On the woodcut exhibition poster this ampersand leads a strange life of its own as a hybrid creature reaching for a flower. Inasmuch as the ideas of 'Gert & Uwe Tobias' merge, the collage serves as their working mode in all mediums.
Curated by Fritz Emslander
Gert and Uwe Tobias, who were born in 1973 in Brasov, Romania, and live and work in Cologne, have gained international attention at exhibitions at New York's Museum of Modern Art, London's Whitechapel Gallery, and other venues with their monumental color woodcuts. Their works present the viewer with a seemingly surreal and whimsical world. Their diverse figural repertoire combines high and low, finds from magazines, and details from books on the folk art of their native Transylvania with free borrowings from art history. This panopticon runs through the pair's wide-ranging œuvre, through drawings, gouaches, and woodcuts, typewriter compositions, collages, and ceramic sculptures.
Constant exchange is the basis of the twins' collaboration, the results of which present the two as a team, so that the "&" has become a kind of trademark. On the woodcut exhibition poster this ampersand leads a strange life of its own as a hybrid creature reaching for a flower. Inasmuch as the ideas of "Gert & Uwe Tobias" merge, the collage serves as their working mode in all mediums. The two combine the most varied pictorial elements from the realm of folklore or the archaic and put them through the filter of the modern avant-gardes so as to convert them into their own pictorial idiom.
For the major exhibition in the Museum Morsbroich, which with its mainly new pieces provides an overview of their recent work, Gert and Uwe Tobias have developed a special kind of presentation. Wall paintings link the works executed in different mediums into a kind of Gesamtkunstwerk. Similarities in subject matter and form run like a common thread through the exhibition: the brothers' fascination with the grotesque and the ambivalent, with man-animal hybrids, with life and death, with content from both their original and current homelands, with seductively colorful surfaces and mysterious depths.
A catalogue of the exhibition, published by the Kettler Verlag, includes a foreword by Markus Heinzelmann and introductory essays by Fritz Emslander and Sarah Suzuki (MoMA, New York), as well as an illustrated section listing the artists' previous exhibitions. (208 pages, roughly 160 color illustrations).
Image: Gert and Uwe Tobias, Untitled, 2014. Woodcut on canvas, 200 x 300 cm. Courtesy Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin.
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015. Photo: Alistair Overbruck.
Angela Hoogstraten Tel: +49 (0) 214 85556-15 firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening: Sunday 10 May 2015
Gustav-Heinemann-Strasse 80 D-51377 Leverkusen Germany