Contemporary Fine Arts

Gert & Uwe Tobias

26 Aug - 01 Oct 2011

© Gert & Uwe Tobias
Ohne Titel / Untitled, 2011
collage, mixed media on paper
50.5 x 70.5 cm / 20.08 x 27.95"
26 August - 1 October, 2011

Contemporary Fine Arts is pleased to announce an exhibition of new works by the Cologne-based twin brothers Gert & Uwe Tobias (born in 1973 in Brasov, Rumania).

In addition to their already well-known interest in European folk art, Gert & Uwe Tobias now pay homage to another part of our artistic legacy: the still life. This past year, the brothers increasingly focused on this genre, resulting in large woodcuts that were exhibited at GEM Museum for Contemporary Art in The Hague for the first time. In the current exhibition, this series is complemented by six further still lifes exhibited together with new collages.

In contrast to the traditional claim of the still life to provide representations that are as realistic as possible, the objects in the woodcuts are transposed into a unique visual language that ignores three-dimensional notions of space and perspectival representation. Gert & Uwe Tobias’ preferred artistic method of the woodcut contributes to this simplification. But in contrast to the traditional way of making woodcuts, the shapes and figures that are initially developed in smaller formats in collages and drawings are scanned and graphically reduced so that they can be transferred to the larger medium. Using large, individually inked poplar plates that are assembled like puzzles, the editions of two prints each are created in a kind of stamping method without a press. Because of their individuality, in a certain sense each print is an original.

However, besides their appreciation of the genre, Gert & Uwe Tobias also take an ironic approach to the still life. The individual vanitas elements, so typical of the classical still life, such as the hanging carcases of game animals killed during a hunt, insects, snails, rotting fruit, and of course the indispensible fly as a sign of decomposition and transience are assembled in a rather strange fashion, sometimes as fragments in an undefined space. A snail sits on a dead bird, fruit is stuck to the paw of a composite being consisting of rabbit ears and goat feet. The disassembled body is – and this is aided by the manual printing process – reassembled like in a puzzle.

In addition to the woodcuts and collages, the visual universe of the two artists also contains poster woodcuts. These are individually created for every solo exhibition. For this exhibition, too, Gert & Uwe Tobias created a woodcut for the exhibition poster: aside from stating the place and duration of the exhibition, this woodcut also shows a bird accompanied by a fly, naturally indispensable as an elementary component of a classical still life.

Tags: Gert & Uwe Tobias