On Saturday the 16 th of May Comme une grappe estivale d’hélices de Pise by the Swiss Rabus family will open at TORCH gallery in Amsterdam. Renate, Léopold, Till and Alex will be present at the opening. Together they will transform TORCH into a fragment of their own private universe. Driven by art, Switzerland and the humanistic obligation to explore themes of identity and time they each travel distinctly separate artistic roads. These roads will sometimes intersect to form an exhibition. It will be an event spanning several generations, media and conceptual frameworks. However, as with a lot of families, everything will be connected in unexpected ways. Works comment on each other, or refer to subjects unique to the Rabus family. By playfully touching on broad ideas, ranging from Art History to globalism, they invite the general public to partake in this family get-together.
The art of Léopold Rabus (1977, Neuchatel, Switzerland) is firmly based in the believe that the essence of life can be found in small details and ephemeral moods. His detailed paintings and installations find their origin in the nooks and crannies of his small hometown of Cortaillod and the people close to him. Rural themes and portraits are carefully warped into grand visions of mortality. His works exude the slow passing of time and sense of ritual repetition often found in small communities. He describes an often dark, twisted microcosm which represents an universe of complex emotions and deep philosophical thought. Leopold has an extensive history of exhibitions, including solo-presentations at GEM The Hague, Jacobshalle Basel, Le Carré SainteAnne in Montpellier and Kunsthalle Wilhelmshaven, Wilhelmshaven.
His Brother,Till Rabus (1975, Neuchatel, Switzerland) is a hyperrealist with a keen eye for the beauty of banality. His subject matter ranges from fast food to porn, but all his works refer to, and are firmly based in Art history. In his interpretation of an order at Burger King(Arcimburger n°2, 2014) all the glutinous goodness is transformed into an almost religious composition set against a stark black background. These playful pieces celebrate the seductive surface and almost convince the viewer to disregard their darker themes such as overconsumption, objectification and the steady dilution of local culture into global uniformity.
Renate Rabus (1950, Niedergösgen, Switzerland) incorporates the theme of passing time in the process and material of her work. Carefully crafted pieces of embroidery showcase both her dedication to the traditional craft, and the intimacy she achieves with her chosen subject. Again, family and nature are used as channels from the personal to the global. Her work is the result of a dedication to and a cultivation of slowness. Not to be confused with laziness, deliberate slowness can be seen as one of the great escapes from contemporary expectations. Like snails on a branch, each member of the Rabus family works at their own pace.
Finally Alex Rabus (1944, Le Locle, Switzerland), is a painter of nature deeply entrenched in a modernist perspective. His images evoke the devotion of Monet to his surroundings, but are often seen through the manic eyes of Jean Dubuffet. With a certain sense of horror vacui Alex often takes years to finalize his impossibly detailed pieces. many of them vibrating on the surface as a result of layers upon layers of scribbles, ornamentation, drawing and gestural action. Rather classical compositions are build up out of the blinding stream of images that make up contemporary visual culture. Excès de vitesse ( 1991-1995, Acrylic paint on canvas, 215x275 cm) is a grand spectacle of tiny references all coming together to form the image of a crucified gorilla. On one plane a drawn mouse meets a cartoon mouse and an ornamental mouse on what seems to be the battlefield of nature versus nurture, matter versus mind and history versus eternity. Four years to completely this piece suddenly seem like a rush job.