Ecriture en délire - February 12 through September 26, 2004

Ecriture en délire
The many authors assembled in this sweeping exhibition are unlettered persons who — deliberately or not — pay no heed to any of the models or rules of language. Whether psychiatric patients, mediums or outsiders, none of them have anything to do with the literary institution. Their approach to writing is totally offhand, inventive in a disinterested and disrespectful spirit. Subversively, each applies him- or herself to detaching syntax, spelling and the very letters of the alphabet from their conventional moorings, setting them erratically adrift.
Take Walla, Carlo, Hodinos, and Lecoq — they are like intruders, thieves or troublemakers targeting the proprieties of the art of writing. Hidden senses, graphic mazes and misappropriated semantics and script abound.
The first section of the show features asylum texts culled from various psychiatric institutions in Switzerland and abroad. These form a singular library generously stocked with epistolary writings, appeals and inscrutable scribbles. The second section groups drawings, paintings and embroideries that combine word with image. In these plays on writing, words are handled with an eye to revealing their magic substances in all their unforeseeable consequences.
Écriture en délire is a temporary show comprising some 150 works, for the most part belonging to the Collection de l’Art Brut. The rest have been graciously loaned us by various public and private collections such as the American Folk Art Museum of New York and the Waldau Museum on the outskirts of Bern. Of the numerous texts on display, most were written between 1900 and now, but a few date back to the end of the 19th century and thus represent historic Art Brut pieces. Visitors are invited to read, contemplate and listen to them while they are on display at the Collection de l’Art Brut.
Lausanne’s Institut universitaire romand d’histoire de la médecine et de la santé helped in researching, analyzing and writing up the material for this exhibition. Various public and private collections were kind enough to contribute a number of works on loan.

Two stage plays are being put on in conjunction with the exhibition, in collaboration with the Lausanne theaters Arsenic and Théâtre de Vidy.
  • À ma personnagité, Based on texts by Art Brut authors, Directed by Geneviève Pasquier, Venue: Arsenic (Lausanne), February 12–29, 2004; Venue: Théâtre du Pommier (Neuchâtel), April 22-23, 2004; Venue: Théâtre Saint-Gervais (Geneva), April 27–May 16, 2004.
  • La Demoiselle dite Chien Sale, Based on texts compiled by Laurent Danon Boileau, Directed by Anne Benoît, Venue: Collection de l’Art Brut, June 1-6, 2004; Venue: Théâtre de Vidy-Lausanne, June 8-20, 2004

Practical Information


12 February to 5 September 2004
Opening reception Wednesday 11 February 2004, 6:30 pm


Lucienne Peiry

Exhibition catalogue

Maria A. Azzola, Yukiko Koide, John M. MacGregor, Lise Maurer, Leo Navratil, Lucienne Peiry, Jacqueline Porret-Forel, Guy Roux et Michel Thévoz, Ecriture en délire, Collection de l’Art Brut/Editions 5 Continents, Lausanne/Milan, 2004.


The exhibition Ecriture en délire is not accessible to people with reduced mobility.