The work of Romanian brothers Gert and Uwe Tobias operates in a peculiar space between diverse artistic traditions. Combining watercolor, woodcut prints, sculptures, typewriter drawings and ceramics, the Tobias brothers have created a body of work that combines Art Nouveau with Romanian folk heritage, Paul Klee with Russian Constructivism, and archaic technologies with contemporary art theory. Using the broad world of contemporary art as their sounding board, the Tobias brothers seek to reevaluate and re-contextualize their native heritage.
For their first show on French soil, the Gert and Uwe Tobias were invited to present their work on the bottom two floors of FARC-Auvergne in the regional city of Clermont-Ferrand.
Following the practice explored in their 2007 show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the brothers created the works within the confines of the exhibition space, and painted the walls to correlate with the works presented. In some rooms, a single horizontal line darts across the walls, aligning itself with either the top or bottom of each framed work on view, while toying with the viewer’s preconceived notions of presentation.
Continuing in their signature style, the works on view combine Romanian imagery with contemporary practice: traditional celebratory colors from the brothers’ homeland spread across canvases in geometric and abstract patterns that call to mind broad expanses of early 20th century art history.
Combining their personal history and cultural moorings with their studied background in contemporary art, the work of Gert and Uwe Tobias becomes an exercise in translation, the tangible product of two men working somewhere between the multinational awareness of fine arts and the provincial history of their homeland, and seeking to pull these two spheres closer together.
The show is on view until January 20th.