Frédéric Bruly Bouabré

  • In the words of Frédéric Bruly Bouabré (born circa 1921), his copious oeuvre is the fruit of a celestial vision he ex-perienced in Dakar some sixty years ago, an event that illuminated his life. This native of the Ivory Coast—at once poet, draughtsman, storyteller and thinker—is the inventor of an ingenious alphabet built up from his language, Bété. It is a system that, encompassing 449 pictograms corres-ponding to separate syllables, enables him to record the languages of the entire world.
    In pursuing this universalistic approach, Bruly Bouabré also carries out a philosophic and poetic quest. He has under-taken to classify a multitude of scarifications, recording countless marks from banana peels, orange skins, cola nuts or cloud shapes—all of which, to his mind, explain the world. These he still continues to transcribe today, in Abidjan (Ivory Coast), at the advanced age of eighty-eight.
    The works that Frédéric Bruly Bouabré produces with a great economy of means go to the heart of the matter. Working with a ballpoint pen and coloured pencils, he applies his synthetic style to paperboard sheets that are mostly postcard-size. The resulting pieces combine writing and drawing, word and image, achieving an at once edifying and spiritual dimension.
    The Collection de l’Art Brut is most grateful to Jean Pigozzi for his loans (CAAC – the Pigozzi Collection, Geneva), and to André Magnin and Marie-Odile Vaudou.
  • Practical Information


    March 5 to August 22, 2010
    Opening reception Thursday March 4, 2010, 18:30


    Lucienne Peiry
    Coordinators: Sarah Lombardi, Magali Junet

    Documentary films

    Ataa Oko et les esprits & L’alphabet de Frédéric Bruly Bouabré
    By Philippe Lespinasse and Andress Alvarez, 2009, 30’ & 20’, French, Parti de l’Art Brut/LoKomotiv Films Lausanne/Le Tourne.