Brain Rituals



Brain Rituals is the realization of 125 graphite drawings on paper of 40 x 30 cm, each according to a defined and identical process. Drawings intended to be presented inside a dark room, the visit of which takes place with a flashlight.


By blinding ourselves with the fulgurance of the masked white background. Because drawing is the record of thinking out loud, in Guy Oberson’s work, it has the chance to become a memorable echo, like a vital organ, such as breathing or heartbeat. The primordial relationship that gives it existence in a dynamic between the mind and the body has always preoccupied the artist in his reflections on the very nature of drawing. So he has given himself the objective of envisaging the conception of it without plans or premeditation by creating, for this exhibition, a whole collection for specific presentation. Thus was born the project called Brain Rituals.

Installed edge-to-edge to the point of overload inside a structure in the form of a cube of 2m3, in total darkness, the approximately 125 drawings by Guy Oberson, done over the last few months, can be discovered in the beam of a flashlight according to the enforced protocol of the visit. By connecting the drawings with an entire very dense network of strings covered with glow-in-the-dark-paint, he contributes not only to highlighting their original community, but also to inviting the visitor to cope with the phenomenon of the ghost image that remains when he/she turns off the flashlight. « I’d like to express the idea of being in the brain of the artist, » says Oberson. In fact, this is the case and this installation acts a little like the core of the project.

In his search for a form of creation that would assure him of a « confidential absolute » as he says, Guy Oberson has never hidden his fascination for the world of artists of the art brut mouvement. He claims to be trying to achieve the sincerity and authenticity that characterizes their work and that protects them from all peripheral considerations. At least it was with this intention that he conceived of Brain Rituals in terms of a presentation that enables him to at least render his works visible « like a diary » and « give them a privileged space for expression. »

At work, Oberson has given himself over to the pure pleasure of a practice that « praises surprise, the freedom of mouvement and thought, the energy of drawing. » This group of works promises to be as close as possible to an ontological definition of drawing, through this quality which characterizes it, this full collusion between the body, the mind, tools and materials. « I experience real pleasure pursuing my Brain Rituals, » writes the artist in his notes dated August 17, « Even though each time I start up again, there is a slight anxiety about going forward without preparation, everything starts with the first line of pencil. I rediscover the joy of drawing in its pure state, the « right to free gestures, » the jubilation of childhood, a little of what seems to me to be the essential necessity of the artists of art brut. » Would Guy Oberson like to reactivate the « right to dare all » once claimed by Gauguin ? He would not say otherwise.

In fact, his drawings have this superior quality that they owe to no one but themselves. Quoting Manet on painting, we could say that drawing for him « is nothing but (drawing, it) doesn’t express anything but (itself). » Not a way to evacuate all attempt at analysis, but on the contrary, to refocus itself on its object and not try to make it dependent on anything else. Drawing is first. It is at the point of the source and the source is neither stream nor river, and even les is it the ocean. It is place of its own, a place of origin. Unique. It is to this point that the art of Guy Oberson leads us. To the origins of life. There where what he calls, « real life » resides. « The smell of life » and the precession that constitute it. Meaning death, sex, blood. There, where the spirit also blows.

Philippe Piguet,
Excerpt from « Can’t turn a blind eye», published by Editions Analogues


This installation was presented at the Galerie de l’Etrave, contemporary art space of the town of Thonon-les-Bains, in 2017
Curator: Philippe Piguet