december 9999George Widener
december 9999, 2004
ink on paper towels
26,5 x 17,2 cm
Collection de l’Art Brut, Lausanne
Widener, Georges (1962), USA
BiographyGeorge Widener (b. 1962) was born in Covington, Kentucky, USA. His father died when the boy was nine and his mother was confined as a result of alcoholism problems. At the age of twelve, the adolescent was placed with his grandparents, then with his aunt. He later attended a specialised school where he displayed a very particular aptitude at arithmetic and drawing. He likewise showed a great capacity for using his memory and had a gift for mental arithmetic. In 1979 George Widener joined the US Air Force as a technician. During his spare time he devoted himself to drawing. Subsequently, his unstable psychological state forced him to make sundry stays in psychiatric institutions where he was declared to be schizophrenic, depressive and autistic. He suffers from a specific form of autism characterised by an extremely large intellectual capacity. Today he lives in Asheville, North Carolina, where he continues his artistic output.
George Widener’s works are presented in the form of calendars, diagrams, inventories, graphs and tables of calculations filled with figures, letters and symbols of mysterious content. They often refer to historical facts, generally catastrophes, like the sinking of the Titanic, but also to telephone numbers or registration plates. He uses ink with, as support, paper napkins that he glues over one another to obtain superimposed layers. His works illustrate the intense mental activity to which the artist devotes himself every day.
Exhibition(s) at the Art Brut Collection