Gert & Uwe Tobias – N.S, K.A, C.G, O.R, F.Y
3 November—20 December 2006
Galerie Michael Janssen, Cologne
The focus of this exhibition lies in a large scale woodcut. This technique has its origins in 1st Century Eastern Asia and only gained artistic significance following Dürer's "Apocalypse" in the 15th Century, is one of the twins' main fields of artistic activity. Gert & Uwe Tobias have rediscovered the tradition of woodcut as a medium of artistic expression, developing it further as a new kind of individual art form.
The composition of the woodcuts focuses on five frontal figures standing beside each other. Their bodies are reduced to individual geometric elements that solidify to resemble a Cubist unity. While the artists pick up on the tradition for the structure of the figures, their larger-than-life size suggests a completely new aspect. All except two of the figures fill an entire paper lane. They are meticulously attached to each other, edge to edge, line to line and figure to figure, creating a piece with the size of 348 x 802 cm, which is unique for the medium of woodcut.
Although the viewer is initially confronted by a group of interconnected figures, the individuality of each figure becomes clear at a second glance. The detached appearance of each individual is expressed through their position in front of a dark background without any decoration. It creates a spatial encapsulation to highlight the intensity of the individual figures and give them their remarkably radiant power. Each figure has its own unique form.
In addition to their own imagination, Gert and Uwe Tobias' image worlds evoke a mythology that has its sources in elements of fables and folklore, Gothic and Baroque art, and even comics. They create seemingly folkloristic masquerades that disguise the figures' identity. The title of the exhibition refers to five different initials of names (N.S, K.A, C.G, O.R, F.Y) that remain undisclosed and unfamiliar to observers. In the absence of elements that could be interpreted as meaning by the observers, the monumental figures rise above them as the only signifiers of an expressive image, filling the room with a majestic aura.