4th Art Brut Biennial: Theatre - November 29, 2019 through August 30, 2020

The fourth Art Brut Biennial invites visitors to further discover the Lausanne museum's wealth of holdings, with an eye to the presence of theatre in Art Brut. Works by a selection of twenty-eight creators are presented through costumes, sculptures, drawings, paintings, photographs and cutouts. These portray various theatrical worlds, be they formal — several by Victorien Sardou come to mind — or contextual, for instance pieces by Helga Goetze. Moreover, the presentation of documents from the museum archival holdings in the form of films, sounds and images adds a further dimension to the selection on display, helping viewers understand the creative process behind the works.

The creators in this show use various theatre codes to build up projects from which they themselves stand to benefit. Several adventure outdoors to find an audience among passersby, who are either intrigued by, or indifferent to these intuitive "performances." Thus, Giovanni Battista Podestà, Vahan Poladian, Dunya Hirschter and Martial Richoz blend theatre venue with public space, using their own bodies as tools of expression and donning self-made outfits and accessories. As such, they grant themselves the right to be in the limelight, reclaiming a part of their life of which they have been robbed by being confined, imprisoned or stigmatized.

This, the fourth edition of our biennials, also presents several creators with whom the public is already familiar, such as Aloïse Corbaz, Adolf Wölfli and Eugen Gabritschevsky, and this in a new light. As the makers and stage directors of their own worlds, these creators define the context, the figures and the characters, the movements, the stage design, the lighting and the acting in their works. Or, more precisely, their drawings and/or paintings contain the theatre, the stage, the curtains, the theater boxes and/or the rows of seats.

Clearly, the theatre is present in a multitude of ways in Art Brut, as the works on display show. Yet, equally, the artistic endeavors of Art Brut creators blend in with their own daily lives. Thus, for instance, Aloïse Corbaz lives side-by-side with the imaginary characters in her drawings. Likewise, to Guy Brunet his cardboard figures are his own children: he could not bear being separated from them. Or again, Morton Bartlett fantasizes his family as an intimate puppet theatre, fiercely defending the latter against any intruders.

Exhibition Curator: Pascale Jeanneret, Museum Curator for the Collection de l'Art Brut

photo credit : Portrait of Giovanni Battista Podestà, Fabuloserie archives, Alain Bourbonnais

The fourth Art Brut Biennial in the medias:
L'art Brut lève le rideau à Lausanne, Florence Millioud-Henriques, 24heures, 2.12.19
Le Théâtre de l'Art Brut, Philippe Godin, La Diagonale de l'Art (blog de Libération), 27.11.19
Brûler les planches,
La Liberté, Aurélie Lebreau, 7.12.2019

Teatri d'Art Brut, Daniele Bernardi, Azione, 30.03.2020

Art Brut: le Théâtre de l'univers, Matthias Sohr, Diagonales, Mars-avril 2020

Practical information


November 28, 2019 - August 30, 2020

Opening reception

Thursday 28 November 2019, 6:30pm


Pascale Jeanneret, Sarah Lombardi and Eric Vautrin, Theatres, Lausanne/ Milan, Collection de l’Art Brut/ 5 Continents Editions, 2019, « Art Brut, la collection », under the direction of Sarah Lombardi, 144 pages, more than 100 colour plates, french or english version. 


  • Family Found : the lifetime obsession of Morton Bartlett/ Une famille retrouvée : l’éternelle obsession de Morton Bartlett, Emily Harris, Londres, Indivisions Films, 2002, 10 min. vo anglaise, sous-titré français 
  • Bandes-annonces [compilation], Guy Brunet, Viviez, Les Studios Paravision, [s.d.], 86 min. 
  • Alekssander Pavlovitch Lobanov, Bruno Decharme, Paris, abcd, 2001, 7 min. 
  • Eirijo Miyama, Philippe Lespinasse et Andress Alvarez, Le Tourne/Lausanne, Lokomotiv Films/Collection de l’Art Brut, 2007, 13 min. 
  • Podestà, Stefan Burckhard, Bâles, Stefan Burckhard, [s.d.], 5 min. 
  • Martial dit l’homme-bus, Michel Etter, Lausanne, Videal Studio, 1983, 18 min. 
  • Monsieur Poladian : en habits de ville, de Jean-Noël Cristiani, Montreuil, Les films de l’homme, 1977, 12 min.
  • Palmerino, Pascale Ferland, Montréal, Pascale Ferland, 2002, 47 min.  

Guided tours

Upon request for groups and classes: in French, German, English.

Press kits

To be downloaded on the "media" page


The exhibition 4th Art Brut Biennial: Theatre is accessible to people with reduced mobility.

Associated event(s)

  • Public opening of the 4th Art Brut Biennale: Theatre - Thursday 28 November 2019, 06:30 pmAll public
  • Visit of the Theater exhibition for teachers - Thursday 16 January 2020, 05:00 pm

    for teachers

  • Young public workshop "L'Art Brut fait son théâtre" - Saturday 18 January 2020, 02:00 pm

    Workshops for children ages 12 to 14 /Duration: 1h45 / Fr. 10.–

  • Free guided tour of the "Theater" exhibition - Saturday 1 February 2020, 02:00 pm
  • Young People's Workshop "L'Art Brut fait son théâtre" - Saturday 7 March 2020, 02:00 pm

    Workshops for children ages 12 to 14 /Duration: 1h45 / Fr. 10.–

  • Free guided tour of the "Theater" exhibition - Saturday 7 March 2020, 04:00 pm