On the occasion of Holocaust Remembrance Day 2022, the exhibition ‘Primo Levi – fumetto biografico’ (Primo Levi – A Biographical Comic) opens on January 18 at the Italian Cultural Institute of Zagreb. The exhibition includes 25 panels taken from the Italian comic (BeccoGiallo, 2017), designed by Alessandro Ranghiasciwith texts by Matteo Mastragostino. In addition, 5 panels will be exhibited in the Croatian translation, published by the Sandorf publishing house in 2021.
The comic is made up of black and white panels drawn with a subtle and jittery stroke. The authors retrace the key years in the biography of Primo Levi – an Italian chemist and writer who witnessed the horrors of the concentration camps – through the story that Levi told to a class of children at the Rignon elementary school in Turin, the same school he attended as a child. The meeting took place a few months before the writer’s death. Levi calmly accompanies the children through his personal drama, trying to explain with delicate firmness what the Holocaust was and how he managed to survive the hell of Auschwitz.
I remember the death of Primo Levi. It is a memory of a child who was not even ten years old […]. When I proposed a story about Primo Levi to BeccoGiallo, I did it with enthusiasm and with a bit of recklessness. Because Primo Levi wrote so much. And why Primo Levi had talked about so much. The idea was to build a story that could talk about the years of fascism, persecution and the horror of Auschwitz. I knew well that it was impossible to narrate these events better than someone who had lived through them and I did not want to copy his books. So I chose to tell the story of the Primo Levi that I might have met shortly before his death. What could Levi have said to the child Matteo thirty years ago? […]
This comic book is not the story of Primo Levi, his biography, but it is the story of my Primo Levi. […] With this story I close the circle of a news piece I heard thirty years ago, which has remained stuck in my soul. It is the story of my Primo Levi, a man who fought bravely and who knew how to resist, even and especially when it would have been easier to give in. – Matteo Mastragostino
Matteo Mastragostino was born in Lecco in 1977. A writer and scriptwriter, after graduating in Industrial Design from the Politecnico di Milano, he worked in various fields, from graphic design to creative writing. For several years he has been writing for print and online newspapers, covering news, sport and lifestyle. Primo Levi is his debut as a scriptwriter.
Alessandro Ranghiasci was born in Rome in 1990. He attended the Scuola Romana dei Fumetti and the Department of Archeology at the Sapienza university. After graduation, he decided to devote himself full-time to drawing. He has done some work as a storyboard artist in film and advertising. ‘Primo Levi’ is his debut as a comic designer.
More information at iiczagabria.esteri.it