The New World - September 6, 2002 through January 19, 2003

The New World

The discovery of a piece entitled Le Nouveau Monde spurred the Collection de l’Art Brut’s latest eponymous exhibition. To construct this maze-like architectural work central to the show, Francesco Toris availed himself exclusively of whittled and carved cattle bones.

The young Italian carabiniere (1863-1918), committed to the Turin Psychiatric Hospital at the age of thirty-three, finely chiseled a great number of elements: human figures, idols, imaginary animals, staircases, doors, and different motifs embellished with flowers, letters or numbers. He assembled the delicate works by stacking and fitting parts into each other, without the any link, nails or glue. Sitting on three wheels, the fanciful construction can be moved about. Eschewing any preliminary drafts or drawings, this entirely self-taught creator spent five years (from 1899 to 1905) diligently applying himself to the piece.

Like a demiurge, Toris fashioned a whole new universe, a utopian cosmogony, thanks to the animal bones that he transformed into actual relics.

We gratefully acknowledge the loan of this piece to us from the holdings of the University of Turin’s Institute of Anthropology.

Featured as well are four creators of a new world in the same vein as Francesco Toris. We are pleased to present the diagrams that Red Cross founder Henry Dunant (1828-1910) drew up in his reclusive later years: these lend his prophesies an apocalyptic dimension. Similar cosmogonist verve also inhabits the philosophical garden of Armand Schulthess (1901-1972), the pandemonium by August Walla (1936-2001) and a fabulous imaginary trip around the world described in words and images by Adolf Wölfli (1864-1930).

Practical Information


From September 6, 2002, to January 19, 2003

Vernissage on September 5, 2002, at 6.5 pm


Lucienne Peiry

Exhibition Book

Maria Teresa Dolfin, Michel Kocher, Philippe Matthez, Lucienne Peiry, Michel Thévoz, Le Nouveau Monde, Lausanne, Collection de l'Art Brut, 2002.

Film / DVD


Free Guided Tour





The exhibition The New World is not accessible to people with reduced mobility.