Paul du Bois-Reymond
Oil pastels and oil on canvas
Paul du Bois-Reymond
Paul du Bois-Reymond (Amsterdam / Berlin) is a visual artist, musician and graphic designer living and working in Amsterdam. He studied at the Rietveld Academy of the arts (1992-1996) and co-founded the well-known design collectives DEPT, later Machine, famous for their dazzling album cover designs. In 2018 he co-founded the Amsterdam-based band OWN.
After several years of experimenting with drawing and engraving, it is in painting and the particular use of oil pastels that the Berlin-based artist has found a new medium to develop his own formal language. Through it, neo-surrealist universes extracted and produced previously from the digital world are materially embodied. Starting from virtual images devoid of artistic aura, whether they are internet captures, personal photographs or figures generated by artificial intelligences, the artist collects, recomposes and transfers these fragments to the surface of the canvas.
Leather pillows, pearls, chrome pills or marble balls – among other diverse elements – animate and levitate in ethereal spaces, in a timeless reality. By shifting these objects from the digital world to the pictorial frame, du Bois-Reymond modifies their nature, endowing them with physical qualities and elevating them to the status of unique, aesthetic entities, beyond “what is expected of them”.
The use of oil for the backgrounds and oil pastels for the objects enhances the textures and tonalities of the surfaces and gives them a silky, saturated density. Leather, marble or metal gleam boldly under a precise stroke despite the difficulty of the oil pastel material. The power of attraction of the compositions is intensified by the disproportionate scale of their representation. Sometimes isolated on small canvases, sometimes juxtaposed in large formats.
Paul du Bois-Reymond’s works confront the viewer with his own tastes, his own conditioning. Why do we find these objects beautiful? Does the value that society confers on them influence them? Where does the attraction that emanates from them come from? Exaggerating the pleasure that comes from looking at them, touching them or possessing them, Paul questions his authority and proposes a pop view – not without irony – of our consumer society. Thus leaving us paradoxically astonished in front of the beauty of his captivating works