associated curator : Matali Crasset.
In 1967, Michel Foucault created the idea of “absolutely other spaces” that he called heterotopias, including those which a child creates in order to reign over a world that is parallel to the one dominated by adults. Contrary to a utopia, a heterotopia indeed acts like a counter-space, a welcoming place for what Harald Szeeman would qualify as an “individual mythology.”
Likewise, such a space also evokes Fernand Deligny’s lines of wandering, Raymond Roussel’s locus solus, or Réné Daumal’s Mount Analogue. The first of which attempts to fix the poetics of wandering in a defined territory, the second describing the enigmas that can populate such a place, and the latter offering a symbolic mental landscape, the climb into which resembles an initiation rite.
In the field of Art Brut, these “inhabitable” worlds – most often “inhabited” – are, paradoxically, the product of those whom we believe to be absent from the world. Whether they invent them or the invest them, these projections not only reterritorialize them, protect them, but at the same time offer their authors the foundation of a new value system; a group of localized rules, turning out to be more viable for the person seeking reprieve from the weight of alienating norms.
These labyrinth-like cites, these Xanadu, these fiefs, these maps, these cartographies transform into dwellings – in the sense used by Etienne Martin – capable, even, of transforming into paradises or likely to become the seat of a personal cosmology. They are fully foundational and we thus understand why Brut artists work, like Rimbaud, “at finding the place and the formula” through them. It should be noted, incidentally, that the familiarity that can be felt in contemplating certain ones – after all, science fiction and modern art have widened our catalogue of forms – is very often nothing more than a happy lure that masks the profound hiatus that keeps us at a distance. Nonetheless, each of the works of these thirty or so artists reveals our inner child, the soul of a builder amazed by his own discoveries, abolishing both time and space, blossoming through play in this otherworld that his imagination uncovers.
Preface : Matali Crasset
Foreword : Christian Berst
Catalog published to mark the exhibition Heterotopias : architectural dwellings, from December 9th, 2017 to January 20th, 2018.