Robert Combas is a French painter and sculptor, born in 1957 in Lyon and now living and working in Paris.
He is widely recognized as a progenitor of the « Figuration Libre» movement that began in Paris around 1980 as a reaction against the art establishment, Minimalism and Conceptual art in particular.
Combas' own work has always been strongly rooted in depictions of the human figure. The latter are often in wild, violent or orgiastic settings. Usually on large, often unstretched canvases, Combas crowds his flat pictorial space with a teeming proliferation of bodies, street poetry and designs reminiscent of the compulsive patterning in much folk and outsider art. He creates hectic narratives of war, crime, celebration and transgression—in short, every phase that makes up the constant flux of modern life.
While Combas' works often seem to carry an element of shock or confrontation, he insists the images are meant to engage the viewer, and their execution in vibrant color and bold, unfettered line communicate a spirit of proletarian camaraderie that offsets the tendency to overwhelm.