Figures of Russian art brut
Lobanov, Almazov, Leonov, Romanenkov
For more than a decade, works from the former Soviet bloc, born on the fringes of the aesthetic dictates of the time, have been revealing the extraordinary vitality of a creation that has been able, just as much as in the West, to flourish in the shadow of cultural clichés while broadening our definitions of art.
This exhibition brings together for the first time works by the emblematic figure of Russian Art Brut, Alexandre Lobanov (1924-2003) - which will be the subject of a retrospective at the Collection de l’Art Brut in Lausanne in 2007 - and those, less well-known, by Almazov or Leonov, or even never presented in France, such as those by the Moscow gardener Romanenkov.
At the age of seven, Alexandre Lobanov became deaf and mute, the result of meningitis. Rebellious and often aggressive, his family decided to admit him into a psychiatric hospital at the age of twenty-three. His first ten years at the facility were marked by extreme displays of hate and agitation. At the approximate age of thirty-three, Lobanov gradually began to draw, and his behavior evolved. The formerly turbulent and irritable man became calmer and even sociable. Drawing both distracted and soothed him, helping to stabilize his overall psychological state. From the moment he begins to draw, all of Lobanov’s activity is focused on those moments when he is alone in front of a blank sheet[…]