“The images I create are poems without the words”
– Rubem Robierb
For two decades, Rubem Robierb has worked with poetry, photography and painting to create capturing and visually compelling works of art whose strong symbolism and underlying message induce an emotional response with the beholder and strike on the sensitive nerves of modern society.
Growing up in Maranhão, Brazil, Robierb first artistic expression was poetry, which was followed by photography. His kindling passion for photography led it to become his preferred art form, because, like with poetry, Robierb clearly saw how he could create images that could convey a deeper meaning – and create images that could be read.
After receiving formal photography training while working as a commercial photographer in São Paolo, he was discovered by the French ‘Art et Partage’ association, which helped him debut his first solo photography show in Paris and Aix en Provence.
In 2008 Robierb relocated to Miami to open his studio in the art district Wynwood. In this axis of international and local art galleries mixed with street art and graffiti and began to pursue what he alludes to as his third artistic way of expression – painting. In. 2013 Robierb move to NYC and debut his first show in the big apple at Gaglialatella Galleries named Bullets and Butterflies. It was from this location that he has created a rough of his most important works, including, BulletFly Effect, HEart and his new series Power Flowers.
In the beginning of 2015, Robierb was commissioned by the city of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to bring his BulletFly Effect series into the heart of the city. His art project Metamorph-US transformed a Downtown Fort Lauderdale building with a 300-foot mural of large-scale butterflies.
Currently, he is deeply involved in his visually bold and symbolically potent art collection HEART, and his next art project will evolve around two other profoundly transformative figures – bullets and flowers. Working with the bullet as an iconic shape has also paved the way for his fourth artistic way of expression as Robierb is working with dimensionality and scale as a sculptor.
Robierb’s body of work underscores his unique ability to bestow the seemingly banal with monumental proportions. His use of figures that span from commonplace to iconic are given new and profound meanings that reveal themselves as the beholder discover the subtle signs that Robierb so masterfully hides in plain sight. His work carries an innate connection to the pop art movement where he, like Andy Warhol, creates a visually compelling dimensionality and figurativeness that conveys powerful messages to the beholder. His connection to the contemporary art movement is also clear with references to Damien Hirst whose use of natural elements creates a constant dialogue between life and death. Robierb’s strong inspiration from street art is also evident in many of his works constructing politically laden layers to his artworks. In turn, the constant play on the permanence of all things life links him to contemporary Banksy.
Robierb successfully captures the beholder’s attention compelling the viewer to extract the underlying message of the artwork – a particularly powerful trait of Robierb’s art.
Bullet Fly Effect Series (2012-2014)
The visual prowess of Rubem Robierb’s Bullet Fly Effect Series secured his place in today’s modern art scene. As a sharp analogy to life, death and transformation, he combines the beauty and delicate innocence of a butterfly with a bullet to create a powerful metaphor for the violence in our world. At the same time the Bullet Fly alludes to chaos theory and the ‘butterfly effect’, where the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in New York can result in a tsunami in Japan as a result of universal interconnectivity on a subatomic level.
Robierb has developed his Butter Fly Effect series over several years, adding even more layers to the strongly visual and symbolic figure. He has applied a plethora of artistic expressions to that same subject including photography, acrylic painting, diamond dust technique, building graffiti, and sculpture.
With HEART Rubem Robierb strikes yet another nerve in contemporary American society by showcasing the fact that human emotion often gets transferred to a plethora of external communicative objects like signs, emojis, words and symbols. The heart holds such strong emotional, symbolic value and when juxtaposed with everyday signage and phrases, the underlying powerfulness of each emotion becomes even more evident – or maybe less significant? The outcome is a collection of ironic, edgy, political and critical artworks that effectively display Robierb’s personal vision of the world. The visually compelling and symbolically profound experience causes the beholder to reflect on the both universal and deeply personal question of ‘what is love?”
Bullet and Butterflies (2015)
After two years of exploring and experimenting with butterflies and the bullet as the bug’s body, Robierb revisits his signature figures yet again – but this time dismembers them. It’s an evolution of the same work, but is evolved into becoming an installation piece that combines painting and sculpture on large scale. The butterfly has been split in two identical but mirrored life-size paintings of each wing, and the bullet body has materialized into a 37-inch tall aluminum bullet sculpture. With the wings being human-scale and the over-sized bullet in the middle, it becomes a strong symbol of hand- and man-made power. The viewer can easily position himself – both mentally and physically – between the two wings and feel the fragility of life through his interaction with the artwork as becomes both the butterfly and the bullet.
The bullet is Robierb’s idea of a 3-dimensional canvas that can be applied with Swarovski crystals, gold leaf, chrome, and relief drawing to underline mankind’s desirability and glamorization of the bullet – even though it is one the most deadly things.
In his new series, Power Flowers, Robierb connects his bullet and war narrative with Andy Warhol and . Even the title of the series discloses the very intentional relation to Andy Warhol’s Flowers, which practically forces the viewer to reinterpret, review, and discover the re-meaning with most of Robierb’s works the layers of the painting are hidden in plain sight, because upon closer inspection the presumed Warhol flower is not a flower – it is a bullet that has been shot and has exploded. It looks like a flower, but is far from it. Nothing is what it seems, and no matter how hard you try, you cannot un-see the expanded bullet. What started out as a pretty picture has been corrupted and you have no means of escaping the optical truth of the artwork. Robierb makes the viewer painfully aware of how violence and war can corrupt your vision, and how beautiful and how sad our pop war culture has become.
2015 Metamorph-Us, Fort Lauderdale, USA
2015 HeArt Gallery 212, Aspen, USA
2014 F-Light, Atlanta, USA
2013 Bullets and Butterfly, Taglialatella Galeries, New York, USA
2012 Bullet Fly Effect, Emmanuel Fremin Gallery, New York, USA
2011 Show Me the Money, Curators Voice Gallery, Miami, USA
2009 Pop Saints, Miami, USA
2009 SEE, Miami, USA
2009 Eros/Thanatos, Red Dot Art Fair (ART BASEL), Miami, USA
2008 Spiritual Portrait, Icon South Beach, Miami, USA
2008 Faith, Miami, USA
2006 Brésil Autrement, Gallery of the L’Open, São Paulo, Brazil
2006 Brésil Autrement, Ilana Gallery, Paris, France
2006 Brésil Autrement, Image Gallery The House, Zurich, Switzerland
2006 Negros, Institute Brasile / Italy, Milano, Italy.
2005 Brésil Autrement, Alliance Française, São Paulo.
2005 Brésil Autrement, Gallerie d’Art Contemporin, Aix-en-Provence, France