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Guy
Oberson

Switzerland
born on: 
26 Dec, 1960
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awards(s): 
2016 - Cultural Prize of the State of Fribourg, Switzerland
2014 - Prize of Fondation Bédikian, Paris, France
2011 - Artist Residency. Grant of the State of Fribourg, Berlin, Germany
exhibition(s): 
2019 - « La nef des fous », duo show, Guy Oberson and Benoît Huot, Gallery C, Neuchâtel, Switzerland
2019 - « Passion. Bilder von der Jagd », group show, Des Grisons Museum of Fine Arts, Coire, Switzerland
2019 - « L’Arbre, c’est le temps rendu visible », group show, Capazza Gallery, Nançay, France
2019 - « Orbis Terrae », group show, Domus Poetica, Bellinzona, Switzerland
2018 - « Naked clothes », solo show, Museum of Fine Arts, Le Locle, Switzerland
2018 - « Densité d'une absence », solo show, Fondation Edouard Vallet, Vercorin, Switzerland
2018 - « Somium », group show, Domus Poetica, Bellinzone, Switzerland
2018 - « Âme qui vive », solo show, Catherine Niederhauser Gallery, Lausanne, Switzerland
2018 - « Art Paris », Art Fair with Gallery C, Grand Palais, Paris, France
2017 - « Je ne peux fermer les yeux », solo show, De l'Etrave Gallery, Contemporary Art Space, Thonon-les-Bains, France
2017 - « Grand Trouble », group show, La Halle Saint Pierre, Paris France
2017 - «73rd Contemporary Art Biennale », group show, Museum of Fine Arts, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland
2017 - « Chambre avec vue d'artistes », group show, Wallpaper Museum, Mézières, Switzerland
2017 - « Solus », group show, Domus Poetica, Cultural Space, Bellinzone, Switzerland
2017 - « Drawing Now », Contemporary Drawing Fair, Le Carreaux du Temple, Paris, France
2017 - « Chutes et Floraison », solo show, Galerie Contrecontre, St-Maurice, Switzerland
2016 - « Zones Poreuses, carte blanche à Guy Oberson », group show, Gallery C, Neuchâtel, Switzerland
2016 - « Credo », group show, Vincent Sator Gallery, Paris, France
2016 - « Eaux lointaines », solo show, Galartis / Rhône Gallery, Sion, Switzerland
2016 - « Drawing Now », Contemporary Drawing Fair with Gallery C, Paris, France
2016 - « 72nd Contemporary Art Biennale», group show, Museum of Fine Arts, La Chaud-de-Fonds, Switzerland
2016 - « Dons majeurs du Fonds Maximilien de Meuron 1916-2016 », group show, Art and History Museum, Neuchâtel, Switzerland
2016 - « Maximilien de Meuron, du rêve à l’utopie », group show, Gallery C, Neuchâtel, Switzerland
2015 - « Semblance », solo show, Méjan Chapel, Arles, France
2015 - « Erreur de paradis », solo show, Art and History Museum, Fribourg, Switzerland
2015 - « Jäger & Sammler », group show, Villa Merkel, Esslingen, Germany
2015 - « Map Of The New Art, Luciano Benetton Collection », group show, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice, Italy
2014 - « Jäger & Sammler », group show, Morsbroich Museum, Leverkusen, Germany
2014 - « Terrestres », solo show, Eric Muchot Gallery, Paris, France
2014 - « Drawing Now », Contemporary Drawing Fair, Paris, France
2014 - « La Vengeance de Mathilde », group show, Gallery C, Neuchâtel, Switzerland
2014 - « Piano Sketching », Performance with E. Ferlet et E. Fessenmeyer, Belleville Theatre and Chatelet Theatre, Paris, France
2013 - « Terrestres », solo show, Charmey Museum, Switzerland
2013 - « Black-out », group show, Jordan/Seydoux Gallery, Berlin, Germany
2013 - « Drawing Now », Contemporary Drawing Fair, Paris, France
2013 - « Portraits », group show, Gallery C, Neuchâtel, Switzerland
2012 - « Perf O », Performance and solo show, Gallery C, Neuchâtel, Switzerland
2012 - « Endless Walls, Infinty Sky », solo show, Gallery of (A), Lausanne, Switzerland
2012 - « Verso », group show, Vitromuseum, Romont, Switzerland
2012 - « Le paysage dans tous ces états », group show, Charmey Museum, Charmey, Switzerland
2012 - « La terre nous est étroite », performance, Edmund Alleyn Studio, Montréal, Canada
2012 - « Would The Christ Have Been Gay », group show, Gallery C, Neuchâtel, Switzerland
2012 - « XXL-XXS », group show, Gallery C, Neuchâtel, Switzerland
2011 - « Berlin’s Works », solo show, Uferhalle, Berlin, Germany
2011 - « Enigmatics Fantasies », group show, Altro Mondo Gallery, Manila, Philippines
