Robert Combas in Cannes : " Moteur ! " - La Gazette Drouot

Robert Combas
Robert Combas
Et si Luis avait remplacé Walt Disney ?

At first glance, you'll recognise his inimitable style, with its strident colours and dark circles. But analysing the subject matter is much more complex... Fortunately, the full title of this lavish composition by Robert Combas is there to enlighten the viewer as to the author's intentions : Et si Luis avait remplacé Walt Disney? Luis Buñuel would be a big hit if he'd made his own disconnected cartoons. Miké Nické, Tome (de Savoie) and Jary (Alfreda). Titin the young Belgian... it's all surrealist cartooning. This commentary gives us a few keys to deciphering a work in which references to the 7th art abound !

On the canvas, painted in 2007, Combas conjures up stars of the silver screen, starting with the illustrious director Luis Buñuel, depicted - almost - realistically in the middle of a film shoot, sitting behind his camera, rather like a magazine cliché. Opposite him are a cast of cartoon characters : Mickey, the duo Tom and Jerry, and Tintin, whose dancing figures are accompanied by equivocal puns and other linguistic manipulations characteristic of the artist. Once again, Combas's rock'n'roll universe draws its inspiration from popular culture as expressed in comic strips, television and, as in this case, the cinema. The work, however, is not one of his isolated productions, but part of a monumental series produced for an event in Cannes.

An iconoclastic tribute to cinema

In 2007, the year of the production of Et si Luis avait remplacé Walt Disney, Combas was invited to celebrate the Cannes Film Festival (which had just celebrated its 61st anniversary) with a major exhibition. Entitled "Cinéphage à gogo", and held at the Centre d'art La Malmaison, on the Croisette, from 7 July to 25 November, it is presented as an imaginary fresco, whose canvases evoke the most famous films in the history of cinema, their legendary stars and directors... but in the painter's own way : burlesque, even sarcastic. Divided into three distinct parts, this thematic display opened with a kind of tribute to contemporary directors, from Godard to Almodovar, through a series of portraits painted in acrylic on pillowcases. This was followed by an impressive cycle of large paintings showing filming by masters such as Jean-Pierre Melville, on the set of Le Samouraï. Charlie Chaplin, on the set of The Great Dictator, Luchino Visconti, directing Le Guépard, or - here we are - the author of The Andalusian Dog and Tristana. Then there were the sackcloth posters for fictional thrillers, full of revolvers and daggers, such as the Mugging supposedly played by Jean-Claude Van Damme...

Something to delight film fans, as well as unconditional admirers of Combas, such as Guy Pieters. It was in Pieters' gallery in Saint-Paul-de-Vence that a major collector from Cannes acquired this work with its Buñuelan accents, to savour all its fantasy, before selling it today.

Robert Combas (born 1957), Et si Luis avait remplacé Walt Disney? [...], 2007, mixed technique on canvas, 200 x 205 cm (detail) Estimate: 120000/150000€

Lot 186 of the auction of December 30th at 2.30pm

Philippe DUFOUR - La gazette Drouot N°45 du 15 Décembre 2023 p.27

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