New edition of "L'Art Brut" by Michel Thévoz

15.03.2016 - recherche

Nowadays, art brut is firmly entrenched in art history: the collection that Jean Dubuffet initiated, housed in Lausanne since 1976, has impacted far and wide.  Around the globe, museums, collections and publications continue to spring up, devoting themselves to art by persons on the fringes of society and/or spiritualists, whether such creators be confined to a psychiatric institution or not.

Clearly, a new edition was called for: the original benchmark book by Michel Thévoz, with a preface by Jean Dubuffet, was published forty years ago. Entitled L'Art Brut, the work presents the "historical" and emblematic creators of that first collection. It also broaches such fundamental issues as the sociological, psychoanalytical and aesthetic implications of art brut. The basis of his argument resides with Michel Foucault's postulate that the truth of a society hinges not on what it shows but on what is expressed by those it excludes. In his view, art brut represents the resurgence of all that our culture represses.

Indubitably, the arrival of art brut on the scene has changed our vision of art in general. Moreover, the various new examples of art brut discovered over the last few decades have opened new vistas. In a postface to the new edition, Michel Thévoz takes stock of all that validates or invalidates his initial hypotheses, while mapping out the ongoing twists and turns of creations in the permanent throes of revolution.