I am rarely, if ever, drawn into photo realism or representative paintings of any kind, particularly those that have a surreal aesthetic however Gino Rubert‘s images were utterly captivating. I couldn’t help but be pulled into their strange atmosphere, full of melancholia and pathos. What intrigued me further was the subject matter of his series ‘True Love’ in which he explored romance and relationships in contemporary society.
These pictures were born in his own love letters, pages from his diary, which he then subverted, through humour, to create a series of tableaux that manage to make the personal universal, each vignette a riff, a play on philosophical musings and psychoanalysis, a surreal motif that seeks to represent the depth of love between two people in a world that forment’s neurosis and anxiety. Each picture can be seen to be a narrative, a utopian play in which the characters are informed by the sexual and social politics of our age. The couple always seeking a private moment to which we are witness, made voyeurs by Rubert’s careful constructions.
As an artist with a philosopher for a father and a psychoanalyst for a mother it’s not surprising that Rubert’s paintings are rooted in this search for utopian love and a need to contextualise emotions, give meaning to a profound state of mind that is impossible to describe with words. It’s perhaps why he turned to art and the masters of Latin American Realismo Mágico and Surrealismo such as Frida Kahlo, Leonora Carrington and Remedios Varo. Their idiosyncratic style instantly recognisable, powerful and enigmatic. It is this commingling of visual languages, philosophy and psychoanalysis that makes for these intense pictures which he can use as a space to discuss the personal and sentimental complexities of what he calls ‘the new man and woman’. Pictures that cut through artifice to reveal our deepest emotions in a new light. Here’s what he has to say about his work:
In Freud’s essay ‘The Sinister,’ he defines the sinister or intriguing as that which feels familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. As an artist, I am very interested in the experience of perception where you don’t really understand what exactly you are looking at. Is this photography? A painting? Is this character a man? A woman? Is this girl the villain? The victim? Is this a dog dressed up as a boy? A boy dressed up as a dog? The basic idea is to agitate in a pleasurable way.