Bernard Reyboz

Born in 1951 - France


Bernard Reyboz was born in Lyon (France) in 1951. He lives and works in Antibes.

After having studied at the university of Fine Arts in Besancon and at the Academy of Decorative Arts of Nice, Bernard Reyboz starts his professional career in illustrating, for advertisement and publishing. He then decides to devote himself fully to his artistic work in 1978.

Bernard Reyboz’s work leads to a different apprehension of the world. His “objects” being very simple shapes, are forever bringing the observer back to the telluric origin of the matter and its evocative power. Intuitive when he finds his inspiration in his childhood memories, but also very scientific when he studies, in an almost obsessional way, the natural elements, the artist offers a re-recreation of the world and of the living. He gives his characters a culture, an era, a space. Each period of his work carries the story of his preceding pieces and thus installs a kind of imaginary filiation between each object: Bernard Reyboz’s work is a family, full of humour and poetry.

The artist discovers the pebble beaches of the Baie des Anges while visiting Nice in 1972. Knowing nothing of the importance that this theme is going to take in his work, the artist embarks on an adventure between the eye and reality which he makes unattainable by precise organization and realism and which he addresses with a perfect technical mastery. Registered, aligned, these pebbles evoke the work of a “mineralist obsessed by classification and order”. Having started with black and white pieces, the artist then explores the theme through colour.

"My attraction to pebbles was so strong that it led me to their close study. It was then translated into a series of paintings and drawings realised with the best trompe-l’œil technique my hands were capable of at the time."
The Percussion Fields and the Textures also originate from the study of Nature. Their homogenous texture comes from the observation of vegetal hedges:
“In 1987, I spend several weeks taking photos of vegetal hedges, trimmed or not. I liked the way you could plunge your hand or body in those deep facades. My first work was to come up with a technique which would allow me to produce that virtual material. Paper and sheets of metal proved adequate for this production.”
Two screens separated by a gap play with the shift of the elements: a background and its exact replica, the texture, in the foreground. It’s a texture effect. The graphic vibration comes from the play of full and empty spaces.

”It is all about building, in the workshop, the hedges and the furrows with a virtual material I can play with.”
Immemorial shapes, set between matter and objects, the pebbles reappear into the artist’s work, in other organic creations. Year after year, the work on pebbles reveals itself in 3 dimensions to offer the Monoliths, elongated pebble shapes which evoke a slightly aquatic world. They gradually become volumes covered with signs, writings, and "organic signs"… volumes that have become graphic mediums and which destination is now closer to expression, interpretation and fantasy. As opposed to the Pebble period, when he went from black and white to colour, the artist starts with colour, and then gets rid of it in order to explore signs and give his work a more symbolic dimension. His relation to colour or colours rather, is particular: put together, they often serve his intentions but they can also be too distractive and leech off the correct understanding of the artist’s work.

Then, by some kind of chance, appear the Tripods, creatures of all sizes, born out of absentmindedness.
"The Tripods arrived in my workshop without me fully realizing it. At that time, I was working on the Monoliths and the Percussion Fields. As I was having a break, and without really thinking about it, I modelled a small, 3 legged character surmounted by a long neck wearing a spiral. I left that figurine in a corner of the workshop and went back to my optical and mineral occupations."

Modelled from clay and later, for the smallest ones, registered, aligned on wood boards, these very humorous, black and white characters are subject to a very poetic staging. The artist even wrote a story for them “Enquete sur une realite” (“Investigating a Reality”), which is a series of sixty boxes inside which he installs small and anecdotic groups he joins a comment to.

The craters, sort of colanders covered up with black sand, constitute physical surroundings for these characters. These volumes, oval or spherical, are reminiscent of the Pebble period and announce the Chrysalides, entangled wire-netting, nests of matter ready to unfold.

Movement, theme which had been subtly addressed in work presenting visual plays, becomes central in the most resent of the artist’s work: the Moving. The sculpture-objects have now become alive, mysterious in their appearance and in the unlikely way they move. Real demonstration of the living, The moving reflect the mystery of creation and set Bernard Reyboz’s work in time even more firmly.

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