Olivier TomaYear of birth :
1965Public or private shows :
Sealed by the limbs of a sibylline writing, Olivier Toma's solar and fire canvases are a show in themselves. From a general and a materialistic point of view, this technique provides the speed of calligraphy. For the Western world, this way of portraying images is unfound. The eyes focus on the painted surface of the canvas and encounter the colored symbols, enigmatic, nervous, and fast. They do not identify the symbols, but they are fascinated by them.
In Chinay, tradition does not make a difference between calligraphy, painting, and poetry. In the Western world, everything clashes. Olivier Toma takes the option that belongs to his art: the association of painting to writing, and writing to life.
Eclectic, his calligraphy is inspired on Arabic, Chinese, Jewish, and Latin writing. The strange pictograms he depicts are light as éclairs, explosivs as grenades and as filled as the canvases allow. The spiral is a recurring theme in his paintings. His writings sketch trajectories like those projected in space by dancers. In his work, he invests his whole body and soul.
The title of most of his work informs us of the artist's contemplative intention towards life: "I told you, beauty is everywhere", "At the shade of an old sole" or even "Look for a path sprinkled with love and you will find it".
French writer Noël Arnaud, who is very interesed in writing's adventures tells an extravagant story about the relationship between writing, the living body, and the spirit. It was said that in China, to cure certain illnesses they used "the healing talisman", which simply a writing that was posted on the ill's room or directly rubbed it for some time on the part of the body that was ill. Then, the talisman was burnt and its ashes were mixed with a liquid the ill person had to drink. In order for it to work, the writing had to be assimilated, in psychological terms, by the patient. "The Gods require you to drink their word", he said humorously.
Without going too far from his painting practice, Olivier Toma seems to search for gateways between art and calligraphy, physiological balance and wisdom. Even when selecting pigments he makes use of a sorcerer's syncretism. He combines painting with eggs, cocoa, tobacco, volcanic powder, and Chinese ink. He varnishes with curry and safran to invite the spectator to a true festival of olfactory and visual sensations. And if you believe in Aristotle, the effect of the art is cathartic.
Independent and audacious, Olivier Toma puts painting at the service of writing, writing at the service of sernsations, and sensations at the service of "sense".