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Our new exhibition will be entrusted to the writer Nancy Huston, for whom this will be the first curation of an exhibition. She only accepted our proposal to take over the Bridge in September on the condition that she could develop the theme of the monster.

The monster is the other, the idiot, the unthinkable, the unthought of, but it is also the one who defies the norm and the laws of nature. Through the works of art brut and contemporary art chosen by Nancy Huston, the monster - whether fantasized or real - testifies to the persistence of ancestral fears and the strength of our imaginations.

It grows. It grows inside me. It grows. I feel it. It is sensitive, sensual. It burns, moves, snorts. It is more beautiful, more alive, more powerful than me. Sometimes I try to resist him but he is irresistible. As soon as I open my mouth, he roars and it’s great: his roar resounds, ricochets, fills the universe, intoxicates me. When he emerges, he rips off my politeness like Superman rips off Clark Kent’s clothes. Triumphant, it absorbs me, appropriates me, assimilates me and abolishes me. It is a pleasure to be one with him. It devastates, shreds, crushes, it’s not me, it’s me, it’s me, it’s not me, it comes from before, it goes through me, it’s not my fault, it’s out of my fault, out of me, out of me.
Nancy Huston

Exhibited artists : Jorge Alberto Cadi, Hélène Delprat, José Manuel Egea, Eugène Gabritschevsky, Gérard Garouste, Anouk Grinberg, Tomasz Machciński, Gastineau Massamba, Michel Nedjar, Chloé Poizat, Cécile Raynal, Lionel Sabatté.

Monster - © christian berst — art brut
Monster - © christian berst — art brut
Monster - © christian berst — art brut
Monster - © christian berst — art brut
Monster - © christian berst — art brut
Monster - © christian berst — art brut
Michel Nedjar in his workshop - © christian berst — art brut

Michel Nedjar

Though Frenchman Michel Nedjar is the most widely exhibited and published living representative of art brut, his extraordinary trajectory poses a rarely-adressed question – namely, the impermanence of art brut. Discovered by Jean Dubuffet when the latter was working on the resurgence of the symbolic body, Nedjar became the protean artist whom we know today and who embodies absolute freedom in creation. Present in countless collections, he is the first brut artist whose works were included in the collections of Beaubourg (France). Since 2008, he has had no fewer than six solo shows at such venues as Le Mahj (Paris), LaM (Lille), the Gugging Museum (Vienna), and the gallery.

portrait of eugene gabritschevsky - © christian berst — art brut

Eugène Gabritschevsky

Eugène Gabritschevsky was born in 1895 to a high aristocratic family in Moscow and enjoyed a significant career as a biologist before sinking into madness. His father, a bacteriologist, introduced him to science and Eugène became quickly known as a specialist in questions of heredity, working in the United States, then in Paris at the Institut Pasteur. Alongside his scientific work, the young man painted, in his spare time, expressionist-inspired works of art. At the onset of the Russian revolution, Eugène first showed signs of a larger behavioral disorder which would result in his commitment to the psychiatric hospital in Haar (near Munich), where he would remain until his death in 1979.[…]

portrait of josé manuel egea - © christian berst — art brut

José Manuel Egea

Convinced of his magical ability to become a wolf, this young artist from Madrid is fascinated by the Kafkaesque metamorphosis found in the world of comics and mythology. As polymorphic as he is, his work consists of drawings, sculptures and performances, and urges us to accept our own repressed gifts for shape-shifting. Promoted by the gallery since 2016, he had a major show that same year by the Biennale de l’image possible in Liège, Belgium. His work is now part of several major European collections of contemporary art such as those of Antoine de Galbert, or Laurent Dumas.

Jorge Alberto Cadi - © christian berst — art brut

Jorge Alberto Cadi

In the streets of Havana, everyone knows Jorge Alberto Cadi as « El Buzo » - the diver - because he’s constantly searching material for his works in the city’s trash cans. Boltanskian by his memorial use of photography, Warholian by his taste for stitching images together, El Buzo always seeks to reveal what these photographs are hiding. The gallery showed his work for the first time ever in 2019; it will be introduced to a wider public in the second edition of Photo | Brut, a joint show hosted first by the Arles Rencontres photographiques, then by the Centrale and Botanique in Brussels in 2022.

Tomasz Machcinski - © christian berst — art brut

Tomasz Machcinski

At a very young age, Tomasz Machciński built an identity around an autograph, addressed to him by an actress he believed to be his mother. From this confusion, which lasted more than twenty years, a protean and personal mythology was born that reconstructs the artist. As the image of the Ovidian myth, or Gregor Samsa, Tomasz Machciński cannot be described. Indeed, his work consists of over 22 000 self-portraits of as many different physiognomies. Exhibited in 2019 at the Rencontres de la Photographie, his works are already part of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw and the Museum of Photography in Krakow (Poland) as well as the collection abcd/Bruno Decharme.

monster curator : Nancy Huston
monster - © christian berst — art brut

Text : Nancy Huston
Catalog published to mark the exhibition monster, curator : Nancy Huston, from September 11 to October 10, 2021 at the bridge by christian berst.

Press review
Nancy Huston – Monstre
Laurent Boudier, Télérama Sortir. September 21, 2021.
monstre commissaire nancy huston

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