Art Brut from the Canton of Fribourg - February 6 through October 18, 2009

Art Brut from the Canton of Fribourg
Are Art Brut works always free of influences? Do their creators lack any source of inspiration whatsoever?
The present exhibition seeks to trace cultural genealogies and to pinpoint potential connections between Art Brut and religious, folk or ethnographic art.
As a region of Switzerland sidelined by the Industrial Revolution, and whose population in the main remained agricultural until the mid-20th century, the Canton of Fribourg is particularly well-suited to such research. During the Reformation, Catholicism held tight sway, while encouraging the development of highly festive and spectacular religious rites (devout gatherings, processions). The pervasive presence of the immaterial, the invisible and the miraculous expanded everyday life to include a spiritual dimension. Often, these local particularities have been stigmatized as archaic and backward, yet it is they that enabled the survival of a strong identity-awareness and the preservation of a rich cultural heritage. The region’s keeping to itself was also conducive to the rise of visionary and frenzied creations.
Presented here are over 130 works by some 20 Canton of Fribourg Art Brut authors; these include Marc Moret, Lydie Thorimbert, Maurice Dumoulin, Gaston Savoy, Gaspard Corpataux, Pierre Garbani and Eugénie Nogarède. Discovered only recently, most of the sculptures, paintings, drawings and writings have never been exhibited. Interplay exists between these singular creations and those in the vein of religious tradition or folk art, such as reliquaries, ex votos and poyas. There are veiled connections among the pieces, be it in the choice of subjects, the techniques or the work processes. The Collection de l’Art Brut invites viewers to judge for themselves.

Visitors can also visualize the life of several of the authors of the works, thanks to photographs by Mario del Curto, as well as two documentary films: a Parti de l’Art Brut and LoKomotiv Films co-production by Philippe Lespinasse and Andress Alvarez, and a Parti de l’Art Brut production by Julien Magnin and Philippe Lespinasse.

Featuring some sixty colour plates, a number of photographic portraits, and essays by several authors from different backgrounds, the catalogue is co-published by the Collection de l’Art Brut and the Fribourg publishers La Sarine.

Practical Information


February 6 to October 18, 2009
Opening reception Thursday 5 February 2009, 18:30


Lucienne Peiry

Exhibition Catalogue

Art Brut fribourgeois, Collection de l’Art Brut/Editions La Sarine, Lausanne/Fribourg, 136 pages and 62 images,
Publication date 2009

Documentary films

  • Les reliquaires acérés de Marc Moret by Philippe Lespinasse and Andress Alvarez, 2008, 30’, Parti de l’Art Brut/LoKomotiv Films Lausanne/Le Tourne with the generous support of the Loterie Romande
  • La grotte à Maurice, by Julien Magnin and Philippe Lespinasse, 2008, 7’, Parti de l’Art Brut, Lausanne, with the generous support of the Loterie Romande


The exhibition Art Brut from the Canton of Fribourg is not accessible to people with reduced mobility.