Jean Dubuffet at the Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung in Munich
Jean Dubuffet was one of the major icons of 20th century art. His art brut, with its interest in primitive expression and the dialogue between high culture and low culture, inspired such contemporary artistic genres as graffiti and outsider art.
The inspiration Dubuffet took from primitive figurative art, combined with a "sensory" treatment of the painting's surface that exuded informality, allowed him to scale high poetic peaks and placed him at the lofty level of German artists Paul Klee and Max Ernst.
His interest in anything odd and the creative potential of untapped sources of expression, such as the art of the insane, influenced our perception of the world. Dubuffet was among the first to appreciate and collect these kinds of works, creating the term art brut to mean "spontaneous art."
UniCredit Group's commitment to this artistic genre has naturally led it to support the Acrobazie project, which annually invites a contemporary artist to work with a group of "irregular" artists who reside in a psychiatric hospital. The UniCredit Group Art Collection also features a significant body of outsider art, which is periodically exhibited in thematic shows held in various branch offices.
During the mid-1940s, Dubuffet devoted himself fully to his art. The show at the Munich Kunsthalle opens with works from this period, followed by examples from his entire career. His early figurative work, Marionettes de la ville et de la campagne, predated his "material paintings" - kneaded and primed and sometimes "cooked" with sand, chalk and tar - which depicted urban life in Paris and, after his journey through the Sahara, exotic desert landscapes. The delicate surface structures he created served as the material upon which he painted such images as the bodies violently shaken in his Corps de dames series.
The approach spurred his later non-figurative developments by establishing a link with his "texturologies" and "materiologies." In 1960, after Dubuffet returned to Paris from the Côte d'Azur, the cell-like elements and the tiny "celebrations of sunlight" that characterized his technique gave way to the luminous and vibrant images of the Paris Circus series. Only after this period did Dubuffet come to define his works as abstract, as he invented a new spiritual world that only existed in the colors red and blue.
In the 1970s, with Théatres de mémoire, the artist carried out a symbolic review of his prior explorations, after which his endeavors evolved to take the form of such works as Sites, Mires and, in the last years of his life, Non-lieux.
The show highlights the main features of Dubuffet's artistic phases and describes the organic development of his work, spanning from the figurative to the abstract period and back again to the figurative.
Dubuffet always argued that "art should encourage the mind and set it in motion." He took this challenge to heart and revolutionized the creative project. His main goal: do something different and new.
The Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, in cooperation with the Dubuffet Foundation in Paris, has selected for the exhibition a representative set of works encompassing the entire career of the artist, also including unique items on loan from such major private collections as that of Viktor and Marianne Langen, the largest collection of works in Germany by the French artist.
In parallel with the exhibition at the Kunsthalle, the Munich Literaturhaus is presenting the show "Jean Dubuffet - Life and Books," focusing on books by the artist that capture his activity as a poet, graphic designer and writer.
( Picture: Jean Dubuffet, detailsLe Raturé/Der Gestrichene, 1965 Vinyl on canvas, 100 x 81 cm. Viktor und Marianne Langen Collection. © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2009.Photo Saša Fuis, Köln.)
Hypo Kunsthalle www.hypo-kunsthalle.de
Acrobazie Project, Atelier di Pittura Adriano & Michele www.atelieradrianoemichele.it