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Robert Combas new additions

combas and pieters

The final blog on the “Figuration Libre” presents two important new additions to my inventory. Both are related to each other. The first is the Guy Pieters catalogue from 2003 in which he presented the latest paintings from 2002 and 2003 and the second is from 2005 from the Museum Jan van der Togt. The museum made a choice from these recent paintings and added, many paintings from the decades before to this great retrospective.

Both are now available at http://www.ftn-books.com and belong to the best publications on Robert Combas

combas pieters c

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Hervé Di Rosa (1959)

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Di Rosa is the artist from the LIBERATION LIBRE group who arguably has been influenced the most by the original comic art from the previous French decades in comics. He even published some comics on his own. A bit like Raymond Pettibon also publishes his own comics. In an interview he tells the following to the interviewer:

“The great names in comics have affected me every bit as much as the great painters I love.” Growing up in the 1960s, relatively isolated in Sète on the French Mediterranean coast, Hervé Di Rosa got his culture fix from reproductions of fine art in books and from comics. “I saw no difference between them in scale or validity.” Starting to exhibit his art in 1980, Di Rosa with his brother Richard and Robert Combas drew on their passions for both art and pop culture to pioneer the radical French ‘Figuration Libre’ movement in the 1980s. Unlike most earlier Pop artists, who were not necessarily raised on comics, Di Rosa explains, “I don’t cite comics in a superficial way, I incorporate their techniques into my work.”

Personally i think the works by Di Rosa are too much like comics. I prefer the Combas works with the heavy outlines around his subjects , making his works stand out and recognized instantly. Still the Groninger Museum liked Di Rosa his works so much that they devoted a nice exhibition on Di Roda and published ” LES AVENTURES DE HERVE ET RICHARD ” in 1986. This and other Di Rosa publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

 

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Figuration Libre

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This week several blogs on “Figuration Libre” . It is the french counterpart of the mouvement which was led by haring, Scharf and Basquiat in the US, b ut with a difference, because , in my opinion, The Europeans? French were influenced by comis art from the Sixties and Seventies. The US artist did not have this legacy but invented a kind of street art on their own. Artistically more important but in many cases less pleasing to the eye.

Figuration Libre (“Free Figuration”) is a French art movement which began in the 1980s. It is the French equivalent of Bad Painting and Neo-expressionism in America and Europe, Junge Wilde in Germany and Transvanguardia in Italy. Arists in the movement typically incorporate elements of comic book art and graffiti into their work. They use bright colors and exaggerated, caricature-like figures.

The group was formed in 1981 by Robert Combas, Remi Blanchard, François Boisrond and Hervé Di Rosa. The term ‘Figuration Libre’ was coined by Fluxus artist Ben Vautier. Other figures include Richard Di Rosa and Louis Jammes. Between 1982 and 1985, these artists exhibited alongside their American counterparts Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Kenny Scharf in New York City, London, Pittsburgh and Paris.

Figuration Libre (Free Figuration) can be translated as “Free Style”.

Of course there is a reason to devote these blogs to Figuration Libre. I have acquired a small collection of important books by these artists which is now for sale at www.ftn-books.com

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Robert Combas (1957)

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For me Robert Combas is a fun artist. Painting large canvasses with “comic” like figures , thick outlines resulting in a complete style of his own . It is worth visiting his personal site at http://www.combas.com and what i learned from it, is that Combas makes music too. I did not know this before . He is in  a group called LES SANS PATTES and i checked it out at Spotify. A little ambient, a little chansons and some poetry makes this highly original too. This fascinating and versatile artist was a little forgotten outside France, until he had a greatest hits exhibition in the MAC in Lyon in 2012. His paintings can be grouped according to themes, but they all have in common their highly original and recognizable Combas style. If you do not have anything tot do this weekend, visit his personal site and listen to Les Sans Pattes , view them on Youtube and order some great Robert Comas books at www.ftn-books.com