extracted from Jean Dubuffet "L’art brut préféré aux arts culturels", Galerie René Drouin, Paris, 1949.
this [Art Brut] we mean pieces of work executed by people untouched by
artistic culture, in which therefore mimicry, contrary to what happens
in intellectuals, plays little or no part, so that their authors draw
everything (subjects, choice of materials employed, means of
transposition, rhythms, ways of writing, etc.) from their own depths and
not from clichés of classical art or art that is fashionable. Here we
are witnessing an artistic operation that is completely pure, raw,
reinvented in all its phases by its author, based solely on his own
impulses. Art, therefore, in which is manifested the sole function of
invention, and not those, constantly seen in cultural art, of the
chameleon and the monkey.
extracted from Michel Thévoz "Art brut, psychose et médiumnité", Editions de la Différence, Paris, 1990, pp. 34-35.
The authors of Art Brut are dropouts resistant to educational training and cultural conditioning, taking refuge in an attitude of mind that rebels against all norms and collective values. They wish to take nothing from culture and they wish to contribute nothing to it. They do not aspire to communicate, at least not according to the market and publicity procedures appropriate to the system of diffusion of art. These are in every respect refusers and autistics. Art Brut presents corresponding formal traits: the works are, in their conception and their technique, broadly untouched by influences from artistic tradition or context. They apply never previously used materials, know-how and principles of figuration, invented by their creators and foreign to the instituted figurative idiom. In the majority of cases, these social and stylistic characteristics combine and are magnified by the echo: deviancy encourages singularity of expression and this in turn accentuates the isolation of the creator and his autism, to the extent that, as he gradually becomes engaged in his imaginary enterprise, the creator escapes from the field of cultural attraction and from mental norms.
The work is thus envisaged by its author as a hallucinatory support; and certainly it is of madness that we need to speak, even if the term is exempted from its pathological connotations. The creative process is triggered off as unpredictably as a psychotic episode, articulating itself according to its own logic, like an invented language. Moreover, when authors of Art Brut express themselves in writing, it is by adapting the grammar and spelling to their turn of mind. This is creation that is impulsive, often circumscribed in terms of time, or sporadic, which does not obey any demand, which resists any communicative prompting, which perhaps even finds its motivation in frustrating the expectations of others.