Paul du Bois-Reymond

‘Reverberation’, 2021
Oil pastels and oil on canvas
160 x 200 cm

Paul du Bois Reymond makes oil pastel paintings of seemingly random objects of the everyday, overly saturated images that range from snapshots of our daily existence to fragments from the advertisement world. 

The material of Oil pastel is an unconventional choice: introduced in Japan in the early 20th century, it has traditionally been used as a recreational tool for children, and although later adopted by avant garde artists such as Picasso, it has kept an association with the lower arts to this day.

It is thus rare to see paintings made in this medium, also because of the difficulty of the material:  unlike a brush, the thickness of the pastel sticks does not allow you to work in too much detail. The accuracy in which the works are made is therefore quite astonishing.

Du Bois playfully introduces a very different formal language, one that does not try to conform to the artistic set of rules of the classical media, but one that questions them instead. The colors are exaggerated and vibrant, the subject matter is magnified and distorted. So while he successfully attempts to re-create reality with a medium that doesn’t necessarily facilitate this process, du Bois re-shapes the aesthetic values given to it, Introducing new languages instead of compromising to existing ones.

By deconstructing snippets of reality and reconstructing them onto the canvas in a neo-cubistic manner, the artist re-defines our concept of beauty, questioning common definitions of high and low, chic and kitch, and what exactly shapes the dividing line between those categories.

Du Bois’ paintings are sensual results of picturesque constraints, formally and materially provocative. They are ironically Pop, challenging artistic and cultural conventions.

Paul du Bois-Reymond (Berlin, 1974) is an artist, musician and designer who lives and works in Amsterdam.

He studied at the Rietveld Academy of the arts (1992-1996) and was co-founder of the infamous DEPT, later Machine design collectives. In 2018 he co-founded the Amsterdam based band OWN.

In 2011 Paul du Bois-Reymond amazed the art world with his etchings for the first time. The extraordinary quality of his detailed pieces did not go unnoticed. Ernst van de Wetering –the world’s leading authority on Rembrandt– acquired a large piece.

Recent (solo) exhibitions include: YWGWYW with The Curators Room; Droste Gallery, Germany ; Kunsthaus Betanien, Germany,  Gabriel Rolt Gallery, The Netherlands  and Unruly Gallery, The Netherlands.

-Text by Sara van Bussel