The prize is awarded by the association Grafill to honour executants in the visual arts branch of the publishing industry and to inspire publishers, authors, graphic designers and illustrators to create quality books in all genres.
In Jegeren, Per Dybvig describes a world where displacement of identity and absence of civilisation are obvious. The presence of nature is just as obvious. The mountains tower above people and animals, and flowers are in bloom, but the people and the animals are in a worse situation. The animals seem to have mutated, acquiring alien features of both nature and people. Where horns once protruded, tree stems can now grow. Hares walk on two legs, chain-smoking with one paw and carrying a pistol in the other.
Jegeren draws the changes from many genres, such as the folk tale and the Western. It can perhaps be read as an absurd fable full of tripwires. Inspired by Georg Pencz' woodcut from 1535, 'The hunter caught by the hares,' Per Dybvig uses great originality and black humour, peculiar internal logic and razor-sharp felt-tip pen to combine the brutal and the beautiful, the evil and the empathetic, conjuring up a world which despite the macabre and gloom perhaps most of all shows a tender streak of hope.
From the Jury's statement on their decision:
The jury’s enthusiasm was unanimous. We were overwhelmed by the fantastic illustrations that seem almost in a genre of their own. The format and choice of paper mean that the ink drawings are experienced almost as if they have been drawn directly into the book, giving the sense of original artwork. It does not seem as if the images have been scaled up or down, but rather that this is exactly how they were drawn. We are given a taste of what is to come on the cover. The handwritten text complements the illustrations and emphasises the craftsmanship; even the colophon is a treat for the eye. The colour on the end leaf paper is a nice detail. The images illustrate the surrealistic narrative, varying from the brutally macabre to the beautiful, from the dark to the hopeful. They seem randomly positioned on the page and the direct, agitated strokes cause the figures to leap off the page and take on a life of their own. Every image becomes its own work of poetry. A singular and gripping fable unlike anything we have seen before.
About the author:
Per Dybvig (1964–) is one of Norway’s foremost illustrators and children's book artists. He has received many awards for his drawings and his work has been featured in solo exhibitions. In 2005 he and Bjørn Rørvik were co-recipients of the Ministry for Culture's Literary Award for their Fox and Piglet-books.
The press about Jegeren:
This picture book by Per Dybdig takes your breath away as soon as you open it.
‘Per Dybvig’s surreal story of life in the woods is sharp and clear. It is about a unique and carefully detailed world of creatures like birds, animals and people, stricken with all sorts of peculiarities. … The book is raw, ingenious and clever, and definitely in a class of its own among illustrated books. I know of no other illustrator in our country who matches Per Dybvig, either for quality of craftsmanship or artistic originality.’
‘Per Dybvig is outstanding as both illustrator and author of this publication. This big picture-book with black and white drawings done with a fine felt pen, combined with short texts tracking around the illustrations, is perhaps Norway’s best picture-book of the year. …’
’The Hunter experiments with who is the hunter and who is the hunted. People and animals have not exactly changed places, but they have gone into a more flexible order of roles and identities, where customary and normally secure realities have faded away and taken new and unknown directions….’ PERISKOP.NO