2011 - « Born », group show, Gallery C, Neuchâtel, Switzerland
2011 - « Cri », group show, Gallery C, Neuchâtel, Switzerland
2011 - « Shanghai Contemporary 2011 », with Altro Mondo Gallery, International Art Fair, Shanghai, China
2011 - « 10 ans, Flashback », group show, Polad-Hardouin Gallery, Paris, France
2010 - « Ciels de cendre », solo show, Fallet gallery, Geneva, Switzerland
2010 - « Horizons incertains », solo show, Amis des Arts Galley, Neuchâtel, Switzerland
2010 - « élévation(s) », solo show, scenography by Christian Egger, Grand-Cachot-de-Vent Foundation, La Chaux-du-Milieux, Switzerland
2010 - « Notre besoin de consolation est impossible à rassasier », Theatre staged by C. Egger, painting-performance, Nouveau Monde, Fribourg, Switzerland
2010 - « Guy Oberson », Artesol gallery, solo show, Soleure, Switzerland
2009 - « Morsures de lumière », Polad-Hardouin Gallery, solo show, Paris, France
2009 - « Artistes fribourgeois contemporains », group show, Art and History Museum, Fribourg, Switzerland
2009 - « Murmures », group show, l’Hôtel de Ville Gallery, Yverdon, Switzerland
2008 - « Drawing Now », Contemporary Drawing Fair, with Gallery Polad-Hardouin, Paris, France
2008 - « Traits d’union », group show, Ô quai des arts Gallery, Vevey, Switzerland
2008 - « Abella, Balkert, Oberson », group show, Jean-Jacques Hofstetter Gallery, Fribourg, Switzerland
2007 - « Intranquille amour », group show, Polad-Hardouin Gallery, Paris, France
2007 - « Drawing Now », Contemporary Drawing Fair, with Gallery Polad-Hardouin, Paris, France
2007 - « Au-delà du corps », Contemporary Art Biennale, Aix-sur-Vienne, France
2007 - « À fleur de peau », solo show, Fallet Gallery, Geneva, Switzerland
2007 - « La part d’ombre », group show, Idées d’artistes Gallery, Paris, France
2007 - « Oberson - Oulevay », group show, Amis des Arts Gallery, Neuchâtel, Switzerland
2006 - « L’œuvre au noir », solo show, Idées d'artistes Gallery, Paris, France
2006 - « De craie et de chaux vive », solo show, Selz Contemporary Art Gallery, Perrefitte, Switzerland
2006 - « Traces », group show, Fallet Gallery, Geneva, Switzerland
2005 - « Connecté », painting-performance, Theater staged by C. Egger, Nouveau Monde, Fribourg, Switzerland
2005 - « Jardin d’artiste », local intervention, Science and city festival, Botanical garden, Fribourg, Switzerland
2005 - « Oberson, Vasquez », group show, Ferme du désert Gallery, Lausanne, Switzerland
2004 - « Fragments d’artistes, by L. Arickx in Vélickovic », group show, Idées d'artistes gallery, Paris, France
2004 - « Guy Oberson », solo show, Nelly L'Eplattenier Gallery, Lausanne, Switzerland
2004 - « Guy Oberson », solo show, Jean-Jacques Hofstetter Gallery, Fribourg, Switzerland
2002 - « Légère intrusion », solo show, Du côté de chez Swan Library-Gallery, Zurich, Switzerland
2002 - « Guy Oberson », solo show, Grande Fontaine Gallery, Sion, Switzerland
2001 - « Guy Oberson », solo show, Jean-Jacques Hofstetter Gallery, Fribourg, Switzerland
2001 - « Guy Oberson », solo show, Castle Gallery, Avenches, Switzerland
2000 - « Guy Oberson » solo show, La Schürra Gallery, Pierrafortscha, Switzerland
1999 - « Transnational Plastic Arts Contest 1999 », Municipality of Divonne-les-Bains, France
1998 - « Noir de fumée et blanc plâtre », solo show, la Tour Gallery, La Tour-de-Trême, Switzerland
1997 - « Guy Oberson », solo show, Côté Cour Gallery, Rolle, Switzerland
1996 - « Brigitte Babel - Guy Oberson », Tzanzero Gallery, group show, Payerne, Switzerland
1991 - « Salon d’hiver », group show, Gallery oh the Ratière, Romont, Switzerland
1988 - « Forum of the young romande painting », group show, Gallery of the Ratière, Romont, Switzerland
1988 - « Forum de la jeune peinture romande », exposition collective, Galerie de la Ratière, Romont, Suisse
Guy
Oberson
opened up his studio to us. Watch the video of our visit to learn more about the artist's approach.
about: 

The contemporary paintings of the artist Guy Oberson, produced in black chalk or in oil, plunge the observer into an ambiguous and timeless universe. Figurative and abstract themes confront and complement each other in the work by this Swiss painter. 

