by Christian Berst
The curator of the first exhibition in the Red House of the Today Art Museum in Beijing was Christian Berst, assisted by Anna Liang.
Josef Hofer, John Devlin, Dan Miller and Albert Moser will be featured.
Josef Hofer, who has been a resident of an Austrian institution for more than 30 years, does not speak. He draws. Tirelessly. In the metaphoric mirror that he uses and reaches out to us, people attempt to flee from the straitjacket of the frame with eroticized and untamed grace. His works - to which Michel Thévoz has devoted several essays - depict a founding duality between body and psyche. Present in numerous museum collections, he is also part of great private collections: A. de Galbert (France), A. Shaker (Switzerland) and even in the collection of A. Rainer (Austria), who considers him “one of the greatest of the brut contemporary artists.” A significant number of his works was donated to the Centre Pompidou collection in 2021 while the gallery became the owner of his estate in 2022.
Having become, in a decade, one of the most recognized contemporary brut artists, this autistic native of California is sometimes compared to Cy Twombly: while the latter deconstructs language, the former builds it. Since 2010, the gallery has contributed to its international recognition by organizing several exhibitions and publishing the only monograph available to date, enriched with an essay by Richard Leemann. Present in countless public and private collections - including those of the MoMA and Pompidou –, Dan Miller’s work was also part of the official selection of the 2017 Venice Biennale.
This American artist, autistic, lived most of his life with his parents, before joining the New Jersey foster home where he still lives. Moser first gained recognition for his tinkered photographic panoramas, then for his psychedelic geometric designs. But whatever the medium, his work testifies to the same obsession with space. They report, in their own way, the vertigo through which he tries to find his place in the world. Exhibited in 2019 at the Rencontres de la photographie d’Arles, his work is as well in the collections of Antoine de Galbert (France) and Treger Saint Silvestre (Portugal).
John Devlin was only 25 years old when he left Canada to study theology at Cambridge and set himself on the path to priesthood. Although he adored Cambridge, he had to return and abandon his ecclesiastical dreams because of a psychotic disorder. He thus devoted his life to drawing his own Nova Cantabrigiensis, an idealized Cambridge that became both a symbolic projection and a healing protocol. Once his great work - developed in secret - was discovered in the late 1980s, he was the subject of numerous exhibitions and publications including the Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles for the iconic exhibition Photo Brut.