RAWVISION O AAI V TU I TI T IV I SI SI O OU U TT SS II D DE ER R • BBRRUU TT • F FOOL LKK • NN I VEE • I NI N TU I VEE • V V I ONNAARRYY
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RAWVISION79 SUMMER 2013
EDITOR John Maizels DIRECTORS Henry Boxer, Sam Farber, Robert Greenberg, Audrey Heckler, Rebecca Hoffberger, Phyllis Kind, Frank Maresca, Richard Rosenthal, Bob Roth ART EDITOR Maggie Jones Maizels SENIOR EDITOR Julia Elmore FEATURES EDITOR Nuala Ernest EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Natasha Jaeger MANAGING EDITOR Carla Goldby Solomon ACCOUNTS MANAGER Judith Edwards SUBSCRIPTIONS MANAGER Suzy Daniels US ASSISTANT Ari Huff FRENCH EDITOR Laurent Danchin CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Michael Bonesteel, Jenifer P. Borum, Roger Cardinal, Ted Degener, Edward Madrid Gomez, Jo Farb Hernandez, Tom Patterson, Charles Russell ADVERTISING MANAGER Charlie Payne tel 717 666 3200 fax 717 689 4566 cell 717 572 2175 email@example.com PUBLISHED by Raw Vision Ltd PO Box 44, Watford WD25 8LN, UK tel +44 (0)1923 853175 email firstname.lastname@example.org website www.rawvision.com US OFFICE 119 72nd Street, #414, New York, NY 10023 (standard envelopes only)
THE NET OF BEING
THE DANCING FIGURES OF ERNST KOLB
SEEING THE WORLD DIFFERENTLY
JOSEF KARL RÄDLER
A UNIVERSE IN TINY FORM
ART IN THE ASYLUM
GALLERY & MUSEUM GUIDE
Outsider events and exhibitions around the world.
A new book celebrates the art and life of Alex Grey.
Introducing the work of a German baker who became an artist.
A glimpse into his magical world.
The colourful paintings of Patrick Joyce.
Intense paintings by self-styled ‘court painter’.
Edward Gomez discusses the work of Hiroyuki Doi.
A look at the development of art in institutions.
Exhibitions and books.
BUREAU FRANÇAIS 37 Rue de Gergovie, 75014 Paris tel +33 (0) 1 40 44 96 46 ISSN 0955-1182
Raw Vision (ISSN 0955-1182) September 2013 is published quarterly (March, June, September, December) by Raw Vision Ltd, PO Box 44, Watford WD25, 8LN, UK and distributed in the USA by Mail Right Int., 1637 Stelton Road 84, Piscataway, NJ 08854. Periodical Postage Paid at Piscataway, NJ and additional mailing offices. Postmaster send address corrections to Raw Vision c/o Mail Right International Inc., 1637 Stelton Road 84, Piscataway, NJ 08854.
COVER: Alex Grey, Diamond Being, 2003
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WORLD’S BEST ART MAGAZINE
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Subscribe online @ www.rawvision.com or fill in the form on page 71.
MEDAILLE DE LA VILLE DE PARIS
ART IN THE ASYLUM
October 5, 2013 – January 26, 2014 Madge Gill: Medium and Visionary Major retrospective of Londoner selftaught artist’s spirit-guided ink drawings.
September 7 – November 3, 2013 With more than 150 works, Art in the Asylum: Creativity and the Evolution of Psychiatry traces the key role that artistic endeavour has played in psychiatric settings from the 1800s to the 1960s and explores how “psychiatric art” came to be recognised as Art Brut or outsider art.
August 16 – 31, 2013 Out of the Ordinary features paintings by Eileen Schaer.
louis wain, courtesy of henry boxer gallery
SAYLE GALLERY, Harris Promenade, Douglas, Isle of Man, UK email@example.com
August 18 – 31, 2013 e Association of British Naïve Artists will be exhibiting at e Mariners Gallery, with the exhibition including paintings by Daphne Stephenson.
THE MARINERS GALLERY Norway Square, St Ives, Cornwall TR26 1NA, UK
STUDIO UPSTAIRS Unit E3, 3 Bradbury Street London N16 8JN www.studioupstairs.org.uk 6
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ART OF THE FIRST PEOPLES
September 9 – 13, 2013 London’s first Bushman (San Peoples) art exhibition, Colours of the Kalahari, is a major collaboration between the Namibia Tourism Board, the Redbush Tea Company and international wildlife charity, the Born Free Foundation. 150 pieces by over 30 leading African artists will be shown and available for purchase, with a percentage of the proceeds being invested back into San communities.
until September 8, 2013 Telling Tales: e Art of Indian Storytelling features over 100 works by seven innovative artists from Northern India who work in rural or traditional styles. From giant painted story scrolls to delicate line drawings, the pieces show how contemporary Indian artists portray not only the great epic stories of India, but also news, current aﬀairs and life in 21st century India.
nxhatwe, photo: nick smith
October 2013 e Celestial Broadcast of Mr A.R features pen and ink drawing by Paul Spero, a member of Studio Upstairs. In October 2013, the Studio celebrates its 25th anniversary as a studio creating art outside the mainstream.
