L'Envers et l'Endroit - June 8, 2007 through January 27, 2008

L'Envers et l'Endroit
Embroidery, sewing, tapestry, knitting, lace-making, crochet. The various types of needlework, activities traditionally allotted to women, subjugated them to a model to follow, a framework, a so aptly named pattern. Pledged to these domestic tasks, they sacrificed their independence of spirit and their creative freedom for them.

Jeanne Tripier, Madge Gill, Agnès Richter and Rosa Zharkikh explode these ancestral principles and indeed seem to contest this subservience through their bold, prodigious creations. Astonishing finery, embroidered life stories, magical fetishes, poetic tangles: Art Brut creators give substance to the daydreams that they evoke between transparency and opaqueness. In the manner of Adolf Wölfli, who, in his music scores, invented his own rudimentary musical notations, Judith Scott, Juliette Bataille, Yumiko Kawai and Jules Leclercq devise stitches, knots, lacings or weavings, sometimes in a sense of refinement, sometimes in a rage. Embroidery, sewing and knitting represent so many ritual actions – favouring roving thoughts – thanks to which they move away from reality and allow their fantasies to unfold. As such, Marguerite Sirvins’ wedding dress, created for an improbable wedding day using threads drawn from her bed sheets, is emblematic.

The venture takes them back in time since it revives the medieval era when textile works were considered a major art, reserved for men, exalting great feats in the fields of religion, war and politics. For their part, Art Brut creators reach the open, weave cloth and web to attain the vertiginous, dreamlike territories of the mind. They reveal the wrong side and the right side of existence.

The exhibition brings together some thirty artists from Armenia, Russia, Belgium, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, Great Britain and the Czech Republic as well as Japan, Australia, the USA and South America. The works come from the Collection de l’Art Brut or from private and public collections. We are grateful to lenders who have agreed to part temporarily with fragile pieces.

Several documentary films will be presented in the galleries to allow the public to find out about the artists and the places where they live (or lived) and create.

Practical Information


June 8, 2007 to January 21, 2008
Opening ceremony Thursday June 7, 2008


Lucienne Peiry

Film / DVD

  • Trésors cachés. L’énigme Angus McPhee, de Nick Higgins, 25 min., Lansdowne Productions, 2004.
  • Jacques Trovic, de Jean-Michel Zazzi, 55 min., Nice, 2001.
  • Les cocons magiques de Judith Scott, de Philippe Lespinasse, 37 min., Lausanne/Bordeaux, Collection de l’Art Brut/Lokomotiv Films, 2006.
  • Monsieur Poladian : en habits de ville, de Jean-Noël Cristiani, 13 min., Les films de l’homme, AATON, SERDDAV.


The exhibition L'Envers et l'Endroit is not accessible to people with reduced mobility.