“Porque cada objeto cotidiano habla,
Tiene una presencia,
Son fantasmas vivos en la casa.”
Tutus Mobio was born in Ivory Coast and grew up in France (his “headquarters” – Paris). This was yet one of several marvelous characters I’ve bumped into, and I decided to leave much deserved recognition of a very talented friend with a very unique personal style.
I met Tutus Mobio in Bogotá, after a curious sequence of apparently disconnected happenings which brought us to the exact moment we were introduced. Anyway, I had been staying at a hostel in the beautiful neighbourhood of La Candelaria, and Tutus’ home was just some blocks away. After an initial chat, he asked me if I’d like to crash at his place, and I accepted his offer. This reflects a bit of the spirit of Tutus: he barely knew me and he was already opening the door of his house to me, even if for a couple of days. This shows human kindness in its best, and I can only be thankful and in awe . Tutus was one of the most interesting people I’ve met during my wanderings. Maybe not only because of his sheer talent – but mostly because of the person I got to know.
Moving on, the following morning I moved to his place: a three-floor, cosy flat in a typical house with an inner patio. Tutus offered to go with me to the Botero museum (which I still hadn’t seen) – and also going to a market and help me trying to find out a similar hammock like his, which we eventually found and I carried all the way back to Lisbon. It was a great bargain, thanks to Tutus (who already knew exactly the price range). He took his camera along also, and we stopped by every now and then to take some pictures, getting to watch the beginning of a manifestation.
We later went to have lunch with one of his friends, Colombian painter Hernán Turbay (de la Junta Directiva de la Fundación Bogotá Arte Conexión). After a nice lunch we went to Hernán’s house, where I also met one of his friends, a writer who lived next door. Tutus started working on a large canvas, just colouring it red. Meanwhile, Hernán showed me his very nice house and some of his magnificent artwork.
After a very nice chat and coffee, the paint had already dried completely. We then said goodbye to the generous Hernán and walked the red canvas through Bogotá, heading back home. One of Tutus’ neighbours was a young Colombian completely in love with poetry, especially the Portuguese poet Nuno Júdice. According to him, Júdice was the greatest poet of the last decades. He then asked me if I could read him a couple of poems in Portuguese, so he could actually listen to the verses read in the original idiom. I did it the best I could and it was obvious that the guy was extremely happy. I left to the inner patio of the building, and before I went back to Tutus’ place, the young poet said goodbye and expressed his wishes to live in Portugal, the home of his favourite poet, one day.
From start to finish, I’ve had the privilege of being allowed to witness the makings of my new friend’s art. I even had the pleasure of helping him by holding the canvas, or with object positioning, lights, and taking a lot of photographs with our cameras. He didn’t sleep at all, and after I had crashed a couple of hours upstairs, we went out to see the daybreak in Bogotá – and to buy breakfast (some delicious croissants!). That evening we joined some friends for a Mojarra Eléctrica concert.
The following day was my last in Bogotá. We shared our contacts and I promised to visit him one day, in Paris or wherever he may be. It’s amazing how you can gain and be given trust over a matter of two or three days. Tutus accompanied me to the bus stop. I said goodbye to my friend, this amazing individual who welcomed me in his home.
The next stop would be Ipiales and the border with Ecuador, on the road to Quito, and it would take me about 30 hours to get there…however, I spent most of that time thinking about the existence – or not – of coincidences in this life, and how people ‘bump’ into one another.
Check Tutus Mobio’s Myspace page here
The following is a transcription of the article about Tutus, from the Colombian art magazine “BAC – arte sin exclusiones” (photos by me).
El Artista Viajero
Tutus Mobio nace en Adjamé, Costa de Marfil el 17 de junio de 1973. A la edad de seis años viaja a Francia residiendo en Paris bajo el cuidado de sus padres adoptivos. Desde entonces su vida se desenvuelve alrededor de una gran pasión por la escultura y la pintura, pasión que crecería con los años y que lo llevaría a la edad de 18, con el apoyo de su familia en Paris y dotado de un gran talento, a desarrollar de manera autodidacta su carrera como artista.
Entre los años de 1997 y 2002 la vida de Tutus estaría particularmente marcada por la búsqueda de sus raíces, tiempo durante el cual realizaría una serie de viajes por África acompañado por el dibujo. Durante 5 años recorrería miles de kilómetros ilustrados en sus cuadernos de viaje en busca de paisajes, gentes, expresiones materiales y tradiciones, donde poco a poco se iba reconociendo al tiempo que le daba forma a su obra plástica, el arte africano empezaba a cobrar un valor para él mucho más allá de la artesanía; de las mascaras, las tallas y las telas en Batik.
Su trabajo estaría marcado en adelante por el encuentro entre dos mundos, África y occidente, con sus tan distintas formas de representación y percepción donde Tutus entraría en una suerte de juego con el espacio. Juego que le permitiría explorar nuevas dimensiones de la pintura donde las referencias externas ponen en evidencia al espectador ofreciéndole al tiempo lugares comunes y claves significantes como múltiples posibilidades de lectura en donde el espectador permanece suspendido entre planos de forma y color.
Expresa calidez, sencillez, inteligencia social, expresión de lo cotidiano al color, al trazo graso. Suspendiéndolo en los ojos del que se atreve a fisgonearle su narración visual congelada en el uso y el desuso. Sus vacas evocan un mundo para todos amplio y generoso. Su deleite en el objeto que toma la mano y que lo usa mil veces con amor.
Constructivismo mas simbolismo que aporta a la mente humana coloreándole su diario – vivir en el toque que acaricia la imaginación.
BAC EL PERIÓDICO – Bogotá Arte Conexión, #4 (Noviembre y Diciembre de 2008)
Cada vez nos planteamos retos más importantes, rompiendo los esquemas trazados para un ejercicio que no debería tener esquemas – el arte.
Oskar Larrañaga Cortés (BAC)