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
2014 Maurice I come!French Institut, MauriceSolo
2014 Genevieve of all colorsGrand Theatre, AngersSolo
2014 Melancholy springsCarré Sainte Anne, Montpellier Solo
2013 The color is on the 1st floorStrouk Galerie Laurent, ParisSolo
2013 In pipes, tribute to MaryanArt and History of Judaism Museum, ParisSolo
2012Black and white colorfulWhite Cube, DécinesSolo
2011 Combas, new worksGalerie Guy Pieters, Knokke HeistSolo
2010 Goulamas are in the holeGuy Pieters Gallery, ParisSolo
2009 Combas, The flamboyant show-offEuropean House of Photography, Paris.Solo
2009 Freedom, Diversity and oppressionDanubiana Meulensteen Art Museum, BratislavaSolo
2009 In revoyureJacques Villeglé Space, Saint GratienSolo
2008 80 the invention of a styleMuseum Louviers, France.Solo
2008 Robert CombasGana Art Center, South Korea.Solo
2008 Way of the CrossCombes-Kijno Chapel des Gobelins, Paris.Solo
2008 Qu'es aco?Foundation Vincent Van Gogh, Arles.Solo
2008 Blow your mindOpera Gallery, London.Solo
2007 Savoir FaireMuseum of art Kyongnam, KoreaSolo
2007 Savoir FaireMusee Asiana, DaejonSolo
2007 JOKERDie Galerie, FrankfurtSolo
2007 JOKERGalleria MOdenArte, Modena ItalySolo
2007 Cinéphage galoreArt Center Malmaison, CannesSolo
2006 HomecomingHelen Trintignan Gallery, MontpellierSolo
2006 KnowledgeGallery Willy Shoots, EindhovenSolo
2006 Academic tattoosGuy Pieters Gallery, Knokke HeistSolo
2006 Savoir FaireSeoul Museum of Art, KoreaSolo
2005 The love of musicBenedictine Palace, FecampSolo
2004 Portrait GalleryChez Hélène Trintignan, MontpellierSolo
2003 Robert CombasGalerie Laurent Strouk, CannesSolo
2003 New WorkshopGalerie Guy Pieters, Knokke HeistSolo
2002 Combas, a summer exhibitionHelen Trintignan GallerySolo
2002 The old disgusting, here is where is the freedom of expressionMetropolis Gallery, LyonSolo
2002 It was once Figuration LibreCoffim Foundation, ParisSolo
2001 The warm years,Museum of Chateauroux, ChateaurouxSolo
2001 King SizeMIAM, SèteSolo
2000 May aquiMusee Paul Valery, SèteSolo
2000 Maryilin-CombasDewart Gallery Brussels, Geneva, Solo
2000 Robert CombasCharlotte Moser Gallery, ParisSolo
1999 Tronche clothes.Espace Cardin, Paris.Solo
1998 Between Two Wars, Ben and Combas.Museum of the Great War, PerronneSolo
1998 In the drawer, there are three balls and a cock.Museum of Eroticism, ParisSolo
1997 Paris-Manheim, Mozard-Combas, Bergold gallery, Manheim.Solo
1997 Portraits GlittersStrouk gallery, Paris.Solo
1997 SanguineasGallery 1991, LisbonSolo
1996 Primitives Portuguese PaintingsGallery 199, LisbonSolo
1996 ChalkStrouk gallery, Paris.Solo
1996 Robert CombasDawart gallery, Brussels.Solo
1995 The Combas homeGalerie Beaubourg, ParisSolo
1995 Music and touti couinti/Coprim Paris Foundation, ParisSolo
1995 Robert CombasExhibition Hall in the congress, ParisSolo
1995 Early worksJerome Noirmont gallery, ParisSolo
1995 Robert CombasGallery Matignon, ParisSolo
1994 Recent PaintingsFrench Institute, LondonSolo
1993 From singles and doublesModern Art Museum, ParisSolo
1993 Robert CombasBastien gallery,BrusselsSolo
1992 The bad reputationMuseum Paul Valery, SèteSolo
1992 AquestécopMuseum Paul Valery, SèteSolo
1991 Robert CombasThe BibleBeaubourg Gallery, ParisSolo
1991 The SaintsGalerie Yvon Lambert, ParisSolo
1990 Combas Toulouse-LautrecToulouse Lautrec Museum, AlbiSolo
1989 Painting & ObjectsBlue Gallery, SeoulSolo
1988 BattlesBeaubourg Gallery, ParisSolo
1988 The Trojan WarYvon Lambert Gallery, ParisSolo
1988 Robert CombasGallery Krings Ernst, CologneSolo
1988 Robert CombasGalerie Pierre Huber, GenevaSolo
1987 Robert CombasCAPC Museum of Contemporary Art in BordeauxSolo
1986 Robert CombasLeo Castelli Gallery, New York.Solo
1986 Bestiare CombasYvon Lambert Gallery, Paris.Solo
1985 Robert CombasMuseum de l'Abbaye Sainte-Croix des Sables d'OlonneSolo
1984 Robert CombasARCA, MarseilleSolo
1983 Robert CombasLeo Castelli Gallery, New YorkSolo
1982 Robert CombasYvon Lambert in ParisSolo
1982 Robert CombasGallery Swart, AmsterdamSolo
1982 Robert CombasGallery Capricornio, Venice.Solo
1981 Robert CombasGallery Eva Keppel, DüsseldorfSolo
