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ART SEEN - Jean Dubuffet

Mid Morning Mix // Art & Culture // April 20, 2016

Our very own local artist in residence Uli Van Neyghem has been to visit two different exhibitions based around famous French painter Jean Dubuffet; one focussing on his own work, and the other are his personal art collection that he has donated to the museum. Both are open to the public at the moment. 

ART SEEN - Jean Dubuffet

Uli joined Katt on the Mid Morning Mix to tell her what made the comparison of these two exhibitions so special.

L'Art Brut de Jean Dubuffetat the Musée de l'Art Brut Lausanne

Rather than showing works by Jean Dubuffet himself, the Museum in Lausanne features 150 Art Brut works collected by Jean Dubuffet and later donated to the museum.

This exhibition provided wonderful insights into what inspired and fascinated Jean Dubuffet such as folk art collected during his travels, pieces of art done by patients in mental asylums or prisons, children's drawings and naive art. They all have in common that they are pure expressions of individuality, spontaneous and undiluted. The artists are self-taught creators outside the mainstream and formal art norms and values.

For Jean Dubuffet the works that he unearthed from the fringes of society, presented an inspiring alternative to the dominant art culture, which he found "suffocating".

The museum boasts the largest collection of Art Brut in the world. Apart from the Jean Dubuffet collection there is a multitude of other pieces to discover (often made out of everyday objects, like the works done by Gaston Teuscher who started painting at a very old age and created his pieces of art on restaurant serviettes, the metal paper of cigarette packets and apart from pen and pencil used coffee stains, tobacco juice and ash, as well as wine stains for effects).

Jean Dubuffet Retrospective at the Fondation Beyeler in Basel

The comprehensive retrospective with more than a 100 works of Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985) impressively demonstrates how stimulated by the work of artists on the margins of society, Dubuffet succeeded in liberating himself from traditions in formal art and thereby reinventing it. His influence can still be felt today in contemporary and street art, for example in the work of Basquiat or Keith Haring.

The exhibition looks specifically at his interpretation of landscapes, which in his work can transform into bodies, faces or objects. Freeing himself from traditions and norms he kept on experimenting with new techniques and materials, such as sponges and collage, using sand, mud, leaves, tree bark or even butterfly wings. He was one if the first artists to incorporate words, experimented with sculptures and paper mache.

One of the center pieces of the exhibition is the spectacular Coucou Bazaar, a multimedia work that combined sculpture, painting, theatre, dance and music. It consists of more than 60 pieces of costumes and pieces of set. During the performance, the costumed figures continuously interacted with each other and with the scenery. For conservation reasons, unfortunately the Coucou Bazaar can no longer be enacted in it's entirety. However, in order to give your imagination a boost, two of the Coucou Bazaar characters are brought to life by professional performers.

The huge retrospective shown in the Fondation Beyeler clearly reflects the unique and special relationship Ernst Beyeler had with the artist. Deeply impressed by Jean Dubuffet's art,  the galerist and collector forged a lifelong close collaboration with the artist which led to the signing of an exclusive agreement.

Do not miss this exhibition it is only on until May 8. As sort of an "encore", the beautiful showrooms contain works by other famous artists like Cézanne, Picasso, Rothko, only to name a few.


L'Art Brut de Jean Dubuffet (until August 28 2016)
Musée de l'Art Brut Lausanne
Open Tuesdays-Sundays
Adults: CHF 10
Kids until 16 free

Jean Dubuffet Retrospective (until May 8 2016)
Fondation Beyeler in Basel
Open 365 days of the year
Adults: CHF 25
Children: under 10 free/ age 11-19 CHF 6/ Students CHF 12
Family pass (two adults and up to 4 children CHF 50)

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