals of the book industry. His work has been described as covering a range of different experimentation within the tradition of comics, from narratives, to rip-offs and appropriations and recently to the invention of a new language, Shapereader.[1]

His first book, published in 2003, was Les lieux et les choses qui entouraient les gens désormais. According to comics critic Thierry Groensteen, « […] It is not surprising that Manouach is also a jazz musician. His storytelling is entirely built as a succession of drone sounds, melodic lines, disjunctions, syncopations and improvisations and variations around a main theme[2] ».

In several later projects such as The Horse-Headed Statue, designed for an international architecture symposium in Greece in 2007, Écologie Forcée, a work commissioned by the fr:Biennale d'Art contemporain du Havre in 2010 and Both Sides of a Wall, produced for the fr:Festival de BD à Sierre in 2011, he uses exhibition space as a way to engage the spectator as the reader. Along with fr:Xavier Löwenthal, he is also the director of the anthology Le Coup de Grâce, a book that collects artists' contributions to book's call for the creation of undetermined, deliberately evasive, and irredeemably idiosyncratic narratives.

His books have received support on different occasions from the fr:Centre National du Livre in France and the French Community of Belgium. He is a Fellow and an alumnus of the Koneen Säätiö in Finland.[3]

He has also contributed to several anthologies, such as fr:Frédéric Magazine, Fr:Éprouvette (collection), Glomp and Multitudes and has produced a few commissions for newspapers such as The New York Times and it:Internazionale (periodico).

He is known for the unsigned comics appropriations, and the manifestos supplementing these editions.

He has published illegal appropriations of existing comics, and reinjected the detournements in the book market.


Ilan Manouach is probably the author of the famous rip-off, Katz.[4] Katz is a pirated edition of Art Spiegelman's seminal graphic novel Maus. Katz is an exact copy of the French edition of Maus, with the difference that all the animal characters, have been redrawn as cats. The book was printed on November 2011 and it was seen in public for the first time in January 2012 during the Angoulême International Comics Festival that ran under Spiegelman’s presidency.


Noirs is a fac-simile of the original edition of Les Schroumpfs Noirs,[5] with all printed colors replaced with blue. The book has been compared to certain appropriations from Carmelo Bene's, specifically Romeo e Giulietta : storia di Shakespeare secondo Carmelo Bene[6].[clarification needed]


Shapereader is a tactile language specifically designed to allow the creation of narrative works of tactile literature for, and from a visually impaired readership.[7] While it has been mainly created for the purposes of a blind community, the Shapereader repertoire can also be experienced by the acquainted regular user. The Shapereader consists of a repertoire of anaglyph shapes called tactigrams designed to provide haptic equivalents for objects, actions, affections, characters and so on.[8]

The Shapereader has been presented during the International Comics Festival of Angoulême,[9] at the Onassis Cultural Center in Athens[10] and workshops have been conducted in Athens, Tel Aviv and France.


  • Les Lieux et les Choses qui Entouraient les Gens Désormais, La Cinquième Couche, 80 p., Brussels, 2003
  • La Mort du Cycliste, La Cinquième Couche, 56 p., Brussels, 2005
  • Arbres en Plastique, Feuilles en Papier, La Cinquième Couche, 90 p., Brussels, 2006
  • Le Coup de Grâce, La Cinquième Couche, 144 p., Brussels, 2006
  • The Golden Age, Kormoranos, 136 p., Athens, 2007
  • The Horse-Headed Statue, Kormoranos, 26 p., Athens, 2007
  • Frag, La Cinquième Couche, 128 p., Brussels, 2007
  • A Vara do Acucar da Meia Note e nos Bordos dos Peixes, Opuntia Syndrome, 44 p., Lisbon, 2007
  • Limbo Textbook, La Cinquième Couche, 54 p., Brussels, 2010
  • Limbo Sketchbook, La Cinquième Couche, 92 p., Brussels, 2010
  • Ecologie Forcee, Biennale du Havre Ed., 24 p., Havre, 2010
  • We All Go Down #4, SOAP Comics, 16 p., Brussels, 2010
  • Both Sides Of A Wall, SISMICS et Cinquième Couche, 24 p., Sierre, 2011
  • Katz, Dust, 288 p., Brussels, 2012
  • VSAdH / EdWB / IpAN (uDdPK), La Cinquième Couche et Montesinos, 112 p., Brussels/Lisbon, 2012
  • METAKATZ, La Cinquième Couche, 207 p., Brussels, 2013
  • Noirs, Unknown publisher, 54p., Brussels, 2014
  • Riki Fermier, La Cinquième Couche, 27p., Brussels, 2015
  • Harvested, Hélice Hélas Éditeur, 500 p., Vevey, 2016

Selected discography[edit]

  • Kocher, Manouach, Papageorgiou [Bruit, 2016]
  • Glacial, Hardcore Lounge EP [Equivalence, 2016]
  • Glacial, Entropy EP [six dogs, 2015]
  • Kocher & Manouach, Skeleton Drafts [Bruit, 2015]
  • Romvos, Undeveloped LP [Romvos, 2014]
  • Wry Trio, Wry CD [Clamshell Records, 2013]
  • Balinese Beast / Fusiller LP [TanzProcesz, 2013]
  • Balinese Beast / Wham Jah LP [Phase, 2012]
  • Glacial - Hotel Costes Présente... . CD [Pschent, 2012]
  • Balinese Beast, Balinese Beast LP [self-released, 2010]
  • Balinese Beast, Soft Offerings Single [self-released, 2011]
  • Balinese Beast / Thomas Beck Single [Wachsender Prozess, 2013]
  • in Sonic Protest Compilation CD [Bimbo Tower, 2012]


  1. ^ Kartalopoulos, Bill (March 2016). "Ilan Manouach: Defamiliarizing Comics". World Literature Today. 
  2. ^ Groensteen, Thierry (2011). Système de la bande dessinée. Bande dessinée et narration II. Paris: PUF. p. 31. ISBN 978-2-13-058487-2. 
  3. ^ "Ilan Manouach: Sarjakuvakirja näkövammaisille". 
  4. ^ Lambrecht, Maxime (17 March 2012). "Katz détourne Maus : le droit d'auteur, un fardeau pour la libre expression artistique ?". ipDIGit. 
  5. ^ Girard, Quentin (31 January 2014). ""Les Schtroumpfs noirs" restent bleus". Liberation. 
  6. ^ Moura, Pedro (April 2014). "Les Schtroumpfs noirs by Ilan Manouach". du9. 
  7. ^ Kartalopoulos, Bill (March 30, 2015). "Shapereader and Ilan Manouach". 50watts. 
  8. ^ Engelbach, Cathia (31 January 2016). "Venez essayer la bande dessinée " tactile "". Le Monde. 
  9. ^ "Ilan Manouach - Shapereader". Angouleme International Comics Festival. 
  10. ^ "Shapereader: Διαβάζοντας τα σχήματα". 

External links[edit]