Alex Rabus, born in Le Locle (Switzerland) on October 6, 1944.
My German-born father was an optician in Neuchâtel.
My mother, Eléonore Pacini (Artist Name: Aïda Pacini), was a painter and a musician as well as an excellent mother and a great cook.
The family of Ferdinand Arthur, Eléonore’s father, was originally from Florence.
My sister and I, both myopic, naturally soaked up this mingled and warm atmosphere.
After years of school, as mediocre as they were primary and secondary, I took my chances with the École Cantonale d’Art in Lausanne where I stagnated in deep boredom for four years, mostly because, in spite of all my obvious efforts, I was chronically unable to adapt to school life… I did imprint, however, on Albert Yersin, our engraving professor, a wonderful man and an artistic genius, who knew how to share with us his world and his passions (Dürer, Dubuffet…) while respecting and encouraging the personality of each of his students.
After a few years as a graphics artist, I decided to work the night shift in a factory. It was a way to free my mind in order to paint. What a delight to be able to disappear! Far away, deep within myself. Away also from the good taste that the 1960s and 70s elite was absolutely sure about. Really! At that time what was good was not in doubt: American cinema, Stalin, Le Corbusier, the proletariat, Pierre Boulez, a highway… The same for what was ugly: American imperialism, kitsch, modern style, Gallé, Gaudi, Hundertwasser, Rachmaninov, Gustav Mahler… anything old, bourgeois, sentimental…
A few shows punctuated this hesitant and musical period marked by my exaggerations: the FBG Gallery and the Galerie des Amis des Arts in Neuchâtel, (1992, 1997 and 2001). Publication of EXCÈS, a catalogue covering thirty years of painting, commitments to the cause of ecology and various other reflections, then TÊTES, another volume composed of drawings, texts and paintings, “Massa, Alex et Ken”, as well as a series of paintings depicting the river Areuse.
In 2006 a family show with Renate, Till (born in 1975) and Leopold (born in 1977): textile art, painting, sculpture, installations; a video at the Galerie des Amis des Arts (available on our website www.rabus.ch) has inspired some gallery owners, in particular www.aeroplactics.net in Bruxelles and www.stadtgalerieschwaz.at in Austria.
Since 1970, and especially since 1989 (the year when chance freed me from the obligation to earn a living, not without first tripping me up), love, family and responsibilities became a happy burden but there was a pain as well, an obsession: to paint and defend nature, this divine, generous and implacable womb where we come from, where we live, where we’re going, temporarily subjected to denatured arrogance.
The future, as radiant as it will be, will also be full of nostalgia, which will bring us to finally love what we are destroying: the binds that unite us and the old trees that give us shade.
The painter Claude Monet captured inspiration from his wonderful garden, a small part of the world cultivated and cherished, he immortalized it and thus shared it with us. He loved nature, color, light and did not have to look for it elsewhere, having what he needed right before his eyes. In this way he was an environmentalist. His example is still to be followed: to love and protect the place where we have decided to live.
At the request of Greenpeace, Spencer Tunick carried out in 2007 an impressive performance in relation to the melting of glaciers. It is time that contemporary art reflects a little better the threats to the future of humanity instead of “doing as if all was well / doing as if nothing was wrong” and simply animating and decorating our lives of polluters. But perhaps the artist is nothing but a kind of jester whose role is to play a little longer in order to ease the wrecking ship.
The paintings: « Les Perroquets », « Excès de Vitesse », « Le Touriste », « Massa, Alex et Ken » are performances issued from stories and freedom … Life should be full of solidarity, pleasure and amazement, and this is exactly what is melting.
Yet, beyond the messages, wonder and anger, it is the way to express what haunts us, by following a path both unique and universal, that is the most important; only then does the artist begin to exist … at the same time as his speech.
Alex Rabus Neuchâtel, March 2009
(translated by Anne Malena)
Collective exhibitions :
1977 : Philip Morris in Serrières
1982 : Galerie Jonas in Cortaillod
1985 : Town Hall in Yverdon
Exhibitions with Renate, Till and Leopold :
2002 : Friends of the Arts gallery in Neuchâtel
2009 : Gallery Schwaz in Austria
2009 : Gallery Aeroplastics in Bruxelles
2010 : Gallery Laurent Godin in Paris
2011 : Gallery Cuetoproject in New York
2014 : Gallery Anciens Arts in Montalchez (Neuchâtel)
2015 : Gallery Torch in Amsterdam
2016 : Gallery Haas in Berlin
Each family member is distinguished by a personal style is what makes the interest of these confrontations! The only common between parents and son are both the technical requirement and the time taken to produce a work … More than a year as appropriate.
Renate working the looper. She practices Textile Art by hand and by machine. Among other topics, she began to embroider the Winterreise by Schubert cycle of 24 songs … From 2010, it also captures insects in the form of giant sculptures textiles.
Leopold is located in both realism and fantasy. He is passionate about the traditions, customs, people he meets, proximity.
Till can be described as hyper-realistic to surrealistic tendencies and Pop Art.
Personal exhibitions :
1991 : Gallery of FBG in Neuchâtel – Publication of : « Mises en Boîtes à Musiques en Couleurs, Déclarations and Décorations d’Amour »
1997 : Friends of the Arts gallery. Martine Lavanchy, Director of the Gallery (now the Gallery C), many supported the four artists of Neuchâtel – Publication of « Excès » (Ed. Attinger)
2001 : Friends of the Arts gallery – Publication of «Têtes »
2012 : Gallery of Universe – Lausanne – Exhibition mainly devoted to Areuse – Texts from Laurence Carducci : « L’Humanisme en Transition »