christian berstart brut
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It was under the impetus of Dr. Léo Navratil - psychiatrist at the Gugging Clinic, near Vienna, Austria, and author of Schizophrenia and Art in 1965 - that the adventure began, leading to the creation of the Maison des Artistes in 1986 with his successor Dr. Johann Feilacher.

Far removed from art therapy and its normative framework, much more than a community of patients created by emulation, this unique experience in the world has given birth to a whole group of artists who owe their international fame to the grace of their productions.

Walla, Tschirtner, Hauser, Fischer and the others are stars (blue, like their emblem) in the firmament of art brut.

august walla - © mario del curto, christian berst — art brut

August Walla

After a troubled childhood and a turbulent adolescence, August Walla was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was finally admitted - along with his mother - to the Gugging hospital, near Vienna, in 1970. Resident of the Haus der Künstler (house of artists), he will remain there for the rest of his life. Expressing himself through photography, installation, diversion of objects and typing of manifestos, writing and drawing have become inseparable in his work. A key figure in art brut, collected by David Bowie, Walla is present in a number of collections around the world, including those of the MoMa (New York) or the Milwaukee Art Museum (Wisconsin).

johann fischer - © feilacher, christian berst — art brut

Johann Fischer

Born in 1919 in Eggendorf am Wagram (Lower Austria), Johann was the apprentice for a master-baker before being recruited during the Second World War and taken prisoner by the Americans. At his liberation, he followed in his father’s footsteps at the head of the family farm, suffering, however, from hallucinations starting in 1957, he was committed to a psychiatric clinic. In 1981, he joined the Haus der Künstler and began his impressive production. Fischer, who died in 2008, only used pencil and color pencils. His palette, at first composed of gray and brown tones, grew considerably at the beginning of the 1990s. The rather simple subjects of his beginnings became progressively complex,[…]

johann korec - © martin vukovits foto credit, christian berst — art brut

Johann Korec

Johann Korec grows up in institutions for homeless youths. After attending a school for retarded children, he works as a laborer at a farmstead. He is committed to Gugging mental hospital in 1958. Since 1981, he lives and works there in the House of Artists. He had already begun working artistically in the 1960s. Based on copies of illustrations that appeared in newspapers, and over several years time, he develops an independent painting technique of his own. His ink and aquarelle pictures primarily depict loving couples and erotic scenes, which can be interpreted as an illustrated diary.

heinrich reisenbauer - © gugging gallery, christian berst — art brut

Heinrich Reisenbauer

Born in 1938 in Kirchau (Austria), Reisenbauer arrived at the Gugging when, shortly after his years in high school, he was diagnosed with psychosis. After 30 years of hospitalization in a pavilion for chronic illness, he was invited, in 1986, to come live at the Gugging House of Artists near Vienna. His drawings, most often small and drawn with black and colored pencils, invariably offer an almost serigraphic repetition of a subject that varies in miniscule details. He displays the same obsessive concern for order and balance in the most trivial daily tasks. Thus, when he is charged with the distribution of fruit to the residents of the Maison, the exercise is transformed into a veritable[…]

portrait of oswald tschirtner - © © gugging, christian berst — art brut

Oswald Tschirtner

O.T. - as he signed - was an emblematic artist of the Gugging hospital, where he was interned because of the psychosis he began to suffer upon returning from the siege of Stalingrad. His drawings, antitheses of the horror vacui, are characterized by their minimalism, the purity, the economy of means and effects, the sense of balance and space. Admired by Michel Thévoz, who devoted several feature articles to him, he also fascinated David Bowie and Brian Eno, who met and collected him. His works can be found in countless collections, such as those of Arnulf Rainer (Austria), abcd/Bruno Decharme (France) or the Pinacothèque Hervé Lancelin (Luxembourg).

Press review
Gugging, un foyer pour l'art brut
Télérama Sortir. May 24, 2006.
Annonce de l'exposition : Gugging, un foyer pour l'art brut
Animula Vagula. April 5, 2006.

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