Collection de l'Art Brut opens the fourth Art Brut Biennial

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Collection de l'Art Brut opens the fourth Art Brut Biennial
Berthe Coulon, Foule vert foncé, 1970. Oil on cardboard, 80 x 105,5 cm. Photo: AN – Collection de l’Art Brut, Lausanne.

LAUSANNE.- The fourth Art Brut Biennial invites visitors to further discover the Lausanne museum's wealth of holdings, with an eye to the presence of theatre in Art Brut. Works by a selection of twenty-eight creators are presented through costumes, sculptures, drawings, paintings, photographs and cutouts. These portray various theatrical worlds, be they formal — several by Victorien Sardou come to mind — or contextual, for instance pieces by Helga Goetze. Moreover, the presentation of documents from the museum archival holdings in the form of films, sounds and images adds a further dimension to the selection on display, helping viewers understand the creative process behind the works.

The creators in this show use various theatre codes to build up projects from which they themselves stand to benefit. Several adventure outdoors to find an audience among passersby, who are either intrigued by, or indifferent to these intuitive "performances." Thus, Giovanni Battista Podestà, Vahan Poladian, Dunya Hirschter and Martial Richoz blend theatre venue with public space, using their own bodies as tools of expression and donning self-made outfits and accessories. As such, they grant themselves the right to be in the limelight, reclaiming a part of their life of which they have been robbed by being confined, imprisoned or stigmatized.

This, the fourth edition of our biennials, also presents several creators with whom the public is already familiar, such as Aloïse Corbaz, Adolf Wölfli and Eugen Gabritschevsky, and this in a new light. As the makers and stage directors of their own worlds, these creators define the context, the figures and the characters, the movements, the stage design, the lighting and the acting in their works. Or, more precisely, their drawings and/or paintings contain the theatre, the stage, the curtains, the theater boxes and/or the rows of seats.

Clearly, the theatre is present in a multitude of ways in Art Brut, as the works on display show. Yet, equally, the artistic endeavors of Art Brut creators blend in with their own daily lives. Thus, for instance, Aloïse Corbaz lives side-by-side with the imaginary characters in her drawings. Likewise, to Guy Brunet his cardboard figures are his own children: he could not bear being separated from them. Or again, Morton Bartlett fantasizes his family as an intimate puppet theatre, fiercely defending the latter against any intruders.

Exhibition Curator: Pascale Jeanneret, Museum Curator for the Collection de l'Art Brut

This exhibition is accompanied by the fourth volume in our "Art Brut, la collection" publication series, namely "Theatre". The resulting catalog provides viewers with different perspectives on the subject of theatre in Art Brut. Two separate editions (resp. English and French) are available to visitors.

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