Bernard Joubert was born in 1946 in Paris, where he lives and works today.
From 1965 to 1968, he trained to teach art at the Claude Bernard secondary school in Paris; then he moved to Strasbourg for eight years, breaking away from his academic education in the early 1970s to devote himself to minimal painting consisting of lines often drawn straight from the tube of paint onto a blank canvas.
In 1972 he began a gradual process to open the painting medium, coming to a head in 1973 with Rubans, canvas ribbons painted a single colour, attached directly to the wall to outline square, rectangular geometric surfaces, etc..., whose perimeters never quite joined up. This group of works would be exhibited for the first time in 1974 upon his first one-man show at the Yvon Lambert gallery in Paris. This exhibition was the start of his partnership with the Parisian gallery owner who would present the developments in his painting in three more one-man shows up to 1981. Other galleries were also interested in and supported the artist’s work at that time: Françoise Lambert in Milan (1974, 1975, 1979), Albert Baronian in Brussels (1975, 1977), Rolf Ricke in Cologne, Ugo Ferranti in Rome (1977) and Hal Bromm in New York (1978). In the second half of the 1970s he was invited to take part in important international exhibitions: Contemporanea in Rome (1974), Paris Biennial (1975), Plan & Space in Gand (1977), The Art of the Performance in Venice (1979) and Europa '79 in Stuttgart (1979). In 1974 some of his drawings were bought by the MoMA in New York, and in the same year numerous of his works became part of the Panza di Biumo collection.
Parallel to the exhibitions in institutional places, in 1974 Bernard Joubert started to install his ribbons on the streets of the cities of Strasbourg, Paris, New York and Venice. A series of photographs bears witness to this unconventional display technique, shared at the time with artist and friend André Cadere. In 2013 the Musée d'Art Moderne in Paris would acquire Carré rouge (200x200 cm) from 1974 for its collection, plus thirty photographs in which the red square is installed in the streets of Strasbourg or private houses. In 1975, the director of the Musée d'Art et d'Industrie in Saint Etienne, Bernard Ceysson, organised an exhibition of his works, accompanied by a catalogue edited by Jean-Marc Poinsot. The following year the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Grenoble displayed his Rubans in a solo show.
In 1980 the surface of the ribbons expanded and the monochrome was broken by fields of different colours.
In 1984, with the series of Simultanés, he began research to piece the picture back together into a whole. These works were displayed in 1997 at the Jacques Elbaz gallery in Paris.
In the mid 1990s he began to develop Peinture de peinture, a type of paintwork consisting of dabs of colour forming a structure over figures from existing pictures (Matisse, Cezanne etc...).
In 1999, together with Christian Bonnefoi, Monique Friedman, Jean-Pierre Pincemin and François Rouan, he took part in the Tableaux. La peinture n'est pas un genre exhibition organised by Tristan Trémeau in the Musée des Jacobins, the Musée de Brou in Brug-en-Bresse and the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Tourcoing.
In 2010 an exhibition at the Alain Margaron gallery in Paris set out twenty years of painting from 1990 to 2010. Since then he has continued to reflect on painting’s autonomy from its medium: while in the 1970s it may have been walls, now it was reproductions and photographic prints that Joubert collected and intervened on. For example, in 2012-2013, he painted on the flower plates of a botanical encyclopaedia. In 2013, he started to make the Peintures écrasées (Flattened paintings), in which oil paint, laid on old engravings or vintage photographic reproductions, created a single body from the paper itself and the glass. In 2015 two works from the late 1970s were included as part of the Quand fondra la neige, ou ira le blanc exhibition curated by Bernard Marcelis at Les Filles du Calvaire gallery in Paris, while the Alain Coulange gallery in Paris devoted a one-man show to him with works from 1980 to 82.
The exhibition Bernard Joubert. La Pittura, al limite (Bernard Joubert. Painting on the Edge), at Galleria Il Ponte in Florence in April 2016, accompanied by the monographic catalogue edited by Bernard Marcelis and Alessio Marolda, strives to provide an overall view of his oeuvre.