Michel Nedjar - June 9 through October 29, 2023

Michel Nedjar's first monographic exhibition at the Collection de l'Art Brut highlights the vast output of an artist whose works were introduced to the museum by Jean Dubuffet in 1981. The collection has since been enriched by generous donations from the artist, as well as by recent acquisitions.

The term “Art Brut” is now too restrictive to define Nedjar's oeuvre, which has long been a feature of museums worldwide. Nonetheless, it was through Art Brut that everything began for him. In 1969, after seeing a reproduction of a drawing by Aloïse Corbaz in an encyclopaedia of painting, he decided – with no formal training – to follow his own artistic path.

For a long time it was mainly the dolls from his Chairdâmes (“Flesh of the soul”) series that featured at the Collection de l'Art Brut, but this latest exhibition reveals the richness and diversity of a career spanning almost fifty years. It begins with an immersion into the artist's universe via these Chairdâmes, created from 1978 onwards using rags and recycled materials soaked in dye, mud and sometimes blood. For the most part chronological, the exhibition continues with dolls from other series, as well as drawings in pencil, chalk, acrylic and wax – Nedjar's other habitual tools. A tailor by trade, like his father, he works with shmatte and needle. This is the case for example in the Poupées coudrées (“Sewn dolls”) series and more recently in the Objets coudrés (“Sewn objects”) or the Coudrages, where assemblages of printed images, miscellaneous leaflets, photographs and packaging that he hoards are sewn onto fabric or paper.

The exhibition also features a much lesser-known facet of his work, in the form of a presentation of experimental films he has directed. This type of cinema has played a key role in his life and work.

The presentation is supplemented by Mario Del Curto's photographs of the artist in his work cum living space, together with the documentary Les chantiers interdits de Michel Nedjar (“Michel Nedjar's forbidden worksites”), directed by Isabelle Filleul de Brohy.

Our warm thanks go to Michel Nedjar and Marcus Eager for their decisive collaboration on this project, as well as for their generous loans and donations. We would also like to thank the LaM (Lille Métropole Musée d'art moderne, d'art contemporain et d'art brut) and the Centre Pompidou, Paris, for their loans.

Curator: Anic Zanzi, curator at the Collection de l’Art Brut

The Michel Nedjar show in the medias:

RSI, Lou Lepori, La Collection de l'Art Brut ommagia Michel Nedjar, 9 juin 2023
Le photoblog de Renaud Monfourny (Les Inrocks), Michel Nedjar, 30 juin 2023
24heures, Florence Millioud, Nedjar, si habité en son théâtre de poupées, 8 juillet 2023
Artension, Marie Girault, Michel Nedjar, "tout est poupée!", juillet 2023
Textile Art Forum Schweiz, Christine Läubli, Michel Nedjar, 1er août 2023
Artpress, Claire Margat, Michel Nedjar, septembre 2023
Brut Journal, Edward M. Gómez, Darkness Into The Light: The Art Of Michel Nedjar, september 2023
La Liberté, Aurélie Lebreau, "Emballer pour mieux avancer", 30 september 2023
RTS, Vertigo, Florence Grivel, "Poupée de cire, poupée de sang", 9 october 2023

Practical information


June 9, 2023 - October 29, 2023

Evening opening

Thursday, June 8, 2023, 6:30pm


Michel Nedjar, texts by Sarah Lombardi, Anic Zanzi, Margot Laeser, Lausanne/ Milan, Collection de l’Art Brut/ 5 Continents Editions, 2023.

Guided tours

Upon request for groups and classes: in French, German, English.

Press Kit

To be downloaded on the media page

Documentary film shown in the exhibition

"Les chantiers interdits de Michel Nedjar"

Film directed by Isabelle Filleul de Brohy for the musée d'art et d'histoire du Judaïsme, Paris. 

© 2016 - fondation Pro mahJ - mahJ - IFB Productions


The exhibition Michel Nedjar is accessible to people with reduced mobility.

Associated event(s)