1981 Robert CombasGallery Swart, AmsterdamSolo
1980Robert CombasGallery Errata Montepllier.Solo
2013 Mirage of the East, grenades & pricklyCollection Lambert, AvignonGroup
2013 FAN CLUBYUM, SèteGroup
2012 COMBAS - KIJNO, Way of the CrossChapel of the Visitation, Thonon les Bains Group
2011 The territories of the modest artYUM, SèteGroup
2010 Contemporary Drawing FairCarrousel du Louvre, ParisGroup
2009 In the eye of criticism. Bernard Lamarche-Vadel and artistsMusée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, ParisGroup
2009 With sex or not, A hundred meters from the center of the worldContemporary Art Centre, Perpignan.Group
2008 Combas, 80 the invention of a styleMuseum of Louviers, FranceGroup
2007 Once upon a time Walt DisneyGaleries Nationales du Grand Palais, ParisGroup
2007 With sex or not, A hundred meters from the center of the worldCentred'Art Contemporary Perpignan.Group
2007 In the eye of criticism. Bernard Lamarche-Vadel and artistsMusée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, ParisGroup
2006 The power of artGrand Palais, PalaisGroup
2006 Mickey in all its formsHotel Dassault, ParisGroup
2006 Cézanne - Myth and PilgrimGallery General Council, Aix en ProvenceGroup
2005 Furniture artistMuseum of Chateauroux, ChateaurouxGroup
2005 LedaTraffic Gallery, Ivry-sur-SeineGroup
2005 Mirrors artistsSpace Sisley, ParisGroup
2005 Big bangNational Museum of Modern Art, Centre Georges Pompidou, ParisGroup
2003 Head to HeadAnatole Jakovsky Museum, NiceGroup
2002 The collection, guests square art NîmesGroup
2002 Appointment #3Collection Lambert, AvignonGroup
2002 An eye for an eyeThe Rectangle Art, ParisGroup
2001 RootsArt in the City, St EtienneGroup
2000 Art in the windDomaine departemental, ChamarandeGroup
1999 Boisrond, Combes, Di RosaHelsinki Gallery ForsblomGroup
1998 The border untraceableFestival Garonne, Toulouse.Group
1997 1977-1997Centre Georges Pompidou, ParisGroup
1996 Private PassionsMusée d'Art Moderne, Paris.Group
1996 Chymériques PolymersMuseum of Contemporary Art, NiceGroup
1996 French summer in LAPacific Design Center, Los Angeles.Group
1996 The body in all its formsBelleville Area, ParisGroup
1995 FeminineMasculineNational Museum of Modern Art, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.Group
1995 Women of time everCoprim Foundation, Paris.Group
1994 Portraits of WomenChateau Notre Dame des Fleurs, VenceGroup
1994 The self-portrait mirror or brokeCoprim Foundation, ParisGroup
1993 Ateliers de FranceLudwig Museum, Koblenz DeutschherrenhausGroup
1993 Art conceptBouvet-Ladubay Foundation, SaumurGroup
1992 Art worksPeter Styvesant FoundationGroup
1991 Too frenchCartier Art Foundation, Tokyo.Group
1991 Yvon Lambert collectsMuseum of Modern Art, Villeneuve d'AscqGroup
1990 Post graffiti- Figuration Libre.Veranneman Foundation KruishoutenGroup
1990 Art for LifeInstitut Curie Ecole des Beaux Arts, ParisGroup
1990 The Trojan War Will Not Take PlaceChateau d'Oiron, OironGroup
1988 Comic iconoclasmInstitute of Contemporary Art, London, Dublin, ManchesterGroup
1988 Modern art in MarseilleMusee Cantini, MarseilleGroup
1987 The time, fashion, moral, passionMuseum National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, ParisGroup
1986 Quiet Luxury and PleasureVancouver Art Gallery.Group
1986 Color for MatisseRoyal Scotish, EdinburgGroup
1986 Color for MatisseMuseum of Fine Arts, Nantes Group
1986 Color for MatissePalis des Beaux Arts, Brussels.Group
1986 Arbeiten auf paperGalerie Michael Haas, Berlin.Group
1985 Figuration Libre France-USAMusée d'Art Moderne, ParisGroup
1984 Paris New YorkRobert Fraser Gallery, LondonGroup
1984 French spirit todayUniversity of southern, CaliforniaGroup
1984 Entries in the paintingVilla Arson, NiceGroup
1983 New Image Patren and decorationKalamazoo Institute of Arts, KalamazooGroup
1983 Bilder aus frankreichKrinzingze Gallery, InnsbruckGroup
1982 Statements New York 82Holly Solomon Gallery, New YorkGroup
1982 Figuration LibreGalerie Swart, AmsterdamGroup
1980 After 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
1980 Ten PlacesGallery Meda-Mothi, Montpellier.Group