Robert Combas

France 1957

Sculpture, Neo-expressionism

Robert Combas
Robert Combas
November 6, 2014

Robert Combas is a French painter and sculptor, born on May 25, 1957 in Lyon, France. His childhood and adolescence he spent in Sète, where he moved with his parents when he was four. His interest in art began at an early age. He started taking art classes when he was nine, and continued until the age of seventeen. In 1975 he enrolled the École des Beaux-Arts in Montpellier, France, which he attended until 1978. In that year he created his first paintings out of recycled materials, and started a band with Hervé di Rosa and Richard di Rosa. In those years Punk-rock movement had much influence on the art world in general, and decisive influence on Robert Combas. In 1979 Robert Combas, Hervé di Rosa and Ketty Brindel publish the art magazine Bato. In 1980, Combas held his first solo exhibition at the Galerie Errata in Montpellier, and in the same year, in Paris, along with Rémi Blanchard, François Boisrond and Hervé di Rosa, he was a founding father of the artist group named Figuration Libre. This movement could be said that was a reaction to Minimalism and Conceptual Art, and is considered to have roots in Fauvism and Expressionism. It is often thought linked with the other contemporary movements, such as Neo-Expressionism, and also seen that this movement has some of the pop culture influence incorporated in it. His inspiration during 1980s, Combas drew from fellow artists, such as Jorg Immendorf and Georg Baselitz, and as the movement grew he started to gain international recognition. In 1983, he held his first solo exhibition over seas, in New York at the Leo Castelli gallery.

Although Combas was formally trained in art, his notoriety was gained for his less sophisticated and more direct style of art. His work has always been strongly rooted in depictions of the human figure which are often in wild, violent or orgiastic settings. His canvases are large, and generally unstretched. While his works seem to always have an element of shock, he insists the images are meant to engage the viewer. As he states, in a biographical note on his official website, he asserts his aim is to “provoke, that is, to trigger a reaction in the spectator only to ‘invite’ him, beckoning him in and whispering in his ear ‘come over and talk to me, I want to tell you about the stupidity, violence, beauty, love, hatred, seriousness and fun, the logic and senselessness that pervade our day-to-day lives’ ”. Combas often seems to be critiquing of both the art establishment and society at large, in his art. The painting I am greedy man features a densely layered jostle of bodies, and in the middle ground two more fully realized figures, one in a business suit and the other muscular and shirtless. They dance in a swirl of text “I am greedy man/Please shout me babe/ Soul serenade is a lot of pussy/ Pussy gone on the Eiffel Tower/ My Eiffel Tower is long and large.” Many of his paintings include writing, and it is not uncommon for the use of street language to be seen in his works. Many of his paintings reference to famous people and cartoon characters. In the late 1980s his works become darker and gloomier. In the 1990s he starts writing poetry and works photographs over with felt tip pen. After the turn of the millennium music is again a great source of inspiration for him, and he creates paintings in cooperation with rock bands. “Ma peinture c’est du rock”, (my painting is rock music) Combas said.

