Pascal Vonlanten - June 14 through October 27, 2024

Pascal Vonlanthen is fascinated by typefaces and textual arrangement, although he cannot read. In copying text from newspapers, magazines and advertising materials, he produces his own, distinctive take on a language whose codes he cannot decipher. Over the course of a decade, he produced an original body of asemic writings – texts with no syntax but invested with immense formal power.

At first glance, Vonlanthen’s writings bear a certain resemblance to the printed texts on which they are based, as if an article were beginning to take shape on the page. But the eye soon stumbles over inverted letters, jumbled numbers, illogical sequences, endless lines without spaces or punctuation, and individual letters reproduced repeatedly and in an increasingly abstract fashion. In contrast to the rigidity of typefaces, Vonlanthen’s calligraphic writings are stacked in columns and flow across the page like waves. His texts seem to be guided by a kind of flock mentality: the form of each letter influences the next, and each line follows the movement of the previous, producing a pattern reminiscent of starling murmurations. In some cases, abstract, cloud-like masses fill the page. In others, his compositions blend letters and images – animals and embryonic forms – such that the text takes on a figurative significance. His works vary markedly in size and execution, from smaller pieces in black or coloured felt pen to larger productions in marker on wrapping paper or cardboard, including one example on an eight-meter roll.

In an age of mass communication and information overload, Vonlanthen’s writings – with their purely visual elegance and quiet poise – have an irresistible appeal that transcends the boundaries of language.

Vonlanthen (b. 1957) grew up in Rossens, a village nestled in the countryside in the Canton of Fribourg. He has attended CREAHM, an art workshop for people with disabilities, since its foundation in 1998. Vonlanthen’s earliest drawings, produced in the first 15 years of his time as an artist, were inspired by life on the family farm. Executed in pencil or pastel, they featured chickens, cows, rabbits, tools and various utensils arranged in rows like characters in a picture book. In 2014, Vonlanthen began to take a more graphical approach to his art.

In 2020 and 2021, the Collection de l’Art Brut acquired nine pieces by Vonlanthen. This exhibition, the first large-scale, solo show of his works, is accompanied by a documentary produced by Philippe Lespinasse. The exhibition also coincides with the publication of Art Brut Fascicle No. 27.

Curated by Teresa Maranzano, art historian

The Pascal Vonlanthen show in the medias

La Liberté, Thierry Raboud, La marge au centre: L’art brut du Fribourgeois Pascal Vonlanthen s’expose à Lausanne, 15 juin 2024
Radio Lac (ATS), Lausanne: l'Art Brut expose deux artistes fascinés par l'écriture, 13 juin 2024

Practical information


June 14, October 27, 2024

Evening opening

Thursday, June 13, 2024, 6:30pm


Art Brut Fascicle No. 27

With articles on Pascal Vonlanthen and Clemens Wild by Teresa Maranzano.

Plus articles on Alphonse Eugène Courson by Alain Renon, Jean Leclercq by Erwin Dejasse, Félix Martin by Olivier Bathelier, Jean-Marie Roussillon by Philippe Lespinasse, Jane Ruffié by Paul Ruffié, and Rolf Spiller by Delphine Bovey.

International symposium
“Disability art studios: new sources for Art Brut?”

Monday, September 30, 2024 

Guided tours

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

Press Kit

To be downloaded on the media page


The exhibition Pascal Vonlanten is accessible to people with reduced mobility.

Associated event(s)

  • Opening of the "Pascal Vonlanthen" show - Thursday 13 June 2024, 06:30 pm
  • Free guided tour of the "Pascal Vonlanthen" show - Saturday 22 June 2024, 02:30 pm

    By Teresa Maranzano, curator
    booking via the online ticket shop 

  • Free guided tour of the "Pascal Vonlanthen" show for teachers - Tuesday 3 September 2024, 06:00 pm

    Par Sophie Clément, médiatrice culturelle à la Collection de l'Art Brut

    Inscription via la billetterie online du musée

  • Free guided tour of the "Pascal Vonlanthen" exhibition - Sunday 27 October 2024, 02:30 pm

    Visit for the general public, adapted for the visually impaired

    By Mali Genest, cultural mediator at the Collection de l'Art Brut

    Guided tour free, museum entrance fee payable

    Booking via the online ticket shop

  • Musical poetry performance by Fribourg-based artist Michel Terrapon - Sunday 27 October 2024, 03:30 pm

    To coincide with the closure of the exhibitions

    Free entry, no booking