Devis Grebu

  • About me     Page
  • 1
  • 2

There was a time when coming into the world was the result of a miracle. This made everything much sim- pler indeed. A Creator would spread out his order- ing hands, and planets, comets, suns would dart out merrily to inscribe their rhythmic rounds upon the blue heavens. The great cosmic dance would begin. But this all happened long, long ago. And though the artist may sometimes allow his nostalgic fantasies to roam among these early beginnings of the world, it is obvious that – from the time of Genesis on – the course of things very qui- ckly went off the primrose path.

Yvette Metral

in Devis Grebu:
"Through an artist’s eye
(Rizzoli monograph)

Devis Grebu, a rewriter of the world

Above all, Devis Grebu is an artist of meaning. Whatever the artistic matter he employs, whatever the form, whatever the means or purpose of his art, Devis Grebu draws and redraws the world - not to highlight its beauty, but the better to contemplate it. To do so both in what it says and in what it hides; both in what it could say and what it would like to say. In the end, to contemplate what he, the artist, feels it ought to say. His gaze, when contemplating the world, in fact performs a reading. In everything he does, Devis Grebu is a passionate seeker of meaning. His line is febrile, for his intelligence is both ardent and meticulous, for all his drawings represent a decomposition of the world according to its most minute signs and unobserved insignia. Line and world combine in Grebu's drawings like the abstract and the figurative in pictographic writings, such that, once meaning has been extracted from the signs of the world by his mobile and avid eye, it is rewritten into the world by his restless hand with a writing overflowing with enormous and at times Homeric artistic verve. His art is not a visual reaction to the world; it is a rewriting of the world, a kind of continual palimpsest manifesto, in which his writing, through its beauty and intelligence, is always the most powerful. His drawings, through their meticulousness and something that exists beyond form (but this side of the logic of the lines), resemble writing. It is an extraordinary, irresistible rewriting of the writing of the world. Devis Grebu graphically besieges the events he addresses. He is a brilliant strategist in the conquest of meaning, achieved by bringing victoriously to their knees all the different meanings reality appeared to possess, before taking aim at it and then, after conquering it, possession of it. He stands before reality as did most likely Demetrius Poliorcetes, the brilliant strategist, before the city he was about to besiege. Poliorcetes, the besieger of cities, made them one with the earth. Devis Grebu, the besieger of meaning, makes reality one with his meaning. Devis Grebu is an artist who fundamentally reinvents the event and who, leaving no means of escape, besieges the opportunity provided by the spectacle that is the world, an artist who rewrites every graphic formulation of the world in his own meticulous and hieroglyphic writing. Viewing his art, you have the impression of reading the world. Revisiting it, you have the joyous feeling of rewriting it.

Horia-Roman Patapievici - President of the Romanian Cultural Institute, President of European Union National Institutes for Culture
Foreword in the "Devis Grebu" Monograph published by the RCI Publishing House - Bucharest

Romanian-born Grebu is well-known internationally as an artist whose work describes life's comic and tragic aspects. His paintings and drawings are inspired by autobiographical events and emotions and explore his disenchantment with modern civilization. The artist's subjects range from biting commentary on contemporary society to humorous metaphors for the wonders of creative life. He explores such timeless subjects as the battle of the sexes, man's inhumanity to man, aging, automation, materialism and totalitarianism. Grebu has a strong, expressive drawing style, used in combination with vibrant pastels, gouaches, watercolours and mixed media. His oils exhibit forceful surrealistic elements. Whether drawing or painting, the artist's satirical work mirrors the foibles and follies of the human condition, both personal and cosmic. An escapee from communism, he considers himself to be an international artist. He has exhibited his unusual and complex work around the world. In summing up his philosophy, Grebu emphasizes that "... a sense of humour is a strange alliance between tragedy and comedy... my bitterness does not begin to match the depth of my joie de vivre".

Joan Babbage - for „The Star Ledger“ (the main newspaper in New Jersey U.S.A., at the opening of a one man show in Sheilla Nussbaum Gallery).

Devis Grebu, is a prolific artist whose contribution to visual arts is evidenced by his sustained activity as a painter, draftsman, illustrator, graphic artist and cartoonist. Stylistically his art has been characterized as both Symbolist and Surrealist, but as we approach the close of the 20th century, we have come to the understanding that such procrustean classifications don’t do justice to any artist. It is true, in his works Mr. Grebu uses contemporary society. But, the multilayering of visual and conceptual orders disrupts any attempt at a monological reading, towards a unilateral one. His works, referred to by art historians and critics as visual epigrams, establish Mr. Grebu as the heir of a long tradition of artist-scholars whose aim is above all humanistic in nature.

Roxana Marcoci - Art historian and curator (currently at MOMA- NY)