Since 1981 he lives and works in Paris.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2014Maurice I come!French Institut, MauriceSolo
2014Genevieve of all colorsGrand Theatre, AngersSolo
2014Melancholy springsCarré Sainte Anne, Montpellier Solo
2013The color is on the 1st floorStrouk Galerie Laurent, ParisSolo
2013In pipes, tribute to MaryanArt and History of Judaism Museum, ParisSolo
2012Black and white colorfulWhite Cube, DécinesSolo
2011Combas, new worksGalerie Guy Pieters, Knokke HeistSolo
2010Goulamas are in the holeGuy Pieters Gallery, ParisSolo
2009Combas, The flamboyant show-offEuropean House of Photography, Paris.Solo
2009Freedom, Diversity and oppressionDanubiana Meulensteen Art Museum, BratislavaSolo
2009In revoyureJacques Villeglé Space, Saint GratienSolo
200880 the invention of a styleMuseum Louviers, France.Solo
2008Robert CombasGana Art Center, South Korea.Solo
2008Way of the CrossCombes-Kijno Chapel des Gobelins, Paris.Solo
2008Qu'es aco?Foundation Vincent Van Gogh, Arles.Solo
2008Blow your mindOpera Gallery, London.Solo
2007Savoir FaireMuseum of art Kyongnam, KoreaSolo
2007Savoir FaireMusee Asiana, DaejonSolo
2007JOKERDie Galerie, FrankfurtSolo
2007JOKERGalleria MOdenArte, Modena ItalySolo
2007Cinéphage galoreArt Center Malmaison, CannesSolo
2006HomecomingHelen Trintignan Gallery, MontpellierSolo
2006KnowledgeGallery Willy Shoots, EindhovenSolo
2006Academic tattoosGuy Pieters Gallery, Knokke HeistSolo
2006Savoir FaireSeoul Museum of Art, KoreaSolo
2005The love of musicBenedictine Palace, FecampSolo
2004Portrait GalleryChez Hélène Trintignan, MontpellierSolo
2003Robert CombasGalerie Laurent Strouk, CannesSolo
2003New WorkshopGalerie Guy Pieters, Knokke HeistSolo
2002Combas, a summer exhibitionHelen Trintignan GallerySolo
2002The old disgusting, here is where is the freedom of expressionMetropolis Gallery, LyonSolo
2002It was once Figuration LibreCoffim Foundation, ParisSolo
2001The warm years,Museum of Chateauroux, ChateaurouxSolo
2001King SizeMIAM, SèteSolo
2000May aquiMusee Paul Valery, SèteSolo
2000Maryilin-CombasDewart Gallery Brussels, Geneva, Solo
2000Robert CombasCharlotte Moser Gallery, ParisSolo
1999Tronche clothes.Espace Cardin, Paris.Solo
1998Between Two Wars, Ben and Combas.Museum of the Great War, PerronneSolo
1998In the drawer, there are three balls and a cock.Museum of Eroticism, ParisSolo
1997Paris-Manheim, Mozard-Combas, Bergold gallery, Manheim.Solo
1997Portraits GlittersStrouk gallery, Paris.Solo
1997SanguineasGallery 1991, LisbonSolo
1996Primitives Portuguese PaintingsGallery 199, LisbonSolo
1996ChalkStrouk gallery, Paris.Solo
1996Robert CombasDawart gallery, Brussels.Solo
1995The Combas homeGalerie Beaubourg, ParisSolo
1995Music and touti couinti/Coprim Paris Foundation, ParisSolo
1995Robert CombasExhibition Hall in the congress, ParisSolo
1995Early worksJerome Noirmont gallery, ParisSolo
1995Robert CombasGallery Matignon, ParisSolo
1994Recent PaintingsFrench Institute, LondonSolo
1993From singles and doublesModern Art Museum, ParisSolo
1993Robert CombasBastien gallery,BrusselsSolo
1992The bad reputationMuseum Paul Valery, SèteSolo
1992AquestécopMuseum Paul Valery, SèteSolo
1991Robert CombasThe BibleBeaubourg Gallery, ParisSolo
1991The SaintsGalerie Yvon Lambert, ParisSolo
1990Combas Toulouse-LautrecToulouse Lautrec Museum, AlbiSolo
1989Painting & ObjectsBlue Gallery, SeoulSolo
1988BattlesBeaubourg Gallery, ParisSolo
1988The Trojan WarYvon Lambert Gallery, ParisSolo
1988Robert CombasGallery Krings Ernst, CologneSolo
1988Robert CombasGalerie Pierre Huber, GenevaSolo
1987Robert CombasCAPC Museum of Contemporary Art in BordeauxSolo
1986Robert CombasLeo Castelli Gallery, New York.Solo
1986Bestiare CombasYvon Lambert Gallery, Paris.Solo
1985Robert CombasMuseum de l'Abbaye Sainte-Croix des Sables d'OlonneSolo
1984Robert CombasARCA, MarseilleSolo
1983Robert CombasLeo Castelli Gallery, New YorkSolo
1982Robert CombasYvon Lambert in ParisSolo
1982Robert CombasGallery Swart, AmsterdamSolo
1982Robert CombasGallery Capricornio, Venice.Solo
1981Robert CombasGallery Eva Keppel, DüsseldorfSolo
1981Robert CombasGallery Swart, AmsterdamSolo
1980Robert CombasGallery Errata Montepllier.Solo
2013Mirage of the East, grenades & pricklyCollection Lambert, AvignonGroup
2013FAN CLUBYUM, SèteGroup
