6th Art Brut biennial: Faces - December 8, 2023 through April 28, 2024

The forthcoming Art Brut Biennial (2023–2024) will be devoted to the theme of Faces. As the world emerges from two years of forced mask-wearing, what better way to dig deep into the diverse works held by the Collection de l’Art Brut and to draw attention to the many pieces that put the face front and centre? Our face is what makes us unique. Its features and expressions convey everything about us: body and mind. To deprive us of the face’s demonstrative power, even partially, is to leave us feeling dismembered, as if we’ve lost a part of our humanity.

One way to think about the face is to consider its role in communication. After all, the gaze has a certain potency – we know what happens when two people’s eyes meet, and how children build their sense of self by observing the facial expressions of those whose role is to nurture them.

But the face also serves another, more contradictory purpose: it is the visible surface of what lies hidden inside us. It both reveals and conceals our thoughts, our feelings, our concerns and our emotions.

The face therefore merits exploration through an anthropological lens. For art brut – a form of art whose existence is driven by creative necessity – this exploratory exercise takes on a distinctive character: no matter how socially or culturally marginalised their creators, these works, with their figurative undertones, compel us to look long and hard at what it is that makes us human. These faces – some attentive, questioning, searching or communicative, others blank, vacant or withdrawn – capture the way in which we relate to the world around us, forcing us to question, through a type of mise en abyme, our inherently personal experience of humanity.

Curated by Pascal Roman, professor of clinical psychology, psychopathology and psychoanalysis

Coordinated by Pauline Mack

Accompanying the biennial will be a new volume in the Art Brut, la collection series, published in French and English by 5 Continents Editions (Milan). 

Practical information


December 8, 2023 - April 28, 2024

Evening opening

Thursday, December 7, 2023


The exhibition 6th Art Brut biennial: Faces is accessible to people with reduced mobility.