synligt/osynligt : Receptionen av det visuella i bilderböckerna om Alfons Åberg
Sammanfattning: Alfie Atkins (or Alfons Åberg as he is known in Swedish) by Gunilla Bergström is a ubiquitous picture book character. For forty years, 1972-2012, he has met his audience in twenty-four picture books. These have been reviewed extensively primarily with a focus on their literary content. The books are also part of an art historical discourse, though their visual qualities have seldom been discussed before. The aim of this study is to analyse the ways in which the visual and the non-visual elements appear in the Alfie books, and to discuss the aesthetic reception of them from a performative point of view in relation to the reception history. The picture books are part of an extensive Alfie world built on the material (object) and the immaterial (aesthetic experience) aspects of this world. As a single picture book character, Alfie Atkins acquires both aesthetic knowledge and a verbal knowledge of languages. The lingusitic content together with the non-verbalised pictures and the verbalised text provide mutal conditions for the observers response. In the Alfie books the visual oscillates between pictures and text. The pictures in the books can relate to both circumstances-chance and temporality-wordliness, as well as the more material sides of being, through the real-time aspects of the pictures. The work is performed in different places, on different occasions by different observers. The visual can therefore shift between what is concrete, realistic, abstract and imaginary without questioning the credibility of the story. Thus the haptic also determines the staging. This places these books aside of the more common picture book theories of today. Important references to compare with and depart from in the studies of the Alfie books have been other contemporary picture books, reviews of picture books and the Alfie films. The point of departure for my analyses is the term perspicuity. To set a frame for this, contemporary theories on picture-text will be referred to.
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