Master of Gallows Humour – Ciril Horjak

October 2023 Living

Alenka Žvikart


The first thing that might have attracted you to our magazine is the captivating front page. Last year's edition, for example, provides a polarising effect, chaos on one side and serenity on the other - geopolitics in a nutshell. The genius behind the illustration is Slovenian Carinthia's finest, Ciril Horjak.

Horjak was born in Slovenj Gradec, the city of peace, yet his illustrations are anything but peaceful. His witty use of gallows humour translated into comics enables him to tell a story in a matter of seconds, make a lasting impression on the reader and provoke critical thinking all at once. Horjak is a prolific creator working for the Saturday supplement of the Večer newspaper, to which he had contributed a whopping 1800 comics, which took 892 weeks to create in total. His admirable work ethic and a plentiful amount of art, also made among the more hidden areas such as charities and the dental industry, adorned Ciril Horjak with many awards. In 2010, he received an award from the Slovenian Institute for Adult Education and in 2016, he received an award from the Society of Slovenian Journalists.

Admire the art up close

The Gallery S in Ljubljana Castle currently holds an exhibition of newspaper sketches by Ciril Horjak titled Selection. The show portrays only about 2 per cent of Horjak’s vast opus, but the unique ‘rushed art’ style ties all the pieces together. Dr. Horowitz, the author’s creative alias, is always in a hurry to create comic strips so he can report on the current state of affairs as quickly and accurately as possible. “In a way, I’m delighted, joyful even, that the drawings can evoke various emotions, I can’t even imagine it,” says Horjak in an interview. The artist also adds that he usually creates his drawings in a dark cellar apartment, where he does not have a chance to discuss his work. He is consequently pleasantly surprised that the public took such a liking to his art. If you find yourself in Ljubljana in the next couple of weeks, don’t give the exhibition a miss, it is on only until November 5th.