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Nicolas Mahler  [ Austria ]


Portrait Mahler
Copyright Mahler / C. Suhrkamp

Guest 2013, 2017.


Das Unbehagen

Edition Moderne

Zürich, 2005

Kunsttheorie versus Frau Goldgruber


Berlin, 2006

Die Zumutungen der Moderne


Berlin, 2007

Die Herrenwitz-Variationen

Edition Moderne

Zürich, 2008


[Mit Heinz Wolf]


Wien, 2008



Berlin, 2009



Hamburg, 2010

Pornografie und Selbstmord


Berlin, 2010

Alte Meister


Berlin, 2012

Alice in Sussex


Berlin, 2013

Mein Therapeut ist ein Psycho

Edition Modern

Zürich, 2013

Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften

Nach Robert Musil


Berlin, 2013

Lulu und das schwarze Quadrat

Nach Frank Wedekind


Berlin, 2013

Der Urknall

Edition Moderne

Zürich, 2015



Wien, 2015

In der Isolierzelle


Wien, 2017

Auf der Suche nach der verlorenen Zeit

Nach Marcel Proust


Berlin, 2017

Nicolas Mahler was born in Vienna in 1969 and has made a name for himself as teh creator of satirical comics and cartoons, and as an illustrator. Since the late 1990s he has produced around 30 books in German, which have also been published in France, North America, among other countries. His comic strips appear in daily newspapers such as the »Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. He has also created a number of animations partly based on his comic figures. Mahler’s style, at times referred to as »Minimahlismus« (tr. Minimal-painting-ism; which is also a play on his name, which translates as »painter«), is characterized by graphic reduction, caricaturing penmanship and dark, often self-ironic humor with a hint of melancholy. The subtle wit in Mahler’s work often arises from combining eccentric characters and absurd situations; his comics strips can be seen as both elevated nonsense and philosophically influenced meditations on human existence. »Like all true humorists, Nicolas Mahler is, in fact, also a tragedian busily engaged with nothing less than the ›conditio humana‹«, wrote Christian Gasser in the »NZZ«. »The thing is – his pessimism would be almost unbearable if it weren’t masked by humor.«

Among his most important works is the comic strip »Flaschko. Der Mann in der Heizdecke« (2002, tr. Flaschko. The man in the electric blanket) in which Mahler develops strikingly profound mini-dramas based on the relationship between a man – vegetating in his electric blanket – and his mother. »Flaschko« was adapted for the radio and for the puppet theater, as was »Kratchovil« (2002). For the short story collection »Dick Boss« (2010), Mahler collaborated with a dozen authors who worked his images into various stories, which they developed further. »Spam« (2009) was inspired by absurd marketing emails, »Engelmann« (2010) is a pastiche of superhero comics. »Alte Meister« (2012; tr. »Old Masters«) is based on the eponymous novel of the same by Thomas Bernhard, and »Alice in Sussex« (2013) is informed by the stories of Lewis Carroll and H. C. Artmann. In 2013 he reworked Robert Musil’s modernist novel »Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften« (Eng. »The Man without Qualities«), in 2014, Frank Wedekind’s »Lulu«, and in 2017 Marcel Proust’s »Auf der Suche nach der verlorenen Zeit« (Eng. »In Search of Lost Time«) into graphic novels. In »Dachbodenfund« (2015; tr. Attic finds) he combines small illustrations with fragments of text found in auction catalogues. In his most recent work titled »In der Isolierzelle« (2017; tr. In the isolation cell) he employs design principles used in hobby and trade magazines published between 1920 and 1960.

Nicolas Mahler is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Max-und Moritz-Preis in 2006, 2008 and 2010, and the Preis der Literaturhäuser in 2015. He lives in Vienna.