Judith Scott - October 13, 2001 through February 3, 2002

Judith Scott

Judith Scott’s fiber sculptures are disturbing in more ways than one. They bring to mind giant, multicolored cocoons; better still, they are akin to fetishes imbued with magical properties, to spell-casting dolls. Indeed, her pieces seem to possess the power of life or death or, at the least, to contain a painstakingly concealed secret.

Judith Scott was wont to snap up a great variety of objects - a fan, an umbrella, bits and pieces of plastic or polystyrene - to serve as the core of every creation. Having gathered and tightly assembled the various objects, she would surround, envelope and wrap them with threads, strings, ropes and different fibers, in order to thoroughly protect and mask the piece’s central body. During this several-months-long creative process, a sculpture would come into being - a large-size (sometimes over two meters or 7 feet high) piece taking on a non-figurative, organic or anthropomorphic shape. This repetitive, insistent and obsessive superposing of threads implies a double process of at once concealment and growth. Traditionally, weaving, embroidery and sewing are assigned to women; these mediums require patience and attention to minute detail in following a pattern, implying that any creative and imaginative aspects are to be renounced. To the contrary, Judith Scott’s approach to them was offhand and even somewhat insolent. Once she completed a piece, she would lose all interest in it; impatiently, she would turn to the next one.

Judith Scott was born in Cincinnati (OH) in 1943. Although afflicted by Down’s Syndrome, she spent her first years in her family, where she was particularly close to her twin sister Joyce. Upon being diagnosed as incapable of following any specialized schooling, Judith was brutally cut off from her family and, at the same time, deprived of any educational or artistic surroundings. She spent thirty-five years in institutions, experiencing conditions akin to confinement. Having been named Judith’s official guardian in 1986, Joyce brought her twin sister back to live with her in California. At this point Judith had at last found appropriate surroundings: she joined the Oakland (CA) Creative Growth Art Center and, aged 44, spontaneously set about creating. Lacking speech and hearing, sculpture became her sole means of expression.

A monograph on Judith Scott in English was drawn up by John M. MacGregor (Metamorphosis, The Fiber Art of Judith Scott, Hong Kong, Creative Growth Art Center, 1999). We extend our gratitude to the Creative Growth Center for their gift of five works to the Collection de l’Art Brut, and for having granted us access to the artist’s creation previously exhibited in Oakland, Chicago, New York and Tokyo.

Practical Information


From October 13, 2001, to February 3, 2002
Vernissage on October 12, 2001, at 6 pm


Lucienne Peiry

Exhibition Book

Film / DVD


Free Guided Tour





The exhibition Judith Scott is not accessible to people with reduced mobility.