A diverse, non-traditional route  

Guy Oberson was born in 1960 in Billens, a village in the Friborg countryside in Switzerland. Despite the drawbacks of an environment that only moderately welcomed his artistic leanings, the painter would always feel a strong link with the place he came from, and which influenced his attachment to nature. In 1979 he left his native country to go to Rapperswil in the canton of St Gallen, where he took a course in restoring murals, and then he worked in the socio-educational field. 

During this period he visited the Collection of Art Brut in Lausanne and he was very moved by it, declaring: "I was totally fascinated by a universe which touches on the madness that I encountered in my social work. I suddenly rediscovered the childish joy of painting. I reconnected to something very deep and very free." More than ten years later, in 2000, Guy Oberson decided to devote himself exclusively to painting, having always painted as a self-taught artist. 

In 2011 he was awarded a Friborg State grant and spent six months on an artist's residency in Berlin. Successive trips all over the world deeply inspire his reflections and consequently his themes and the subjects of his paintings. His non-traditional background and diverse experiences fuelled his work and helped to build its balance and power. 

The art of Guy Oberson, a duality of techniques and subjects 

The artist likes to experiment with multiple techniques and mediums including oils, installations, ceramics, watercolour, red chalk and engraving. However, the technique that has characterised his work most from the start is the black chalk (pierre noire), a drawing tool comparable to charcoal whose blacks are richer and deeper and even more matte. The black chalk is also irreversible, thus constantly testing the artist's technical mastery.  

Guy Oberson does not draw outlines but assembles his work by an accumulation of lines; with this process, subjects emerge when viewed from a distance and then disappear before the observer's very eyes once they approach. The artist blurs his black chalk in a myriad of vertical streaks which disrupt the viewer's perception of the subject and makes interpreting the work less immediate. 

His black chalk drawings are figurative, representing landscapes or portraits. The artist has drawn his inspiration from real life here and the artistic process begins with studying a model or often a photograph. These figurative works are confronted with abstract or semi-abstract oil paintings, which is another key production in Guy Oberson's work. For such paintings, the artist draws from his imagination or memory, and therefore has total freedom in his strokes. The two techniques and the two types of subject complement each other, inviting confrontation. 

Themes: human identity and the search for "real life"

Whether abstract or figurative, Guy Oberson's works have great expressive force and a timeless character that is both melancholic and subtle, both tormented and dramatized. This contemporary painter explores themes that relate to society, for example the status of migrants, as well as themes about human identity, such as the relationship of humanity with the animal and natural world or our mythologies. 

The latest theme addressed by Guy Oberson is surely his most personal: his own perception of reality, which is reflected in the representation of the artist’s interior space in his works. What he is looking for is "real life", "the smell of life", as he says, "life, death, sex, and the dark side". 

Art enables me to poetically restore my relationship with intimacy, otherness and the sacred. […] Being an artist is above all a daily attempt to contribute to the freedom of the gaze, autonomy of thought, and the retransmission of energy and beauty." Guy Oberson, interview with Philippe Piguet (Art absolument no. 78, July-August 2017). 

Recognition of institutions and performance art

Guy Oberson lives and works across Lentigny (Switzerland), Paris (France) and Berlin (Germany). For around 15 years the artist has exhibited his works in European museums, contemporary art spaces, foundations, fairs and galleries, mainly in Switzerland and France. In 2014 he was awarded the Bédikian Foundation Award (Paris) and in 2016 he received the State of Friborg Cultural Award (Switzerland). 

His works belong to public collections, including the collection at the Friborg Museum of Art and History and at the La Chaux-de-Fonds Museum of Fine Arts, as well as private collections, such as the Luciano Benetton Collection in Venice. Guy Oberson is also referenced in numerous catalogues and monographs, and he has published several art books with the writer Nancy Huston. 

His artistic work extends to performance art, which he has performed in solo productions or in collaboration with musicians and directors. In 2017, he performed with pianist composer Édouard Ferlet and dancer and choreographer Eric Fessenmeyer in the show "Piano Sketching", presented at the Théâtre de Belleville and at the Théâtre du Châtelet (Paris).

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