PHOTO © Collection de
PHOTO © Collection de

Seen from a different angle

TEXT: CORNELIA BRELOWSKI

Art Brut is the art of the outcasts of society who often happen to mirror society best − as they have no interest in gaining anything from their art but pure self-expression.

The Collection de l’Art Brut in Lausanne dates back to a donation made by the French painter Jean Dubuffet in 1971. As the creator of the ‘Art Brut’ concept, he was the first to explore unlikely and as yet neglected creative ‘hubs’ such as prisons and psychiatric asylums. Today, the artworks collected by Dubuffet, counting a stunning number of 5,000 works by 133 creators, can be seen at the Lausanne collection only. Opened in 1976, the Collection de l’Art Brut is today still continuing in the line of its founder and has also become an international reference in its realm.

Cross-exploring the world for overlooked creators

The museum’s own ambitions extend far beyond a specific cultural and geographic context, searching worldwide for overlooked creators and singular bodies of works that “never fail to call back into question the paradigms of this uncontrived creation and, in this manner, to confirm Jean Dubuffet’s initial intuition”, as curator Sarah Lombardi formulates it.

Art Brut from Japan – Another Look (through to 28 April 2019) will present works by 24 contemporary creators. Lombardi, who co-curates the exhibition with Edward M. Gómez, an expert on Japanese art and culture, promises the exhibition to “broaden our vision of Japan’s culture by introducing us to works that are at once sophisticated, amusing, powerful, inventive, and dissident”.

As of 7 June 2019, the collection will present an exhibition on Carlo Zinelli, a Veronese painter who was committed to a psychiatric clinic after entering the second world war. Here, he started to express himself in stunning wall graffiti works, until the hospital board allowed him to join an art and sculpture workshop. Zinelli painted recurring motifs such as wheels, animals and people in profile, embellishing his compositions with inscriptions. The works were of a highly expressive, graphic quality, and such approach may have influenced many contemporary artists, such as Jean Michel Basquiat or Keith Haring.

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