Robert Combas -- Freedom, Diversity and Oppression
The retrospective of Robert Combas introduced this leading French artist to the Slovak scene. He is a member of the generation that restored painting to its full strength in the early 1980s. Combas was a progenitor of figuration libre, the movement concerned with sociological rather than aesthetic aspects, which revived form, colour and figure in the picture structure. His work draws on spontaneous narrative, irony and pictorial hyperbole. This resourceful draughtsman exploits linearity in bold black contour lines to articulate the form. His themes reflect contemporary society and his momentary interests. Although Combas resists art history, his painting absorbs citations and draws inspiration from Antiquity to the present, paraphrasing Dada, Art Brut, COBRA, Pop art, underground culture, advertising or animated film. His pictorial world blends the irony of traditional and contemporary culture into a wonderful caricature and parody of kitsch. As an excellent narrator of fictitious stories, he comments on historical themes, parodies historical battles, chivalric duels, wall paintings, portraits, religious motifs and inspirations from contemporary life. Texts play an important role, being either fully integrated into the images or commenting on them. The spontaneous form of his pictures is also referred to as fiery painting.