2012COMBAS - KIJNO, Way of the CrossChapel of the Visitation, Thonon les Bains Group
2011The territories of the modest artYUM, SèteGroup
2010Contemporary Drawing FairCarrousel du Louvre, ParisGroup
2009In the eye of criticism. Bernard Lamarche-Vadel and artistsMusée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, ParisGroup
2009With sex or not, A hundred meters from the center of the worldContemporary Art Centre, Perpignan.Group
2008Combas, 80 the invention of a styleMuseum of Louviers, FranceGroup
2007Once upon a time Walt DisneyGaleries Nationales du Grand Palais, ParisGroup
2007With sex or not, A hundred meters from the center of the worldCentred'Art Contemporary Perpignan.Group
2007In the eye of criticism. Bernard Lamarche-Vadel and artistsMusée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, ParisGroup
2006The power of artGrand Palais, PalaisGroup
2006Mickey in all its formsHotel Dassault, ParisGroup
2006Cézanne - Myth and PilgrimGallery General Council, Aix en ProvenceGroup
2005Furniture artistMuseum of Chateauroux, ChateaurouxGroup
2005LedaTraffic Gallery, Ivry-sur-SeineGroup
2005Mirrors artistsSpace Sisley, ParisGroup
2005Big bangNational Museum of Modern Art, Centre Georges Pompidou, ParisGroup
2003Head to HeadAnatole Jakovsky Museum, NiceGroup
2002The collection, guests square art NîmesGroup
2002Appointment #3Collection Lambert, AvignonGroup
2002An eye for an eyeThe Rectangle Art, ParisGroup
2001RootsArt in the City, St EtienneGroup
2000Art in the windDomaine departemental, ChamarandeGroup
1999Boisrond, Combes, Di RosaHelsinki Gallery ForsblomGroup
1998The border untraceableFestival Garonne, Toulouse.Group
19971977-1997Centre Georges Pompidou, ParisGroup
1996Private PassionsMusée d'Art Moderne, Paris.Group
1996Chymériques PolymersMuseum of Contemporary Art, NiceGroup
1996French summer in LAPacific Design Center, Los Angeles.Group
1996The body in all its formsBelleville Area, ParisGroup
1995FeminineMasculineNational Museum of Modern Art, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.Group
1995Women of time everCoprim Foundation, Paris.Group
1994Portraits of WomenChateau Notre Dame des Fleurs, VenceGroup
1994The self-portrait mirror or brokeCoprim Foundation, ParisGroup
1993Ateliers de FranceLudwig Museum, Koblenz DeutschherrenhausGroup
1993Art conceptBouvet-Ladubay Foundation, SaumurGroup
1992Art worksPeter Styvesant FoundationGroup
1991Too frenchCartier Art Foundation, Tokyo.Group
1991Yvon Lambert collectsMuseum of Modern Art, Villeneuve d'AscqGroup
1990Post graffiti- Figuration Libre.Veranneman Foundation KruishoutenGroup
1990Art for LifeInstitut Curie Ecole des Beaux Arts, ParisGroup
1990The Trojan War Will Not Take PlaceChateau d'Oiron, OironGroup
1988Comic iconoclasmInstitute of Contemporary Art, London, Dublin, ManchesterGroup
1988Modern art in MarseilleMusee Cantini, MarseilleGroup
1987The time, fashion, moral, passionMuseum National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, ParisGroup
1986Quiet Luxury and PleasureVancouver Art Gallery.Group
1986Color for MatisseRoyal Scotish, EdinburgGroup
1986Color for MatisseMuseum of Fine Arts, Nantes Group
1986Color for MatissePalis des Beaux Arts, Brussels.Group
1986Arbeiten auf paperGalerie Michael Haas, Berlin.Group
1985Figuration Libre France-USAMusée d'Art Moderne, ParisGroup
1984Paris New YorkRobert Fraser Gallery, LondonGroup
1984French spirit todayUniversity of southern, CaliforniaGroup
1984Entries in the paintingVilla Arson, NiceGroup
1983New Image Patren and decorationKalamazoo Institute of Arts, KalamazooGroup
1983Bilder aus frankreichKrinzingze Gallery, InnsbruckGroup
1982Statements New York 82Holly Solomon Gallery, New YorkGroup
1982Figuration LibreGalerie Swart, AmsterdamGroup
1980After the classicArt and Industry Museum, Saint Etienne.Group
2014COMBAS - KIJNO, Way of the CrossDominique Bagouet spaceGroup
2014Sculpture in the South, from one side to the other of the MediterraneanVilla Datris, Isle sur la SorgueGroup
2004At knave knave and a halfLambert Collection, AvignonGroup
2004Do you know your museum?Musee de l'Abbaye Sainte Croix, Les Sables d'OlonneGroup
1989Wiener diwan; Sigmund Freud HeuteMuseum of the twentieth century, Vienna.Group
198181-82 WorkshopsMuseum of Modern Art, ParisGroup
1980Ten PlacesGallery Meda-Mothi, Montpellier.Group