The exhibition TERRESTRES (TERRESTRIALS) attempts to reconsider our relationship with nature, with our animal dimension, sediments of our primitive behaviour, our beliefs, our mythologies, and this in our contemporary society, where humankind all too often holds itself arrogantly above and beyond nature.
The works find their inspiration in the nature and beliefs of the Friborg Prealps, the painter’s region of origin, but they are also made up of influences from elsewhere, notably the syncretism of Brazil and the animism of Madagascar.
Deer and bees are here the two tutelary figures. The mountain is likewise very present, emblematic: it is recollection, elevation and also terrifying threat sometimes. In the middle of all this, the human being, not only in the grip of survival behaviour, but also aware of the potential deadly outcome, an awareness that continues to constantly beckon the question of the meaning of life, which seems lost.
“All this is represented and transfigured: cocoons, swarms, draped figures, genitals, lungs … They become “mountains” and the black chalk mountain itself becomes “swarms”. My work here takes on meaning in this awareness of our different natures, which nevertheless mix and recognize one another. I want to be the bee, I want to be the deer, the mountain, I want to be the wind and the rain, the hum of the hive and the hammering of the hooves, the blood of the slaughtered animal … I will always, however, remain a human, a very distinct individual, but I want to be these natures in my consciousness of the “terrestrial”, otherwise I would be an electron, not free but disordered, acting against the system in which it is supposed to live.”
Guy Oberson – Excerpt from studio journal, 2013
The swarm: worries, fears, regrets
The opening, the gap gaping onto which lair?
Which of my mouths spits out these creatures
and suffers their attacks? Am I assailed or assailant?
Their strident, piercing myriad buzzings
I think it comes from outside, but no
It comes from within
The hive is one of my organs
Lungs – no, more intimate – genitals – no, more intimate – brain
Nancy Huston, writer
This work was the subject of a solo exhibition at the chapel of Méjan in Arles in 2015, at the Gallery Mouchet in Paris in 2014, at the Museum of Charmey in Switzerland in 2013.
During a collectif exhibition at the Museum Morsbroich in Leverkusen in Germany in 2014 and at the Villa Merkel in Esslingen in 2015, at the Musum of Fine Arts in Chur in 2019.
„TERRESTRES“, Guy Oberson works and studio journal, Nancy Huston poems, Actes Sud editions. Arles, 2014
« JAEGGER & SAMMLER IN DER ZEITGENÖSSISCHEN Kunst », Text from F. Emslander, Wienand edition, Köln, 2014