In the flesh
The body is at once a vehicle, an envelope and a sensitive surface which establishes our relation to the world. In all ages, man has represented himself either in interaction with his environment, or alone, simply delighting in his incarnation.
Soon, however, much of this artistic expression, which could also be described as cultic, began, in a sense, to “divinise” the body. Suddenly, it was no longer a matter of imitating nature but of revealing what is beyond it, or beyond us.
Art brut is certainly not spared this spectacle of the passions that come alive in bodies. Foremost among these are Eros and Thanatos. However, while the boldness of modernism lay in pushing back the formal limits of the anatomy, in art brut the artists insist on the more essential functions of the body. They intercede with us, raising the curtain on the torments that haunt them, revealing their humanity in the guise of a charade. The soul is transfigured, its flesh and truth manifested. They are shown, indeed, in the flesh – in their embodied truth.