Romain Burgy & Nabil Gharsallah

Urban (T)rooms in blue

November 15, 2015 – January 25, 2016

The Cologne artist Romain Burgy, who was born in France in 1952, and his student Nabil Gharsallah deal with the topic of living environments. Urbanization, i.e. the spread and change of urban ways of life, is the theme of the exhibition “Urban (T)Räume in Blau”. In their works, Burgy and Gharsallah depict the growth of cities as well as the living conditions of their residents. This extremely topical subject is intended to present the viewer with the artist’s perspective on the living cultures of different social classes as well as people in their everyday lives.

Regardless of the sometimes difficult living conditions of the people, Burgy’s works are full of joie de vivre and motivate for a sunny future. In 2010, the artist represented the contemporary art of the Federal Republic of Germany in the German Pavilion at the World Expo in Shanghai with works on the motto “Better City, Better Life”. “I never reproduce something as I saw it, but as I want to see it,” says Romain Burgy. His pictures shine from within and the artist captures their masterpieces, people and moods in strong colours. The flying lemon can be seen in every picture, which Burgy uses as his own individual signature instead of his name. It is the symbol of the Mediterranean, the south, the sun.

The intense, radiant blue has a special meaning for the artist and, like the flying lemon, is his trademark. On the one hand, the blue color indicates the origin of the artist – the Mediterranean region. The light and colors of this region have shaped and inspired the artist since his childhood. On the other hand, the color blue has a deep spiritual meaning for Burgy: As the color of the sky, blue embodies the infinity of our possibilities and is symbolic of longing and imagination… Could this express a longing for a better world? The strong blue puts the viewer in a state of dreaming and leads him to his serious view of things inward. It is no coincidence that the viewer should perceive the urban spaces in blue.

such as B. Yves Klein with his blue-monochrome pictures, some artists of art history place the color blue at the center of their art. Wassily Kandinsky, who worked in the artist group “Der Blaue Reiter” among other things, wrote in his famous book “Über das Geistige in der Kunst” in 1910: “The tendency of blue to deepen is so great that it becomes more intense in deeper tones and more characteristic internally. The deeper the blue becomes, the more it calls people into infinity, awakening in them a longing for the pure and ultimately for the supernatural” (Lit. Kandisnky, p.92). But the origin of the symbolism of the color blue can already be found in ancient Egypt. The Egyptians saw life in the deep blue of the water and the divine in the immense blue of the sky.

Romain Burgy has a distinctive imagery that inspires a young generation of artists. Nabil Gharsallah, a young, aspiring artist from Cologne, has the opportunity to get to know a unique technique through his teacher Romain Burgy and at the same time to develop his individual style. In addition to his training at the Film Acting School in Cologne, Nabil Gharsallah devoted himself to studying painting in Romain Burgy’s studio. The protagonists that he embodies in the play can be found in his works of art. The tandem deals with social issues full of optimism and confidence and conveys their hope for the future.

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