Ileana MARIN, Paradoxes of Ideological Constraints: Ion Popescu-Gopo’s Animations and Mihai Stanescu’s Caricatures

Abstract: Two internationally known Romanian cartoonists adopted different strategies of artistic survival during the communist era. Ion Popescu Gopo chose, as did many Romanian writers and artists, the aesthetic escape, which meant to embellish his historically circumstantial identity into universal concepts, wrapping his topics and motifs into a highly artistic expression with no obvious reference to his ideological context. In contrast, the younger caricaturist, Mihai Stanescu, preferred to confront the communist ideology with its own caricature, and he suffered from being censored in Romania, yet published abroad. Allowed to sell his ideologically inoffensive artifacts, Stanescu earned perhaps more money under the communists than in the competitive, free market, in spite of the fact that he can now publish his caricatures freely; they are now simply volumes with no other restrictions apart from financial ones. Neither the aesthetic defeatism of Gopo nor the aesthetic engagement of Stanescu has survived after 1989. Is this “failure” a matter of ideology? Is it a sign of a more profound change in contemporary Romanian society? My paper tries to answer these questions, which are not necessarily solely applicable to Romanian culture, but which are, I dare say, vital for other societies facing transitions from communist to democratic regimes.

Key words: Ion Popescu Gopo, Romanian communist censorship, Mihai Stanescu,  caricature, Romanian animation

To cite the article: MARIN, Ileana. “Paradoxes of Ideological Constraints: Ion Popescu-Gopo’s Animations and Mihai Stanescu’s Caricatures.” International Journal of Cross-Cultural Studies and Environmental Communication 2.1 (2013): 123-33. Print.

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