Jean Dubuffet argued that for artists of Art brut, “imitation, contrary to what happens to intellectuals, has little or no importance;
Why they extract everything (themes, choice of materials, means of transcription, rhythms, shapes, etc.) from their mind, and not from the stereotypes of classical or fashion art. Thus we are witnessing a pure, brute artistic operation, which the author reinvents in all phases and starts from the mere impulses “. Dubuffet was in fact the first Art brut collector – a 5000 piece treasure held at the Lausanne Museum. Several enlightened psychiatrists followed, who began to observe the creations of their patients with artistic attention.
The main collection is undoubtedly that of the Austrian physician Hans Prinzhorn, which brings together the work of over three hundred internees in various nosocomiums in Europe. The Prinzhorn collection influenced artists like Paul Klee and surrealists like Max Ernst. He would suggest those who wanted to overcome rational rigidity, leaving the unconscious to control the pictorial gesture.
Today the Art brut is merged in the ‘ Outside Art , which refers to all the artistic productions that are born at the edge of the official cultural system, to all those artists independent of the labels of criticism – a condition now common not only to those living with a disease mental. An art that reflects on the most precarious existential conditions and on social struggles through divergent visions.
The exhibition we are offering, L’art irreductible, curated by Mery Cuesta, takes place in the impressive setting of the former Barcelona prison of La Modelo and the Hagar Gaudí of Mataró.
The works of José Martín Melendes stand out, with winged and anthropomorphic characters, with a beak from which they seem to inoculate a whitish liquid in a jar, but also the works of Jean Budz: for example the great Sortie non indiquée of ’75 with the huge central figure composed of layers and layers of painted and folded paper up to give deformed and pulsating consistency to the meat. Also present are the paintings by the Catalan surrealist Àngel Planells, by Jaume Casanovas (with his lyric curtains from 2013) and by the famous Miquel Barceló: a remarkable self-portrait and a drawing of a spirited cow. There are also several anonymous artists, inquadrernati in nightmares of mouths from which come out hands or strange animals. Enigmatic marine scenes, actions of struggle and flights of men-fish, works that boast an humoral use of color, often reduced alpura pigment.
Among the few to deal with this type of research in Italy there are the gallery Isarte of Milan, the critic Francesco Porzio and Rizomi Arte of Parma.
Among the historicized Italian artists we distinguish two fundamental figures, although both disappeared in psychiatric hospitals and forgotten, authors such as Davide Mansueto Raggio and Claudio Costa – which is coming out a catalog raisonné of unpublished works for Edb Milan.
Art does not need the traps and categories of criticism, theories, paraphrases or reductive explanations. It can do without logic and perfectly communicate its concerns, with the peace of the academy, which often avant-gardes prefers the most algid and commercial operations.