Here, a head emerges from the milky whiteness of a hastily covered leaf; there, the fragmentary figure of a body lying on the ground, in black chalk across the width of a large sheet of paper. And there, something like an obscure face, of intense blackness, like a swarm of bees – unless indeed it is precisely the other way round. Facing Oberson’s works, all sorts of questions arise, the first of which is that of the model. What are these figures? What are these landscapes, these still lifes? What relationships do they have to reality? Are they the result of the artist’s imagination alone or does he work from a model? The answer is unambiguous: “It’s useless to do anything figurative without a model,” he says, on the strength of a past experience with abstraction, which he did not pursue because he has always sought “real life,” “the smell of life,” as he says, “life, death, sex, the dark side.”
The real, therefore, whether experienced live, revived through photography or reactivated by memory. The real, be it figure, landscape or still life, in this tangible relation to the world of the living and in the sensitive test of a feeling. A reality offset, however, Oberson borrowing it only to establish an image of his own and shape it by reframing it. This exercise is revealing of the way he grasps the real, either by focusing his attention on a detail and extracting it from its context to better bring out the truth of being of his subject, or by placing it in a cropped space, which amplifies the signifying strength, or by combining these two modalities.”

Philippe Piguet
Art critic and curator
Excerpt from “Noir, Mémoire et Oubli (Black, Memory and Forgetting)” published in GUY OBERSON – SOUS LA PEAU DU MONDE (GUY OBERSON – UNDER THE SKIN OF THE WORLD), by Editions Till Schaap Genoud, Bern, 2015