Romanian-born twins Gert and Uwe Tobias (b. 1973), make collaborative woodcuts, sculptures, collages and drawings. Having moved to Germany in 1985, they studied in Braunschweig and live and work in Cologne. The influence of communist era style combines in their work with the legacies of European folklore and German post-war painting.
The Tobias brothers’ giant woodcuts and wall paintings draw on modernist geometric abstraction; but they combine line, shape, colour and typography with the narrative images and patterns of folk art, using decorative motifs such as flowers, plants, patterns, embroidery and domestic objects.
Their collages are like stage sets on which splashes of pigment and found images of animals or humans are assembled in a performance. Playfulness combines with violence as body parts are fragmented across the picture surface. Their figures also metamorphose into plants or birds; macabre yet innocent, they lend a surreal dimension to the Tobias’ imagery. The artists also use the antiquated aesthetic of the typewriter to create intense drawings that spike the eye.
This specially conceived installation also includes ceramics. They take mass produced crockery and add ceramic extrusions and coloured glazes turning an ordinary plate or vase into an expressionistic sculpture. Boundaries between craft and fine art, abstract concept and unconscious fantasy, modernity and tradition, dissolve.