Wey, Aloïs

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  • Portrait d'Alois Wey

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Alois Wey untitled, between 1977 and 1978 coloured pencil and gold and silver peint on paper 50 x 58 cm © photo credit Collection de l’Art Brut, Lausanne

Author

Wey, Aloïs , (1894 – 1985), Switzerland

Biography

Born in Murg, in the canton of Saint- Gall, Switzerland, Aloïs Wey (1894– 1985) is the eldest of seven children. When he was fourteen, he left school to work with his father and then found a job in a factory. During the recession in the 1930s, Wey worked variously as a mason, electrician, miner, farmhand, and assistant chef. He did not retire until he was seventy- seven, when he moved to an old people’s home near Saint Gall. About ten years later, bored and lonely, he took up drawing, which he continued to practice assiduously until his death.
Wey’s drawings represent imaginary buildings and churches, shown from the front and covering most of the paper. Architectural designs reminiscent of palaces or basilicas are systematically set against a mountain range. They are ornately decorated with big gates and geometrical patterns, preferably in bright colours, gold, and silver. The extravagance of these structures contrasts with the simplicity of the small buildings in the background, suggesting farms or houses. Wey seems to have appropriated and reinvented the familiar environment of his homeland, a rural mountainous region that he left only once in his entire life.

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