Flammarion. Apr. 2020. 322p. ISBN 9782080204325. $55. FINE ARTS
This publication accompanies an exhibition of the same title, which debuted in France and was scheduled next for the American Folk Art Museum. Most of the photographs and photomontages are from the collection of Bruno Decharme (founder, Art Brut Connaissance & Diffusion) and represent the work of self-taught artists who align with Jean Dubuffet’s definition of art brut, or outsider art. Many are from marginalized communities, such as the mentally ill, and are often poor and isolated. Brief introductory essays examine the medium of photography and photographic reproduction as a subset of art brut. The artworks are then divided into four themes: privacy and intimacy, found image and collage, self-portraiture and performance, and spirit photography. This catalog is global in scope and includes well-known outsider artists, such as Morton Bartlett, Henry Darger, and Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, as well as little-known and emerging artists. A short biography and a few artworks showcase each artist. The images are well reproduced and in color, where applicable.
VERDICT Since photo-based work is often not emphasized in the history of art brut, this is a must-view for fans and scholars of the genre. The collection also provides a new lens with which to view the field of photography.
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