Hobson’s Choice: Gert and Uwe Tobias at Maureen Paley

7 December 2011 By
Director's Choice: Gert and Uwe Tobias

Paul Hobson, Director of the Contemporary Art Society, recommends his favourite exhibition of the week.

26 November – 15 January 2012

Maureen Paley, 21 Herald Street, London E2 6JT

Open Wednesday – Sunday 11am – 6pm


I absolutely love the work of the Tobias brothers, so I have been waiting with some excitement for the new show that Maureen Paley has just opened, which is the first solo presentation in London of the work of the much admired Romanian twin artists, Gert and Uwe Tobias.  Working across large-scale woodcuts, gouache paintings, so called ‘typewriter drawings’ and ceramic sculptures, their uniquely carnivalesque visual language combines influences from traditional folk art and abstract art from the early 20th century European avant-garde.   For those unfamiliar with their work, the exhibition at Maureen Paley’s is typical of their mode of presentation in being more of an environment or a set – vividly coloured wall paintings with strong formal and graphic elements unite and frame the various sculptural and pictorial components into an integrated whole.  Walking into the space conjures up recollections of the circus or some other heightened theatrical experience, populated by ghoulish, bizarre and animalistic characters sourced from Romanian folkloric myths, ceremonies, costumes and handcrafts.  Shifts between the primitive and the contemporary, the folkloric and the graphic, intricately realised and aesthetically saturated, make this a must-see show!

Image: © Gert & Uwe Tobias, Untitled (detail), coloured woodcut on paper, 168 x 150 cm, 2011(courtesy the artists and Maureen Paley)

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