Bozar (Brussels) and the Dr. Guislain Museum (Gent) present together the exhibition Danser brut organised in 2018-2019 at the LaM (Villeneuve-d’Ascq) in a unique format. A complementary story to be discovered on two different sites.
Danser brut attempts to reveal the connection between dance and involuntary or repetitive movements. The exhibition examines different forms of expression of the body, the face and the hands as a translation of our being-in-the-world. Through an intriguing mix of Art Brut, modern and contemporary art, medical archive documents, film excerpts, etc., the exhibition defies categorisation.
On this occasion Bozar and the Dr. Guislain Museum will present four of our artists - Josef Hofer, Beverly Baker, Yuichi Saito and Momoko Nakagawa.
Danser brut is organized by BOZAR, Brussels and Museum Dr. Guislain, Ghent after an original concept by LaM, The Lille Métropole Museum of Modern, Contemporary and Outsider Art.
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.
When Beverly Baker sits at her worktable, the ritual is always the same: on the blank piece of paper, with a ballpoint pen, the artist begins to trace letters on which she will draw until the meaning is annihilated. Her work is reminiscent of that of Twombly, Serra or Tapiès. A member of the « Latitute Artist » workshop (Kentucky), Beverly Baker has been presented twice at the Maison rouge (Paris) in these exhibitions: Le Mur, artworks from the Antoine de Galbert collection and art brut, abcd/Bruno Decharme collection and won the Wynn Newhouse Award in 2017.
Adolf Wölfli is the emblematic figure of 20th century art brut, author of more than 1,500 drawings and of a 25,000-page biography. He has built a personal and complex universe, where he reinvents his past and projects a utopian future, colonized to the edge of space. The richness and excess of this work cause vertigo. The list of artists he fascinates is long (among them Jean Dubuffet, Annette Messager, Arnulf Rainer), and an echo to his presence in the collections of the Musée National d’Art Moderne (France), Prinzhorn collection (Germany), and the LaM (France). As André Breton pointed out, this is “one of the three or four major works of the 20th century.”
Yuichi Saito is fascinated by popular Japanese shows. At the workshop of Kobe Shu (Saitama), which he has been attending since 2002, he began graphic work around these television programs, methodically writing, in a broad gesture, the title of each of them. His drawings have since then reached a degree of visual abstraction of great intensity. More recently, he has undertaken work on the mo character of the hiragana alphabet: its repetitions reveal his emotional states. His work has been shown in the collections of the Museum of Everything, at MONA, in Tasmania, and during the closing exhibition of the maison rouge (France): L’envol ou Le rêve de voler.
A member of the Yamanami workshop (Shiga, Japan) since 2015, Momoko Nakagawa has been doing, in a broad and regular gesture, a serial and calibrated work on writing, moving from the undulating of colored frequencies to stamping numbers in coffee halos. Evoking lyrical abstraction, the young artist’s work “combines gestural spontaneity, calligraphic elegance, serialized repetition, and formal inventiveness,” as Raphael Koenig writes in the dossier devoted to her by Artpress (2020). Her work was exhibited for the first time in 2019 at Harvard University, and then, that same year, at the gallery as part of the choral exhibition japon brut: la lune, le soleil, yamanami.