curator : Léo Guy-Denarcy
Christian Berst hands the fall exhibition at The Bridge to art critic, curator and director of the Onde art center, Léo Guy-Denarcy. On this occasion, eight contemporary and brut artists will be presented, one-on-one: Flora Bouteille, Jean-Louis Costes, John Ricardo Cunningham, Thierry Liegeois, Tomasz Machciński, Óscar Morales, Leopold Strobl and Sarah Tritz.
“Several artists have accompanied my discovery and my personal reading of art brut. All of them have guided my vision and allowed me to broaden my horizon as well as my reading of contemporary creation. At the end of my studies, I had the chance to meet the performer and musician Jean-Louis Costes. Not that I was a fan of his work at the time, but it turns out that many young artists were referring to him, between fascination and allusion. So it seemed essential to me to meet the original. A few years later we published together L’Art brutal de Jean-Louis Costes, a form of homage but also of reinterpretation of a “brut” dimension of visual and performative practices. I met Thierry Liégeois’ work shortly afterwards at the Institut d’Art Contemporain de Villeurbanne. We began a rich and constantly renewed dialogue carried by a white trash aesthetic and by the “disturbing strangeness” of his time. The work of Sarah Tritz, discovered during a commission, is entirely carried by a requirement inherent in the History of Art, in its ramifications and its possible interpretations. Finally, I met the work of Flora Bouteille during a residency at the Parc Saint Léger. Her work, between the violence of materials and the radicality of the word, seems to me to update a reading of an art “in ignorance of art”.
The exhibition Endless nameless was born from this meeting between artists of different horizons. Immersing oneself in art brut is like discovering a labyrinthine and mysterious city. We know that we will discover wonders at every corner without being able to know it in its entirety. It is in this fascinating indefinition that the strength of these artistic practices is exercised, as in the multiplicity of the mediums.
Using an invented formula, which consists of matching each letter of the alphabet to a number, Morales creates and designs machines that are both electrical and organic: cells, nuclei, atoms, etc. This Chilean artist, represented by the gallery since 2014, was the subject of a major exhibition in 2018 at the MAVI (Museo de Arte Visuale) in Santiago de Chile. In 2020, a set of his drawings will be exhibited at the Berlin Biennale. Already present in the abcd/Bruno Decharme (France) and Treger Saint Silvestre (Portugal) collections, his work has been reproduced in several publications.
John Ricardo Cunningham
John Ricardo Cunningham is one of the last patients whose works were collected by the famous psychiatrist Honorio Delgado, in Lima. Interned for 32 years, he undertook a kind of geopolitical mapping of the world where the authorities became, by metaphor, austere men with hats, birds with flapping wings or rats holding canes… His narrative but elliptical gouaches seem to make us witnesses of the state of the world. Presented for the first time in 2018 by the gallery, his work is already exhibited at the Pinacothèque d’Hervé Lancelin in Luxembourg.
Attending the Gugging workshop (Austria) for the past ten years, he finds in creation a comfort and redemption, a way to keep his mental demons at bay. His small-format colored pencil drawings, crafted on landscape photographs found in newspapers, are similar to magnetic portals. Graphite contaminates the scenery as if to reveal its strangeness. Present in the collections of the MoMa (New York) since 2018, his work was presented the following year in the exhibition Photo Brut at the Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles.
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 multiple 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). In 2023, he is exhibited at the Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève in Chrysalides: le rêve du papillon.
Text: Léo Guy-Denarcy
Catalog published to mark the exhibition endless nameless, curator : Léo Guy-Denarcy, from September 9 to October, 2 2022 at the bridge by christian berst.