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Anna Haifisch

© Matthew James-Wilson

Anna Haifisch

Laudation by Andrea Heinze:

Anna Haifisch had her international break-through with her comic strip “The Artist”, which she developed in 2015 and 2016 for the American “Vice” magazine, and of which the collected episodes have been published by Reprodukt. “The Artist” is an unsuccessful artist, whom Anna Haifisch portrays as a lanky, naked bird, humiliated by egocentric colleagues obediently familiar with the machinery of the market. “The Artist” comprises all aspects of the artistic life, including assorted cliches.

It's a great read, because Anna Haifisch is wonderfully irreverent, writing from the inside of the art scene. And because she creates odd, scrapped pictures for her short stories, it also becomes an exercise in mindfulness for the poor, mistreated artist whose soul is plagued with self-doubt.

The art world knows Anna Haifisch from her hometown Leipzig, where she studied at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst, and from New York where she worked as a silkscreener during her studies. After obtaining her Master's degree from Thomas M. Müller, she along with friends founded The Millionaire's Club, an international comic and illustration festival that coincides with the book fair and takes place at established locations such as the Gallery of Contemporary Art or at left-leaning meetings places like Conne Island. Anna Haifisch and her Millionaire's Club have had significant influence on Leipzig's comic arts scene.

Anna Haifisch has stayed radically true to herself with her comics and illustrations. Scrawny, upright animal characters who are especially plagued by human weaknesses have become her trademark, as have her flat color surfaces – often yellow, orange, pink and radiant green. Her style is thus immediately recognizable, whether she's drawing a vain parakeet admiring himself in the mirror for “Die Zeit”, or her collection of short stories “Schnappi”, published in 2019 by Rotopol, or when she turns her attention to the G7 Summit, for example, by inviting carnivorous and vegetarian animals to a classy gathering at peace conference, where disaster is bound to ensue.

In her latest web comic for the renowned Museum of Modern Art in New York, Anna Haifisch sends her mistreated naked artist bird to the MoMA to smuggle some of his own work onto the walls of an exhibition, because at a party he once told a collector couple, with a touch of cockiness, that one of his works hung there. Anna Haifisch, on the other hand, is in her mid thirties and doesn't need to brag. There aren't many comic artists who are as internationally recognized and work for so many renowned institutions. Anna Haifisch is a comic artist and an artist – and the best German comic artist of 2020.