Les transports de l’art brut
“The work enshrines the failure of any theory,” Klee said.
Art Brut - which does not need theoretical crutches to walk at a leisurely pace - would be the perfect illustration of this. The gush of unfathomable depths, the sprouting of intimate mechanisms whose meaning is often elusive, Art Brut remains an invitation to a motionless journey. Similar to that which its authors carry out from the depths of their inner exile, whether voluntary or undergone.
Is it for this reason that these creators from elsewhere dream of themselves elsewhere to the point that their productions so frequently involve means of transport? Is it the allegorical transposition of a state or the expression of a wish for seclusion? And what kind of transport are we talking about? Who can tell? Klee puts us on the track: when you hear “theory”, think “confinement” and respond with escape.
Delaunay, Helmut, Ploos van Amstel, Raugei, Roberston, Robillard, Talpazan, Théâte or Wertheimer open the way for us.
Marco Raugei grew up in a poor, working class family and was often bullied and beaten by his three brothers and sisters. He attended school for five years before being placed in a range of specialized institutions. In 1986, he enrolled at La Tinaia, an arts program associated with the San Salvi psychiatric hospital in Florence. After two years spent wandering the room and speaking to himself, he began to draw. His drawings, made with black felt pen on large format sheets, show repeated objects or figures from his daily life: animals, characters, and constructions are aligned horizontally, stopping when the sheet has been filled. Although nearly identical, the subjects in a single work,[…]
Royal Robertson spent most of his life in Louisiana with his wife and eleven children. A sign painter by training, his paranoid schizophrenia triggers in him a prodigious creative fever. Ethereal ascents, portraits of deities, futuristic architectures alike “show houses” of a world to come, it is as if he had descended from his planet, carrying his own Tablets of Law. Featured in countless international collections, such as the Smithsonian Museum of American Art (USA), his work was presented in 2018-19 in the travelling exhibition Into The Unknown, produced by the Barbican (London) and curated by Patrick Gyger.
Interned since his teens, André Robillard built his life in the hospital. It was around the age of 30 that this French artist began to create rifles with materials found here and there. Discovered by Jean Dubuffet and encouraged by Michel Thévoz (director of the Art Brut collection), he continues to create his hybrid objects, from machine guns to Sputnik. André Robillard’s incredible story has earned him international recognition. Present in the collections of the LaM (France), Whitworth (UK) or MAC’s (Belgium), he was notably celebrated in the closing exhibition of the maison rouge (Paris) in 2018.
In his eighteens, while he got ready to start studying fine arts, a coma after a serious motorcycle accident changed the promising life of this young artist. The impossibility of recovery condemned Dominique Théte to fantasize about his life. This is why almost all his drawings are followed by a “Shema (sic) representing me…” where he stages different aspects of his fantasy life, whereas in the afternoon suit he would wear during his marriage, in a comedian loved by his audience, in a star singer, or in the reproduction of the numerous cars he dreams of. As Anne-Françoise Rouche implied: “Because he was stolen from his construction of common person, he is going to draw and to write that of[…]