Art Brut in the 21st Century
A lecture by Barbara Safarova (abcd collection, Paris)
Zdenek Kosek, no title, courtesy of abcd Collection, Paris
We would like to invite you to a lecture by one of the best researchers of art brut/outsider art. Barbara Safarova will talk about the contemporary world of outsider art, the most important collections and the connections between outsider art and modern art.
“Art brut is art brut and everyone has understood. Not quite well? Of course, that is why we are just curious to go and see.”
The concept of art brut was born in 1945, in a Europe devastated by World War II, which had transformed the ideals of progress and humanism into a genocidal impulse.Today, times have changed; in light of the considerable expansion of the corpus of art brut, Dubuffet’s thinking has today become a source of legitimate questions. Where is the boundary between “cultural art” and art brut? Many “professional” artists today do not hide the fact that they are self-taught. Conversely, some artists associated with art brut have had academic education. Furthermore, why did Dubuffet initially exclude non-Western creators of art brut? And how should we consider works produced in workshops for the mentally disabled that have nothing to do with the notion of clandestine production or artists’ rebellion against and rejection of society? And what is behind the recent renewal of interest in these works? Has the inclusion of art brut in mainstream art exhibitions fundamentally changed the way institutions look at these works? While art brut seems to bring some fresh air to centuries of convention and obscurantism, it nevertheless remains a black hole, with no possibility of clearly establishing its borders. But this is precisely what defines its strength and originality.
Barbara Safarova is the director of abcd collection in Paris, head of the art brut program at the Collège International de Philosophie, author of numerous publications and producer of documentaries on art brut.
The abcd collection association (art brut connaissance & diffusion) was created in 1999 in Paris by Bruno Decharme, as part of the filmmaker and collector's international project to make his art brut collection available. The association works abroad thanks to its branch in Prague (established in 2002) and by organizing numerous international exhibitions. In 2004 the abcd association opened an exhibition space in Paris - abcd, la galerie. The association brings together representatives of different disciplines: writers, philosophers, psychiatrists, historians, artists and enthusiasts.
The work of this team of experts results in publications, films and exhibitions.