Theo TOBIASSE

b.1927-d.2012

Opulent yet secretive, seductive yet severe, grave yet joyous, Théo Tobiasse's paintings possess the plenitude of works attaining maturity. Looking at his canvases, engravings, sculptures, ceramics and mosaics, one measures justly the extraordinary position that Tobiasse occupies in the field of contemporary art. His modern-ness is not found in a sterile need to overthrow transient forms, but rather in the gradual ripening of a language whose very specification makes it universal. Every real artist is ruled by this need to paint. A sort of “furor animi” that guides the hand to the canvas, the brush or any material destined to come alive. The written word, or the very Being of the Law according to Jewish tradition, fits itself onto each of Tobiasse's paintings where it is both the ultimate sign and the poetic emanation. Foremost, Tobiasse will always be a talebearer. His paintings shatter the narrative function from which, at first sight, it seems to proceed. The written word, having taken place in the body of the picture, draws attention to the fact that the figurative forms derive their significance not only from what they represent but from the fact that they are above all interrelated. It is strictly Tobiasse's imagination that begets his female prodigious giants whom man and child can cuddle up to. Once again it is his imagination, this primal reverie that lures the painter to mythical cities like Babylon, Venice and Paris. Indeed what is this strange, enchanting alchemy of forms and colours that touches us so intimately, causing Tobiasse's very own song to strike profound cords in us? The answer is that his paintings draw their universality from their very dissociation from convention, and their symbolic susceptibility and chromatic radiance. Tobiasse's exceptional abilities as a colourist have been the leitmotif of all commentary. Indeed they are the sure sign of an authentic painter's temperament seconded by the discipline of a draughtsman. It is evident that Tobiasse charms with colours. He possesses a dazzling technique - glaze, stampings, collages, mixed media - a whole vocabulary inherited from the Surrealist tradition, which however, is never self-serving. It merely serves to give the colours the greatest possible incandescence while preserving their transparency. One must insist on the grandeur of his oeuvre. By now, it has certainly achieved plenitude defying time's erosion. Rooted in the painter's personal and collective history, it has escaped history's confinement. This timelessness assigns Tobiasse a place in the creative genealogy he has assigned for himself - a painting tradition that both questions and explores the order of creation. The works of Tobiasse inaugurate the world of the visible, extending an invitation to unveil the world of the invisible. Colour becomes the ray guiding the eye towards the primal source both present and hidden from which all creation emanates. Born in 1927 in Israel, Tobiasse has had more than 200 major exhibitions all over the world to date. EXHIBITIONS: 1986 "Art-Expo 86" International art exhibition - New York, USA Musee L'Art pour L'Art" - St-Paul-de-Vence, France "Art 17 86" International art exhibition - Bale, France "Images du judaisme" Galerie Saphir - Paris, France "La Plage" Palais d'Europe - Menton "Art Jonction" International art exhibition - Nice, France "Art for America" Acropolis - Nice, France "Les Laureats de l'UMAM Xe Biennale" Musee de Ponchettes - Nice "IVe rencontre des artistes contemporaines" - Cannes, France 1987 Vision Nouvelle - Mito, Kokura and Tokyo, Japan "Art-Expo 87" - New York, USA "Art 18 87" - Bale, France 1988 "La Traversee du desir" Galerie Ferrero - Nice, France "Les pavots Dores de la memoire" Galerie l'Orangerie - Geneva "Heures fragiles d'atelier" Museum - St-Paul-de-Vence, France "Encore un fleuve a traverser" Nahan Galleries - New York, USA "Art 18 88" - Bale, France "Art Jonction Art Fair" - Nice, France 1989 "Grandes heures pour graffiti d'amour" Galerie Ferrero - Nice "La vie est une fete" Chapelle Tobiasse - Le Cannet, France "La lumiere des saisons" Galerie l'Orangerie - St-Paul-de-Vence "Petits formats" Galerie Ferrero - Nice, France "Sculptures" Sophia Antipolis - Valbonne, France "Regards sur la Revolution Francaise" - Paris, France 1990 "L'art de la rue" - Paris, France Chicago Art Fair - USA "Les peintres de l'exil, de Mane-Katz a Tobiasse" Galerie Saphir - Paris, France "Estampes et livres d'artistes du XXe siecle" Bibliotheque Nationale - Paris, France "Clowns, prophetes et mandragores" Nahan Galleries - New York Art fair - Bale, Paris

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