ORLEANS HOUSE GALLERY Riverside, Twickenham, TW1 3DJ, UK
DJANOGLY GALLERY University of Nottingham, University Blvd, Nottingham, NG7 2RD, UK www.lakesidearts.org.uk
MALL GALLERIES The Mall, London SW1Y 5BD, UK www.mallgalleries.org.uk
WORLD MUSEUM William Brown Street, Liverpool, Merseyside L3 8EN, UK www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk
until September 8, 2013 Les Saints de l’Art Polonais presents nearly 350 works by twelve Polish outsiders, including Tadeusz Glowala, Adam Dembinski, Wladyslaw Grygny, Henryk Zarski and Ryszard Kosek. ere will also be one room dedicated to Polish artist Adam Nidzgorski.
CNIT, Hall Brillat Savarin 2 Place de la Défense 92092 Paris La Défense, FRANCE www.art-oclock.com/accueil.html
until August 31, 2013 âmes Sensibles features works by Ghyslaine and Sylvain Staëlens, Jean-Yves Gosti and Joël Lorand.
ghyslaine and sylvain staëlens
September 19 – 21, 2013 Works by Ody Saban will be shown at Fair Art O’Clock at cnit (Centre of New Industries and Technologies).
MUSÉE D'ART ET D'ARCHÉOLOGIE 37 rue des Carmes 15000 Aurillac, FRANCE www.aurillac.fr
MUSÉE DE LA CRÉATION FRANCHE 58, avenue du Maréchal de Lattre de Tassigny, 33130 Bègles, FRANCE www.musee-creationfranche.com
September 18, 2013 – August 22, 2014 Halle Saint Pierre celebrates 25 years of Raw Vision, being the first magazine published with the sole purpose of bringing outsider art to a wider audience. Featuring classical works of Art Brut, new discoveries, photos of extraordinary visionary environments and over 60 artists including Nek Chand, Joe Coleman, Sam Doyle, Howard Finster, Adolf Wölfli, Alex Grey, Tom Duncan, Michel Nedjar, Norbert Kox and many others.
until October 1, 2013 A series of panels with works associated with Art Brut are presented on the walls outside the Palais Idéal du Facteur Cheval as part of an exhibition in partnership with the Collection de l’Art Brut.
willem van genk
ferdinand cheval’s palais idéal
HALLE SAINT PIERRE CELEBRATES RAW VISION MAGAZINE
HALLE SAINT PIERRE, 2 Rue Ronsard, 75018 Paris, FRANCE. www.hallesaintpierre.org 10
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PALAIS IDÉAL DU FACTEUR CHEVAL 8 rue du Palais, 26390 Hauterives, FRANCE. facteurcheval.com
RIZZOLI AND HAMERMAN
FRANK BRUNO AT AVAM
October 5, 2013 – August 31, 2014 Human, Soul & Machine: e Coming Singularity!, is a playful examination of the serious impact of technology on our lives, as seen through the eyes of more than 40 visionary artists, cutting edge futurists and inventors. Until January 12, 2014, Frank Bruno: A Life Devoted to e End features fourteen masterworks by the apocalyptic painter and social critic.
until November 30, 2013 A.G. Rizzoli: Selected Works is currently showing at e Ames Gallery, and from September 15 – December 15, the works of self-taught Polish-American artist Esther Hamerman are reintroduced.
THE AMES GALLERY, 2661 Cedar Street, Berkeley, CA 94708 www.amesgallery.com
AMERICAN VISIONARY ART MUSEUM 800 Key Highway Baltimore, Maryland 21230. http://avam.org
until September 22, 2013 More than 60 drawings by the iconic American artist are presented in Bill Traylor: Drawings from the Collections of the High Museum of Art and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, accompanied by a complementary exhibition of rarely exhibited works from prestigious New York and metropolitan area private collections.
September 21 – October 27, 2013 Material Culture hosts its inaugural exhibition of Jim Bloom: Strangers are Strange, with collages, drawings and paintings by the artist.
until October 5, 2013 Paul Lancaster: A World of His Own is a major exhibition of the self-taught artist’s works at e Parthenon. Curator Susan Shockley has selected paintings from numerous collections and periods throughout Lancaster’s 55 year career.
BILL TRAYLOR AT AFAM
Work by the artists of Creative Growth Art Center is coming alive on YouTube for the first time with a new series launching on i am OTHER, the channel of Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter/producer Pharrell Williams. Short films introduce viewers to the extraordinary geniuses of the centre that provides a haven for adult artists with mental, physical, and developmental disabilities, with videos including some artist-made films.
CREATIVE GROWTH ONLINE
THE PARTHENON, 2500 West End Ave, Nashville, TN 37203. www.parthenon.org 16
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AMERICAN FOLK ART MUSEUM 2 Lincoln Square, (Columbus Avenue at 66th Street), New York, NY 10023-6214 www.folkartmuseum.org
MATERIAL CULTURE 4700 Wissahickon Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19144 materialculture.com
ALEX GREY’S NET OF BEING
A new book celebrates visionary artist Alex Grey’s life, art and ethos Introduced by NUALA ERNEST
lex Grey was born in Columbus, Ohio on November 29, 1953, the middle child of a gentle middle-class couple. His father was a graphic designer and encouraged his son’s drawing ability. Young Alex would collect insects and dead animals from the suburban neighbourhood and bury them in the backyard. The themes of death and transcendence weave throughout his artworks, from the earliest drawings to later performances, paintings and sculpture. He went to the Columbus College of Art and Design for two years (1971–73), then dropped out and painted billboards in Ohio for a year (1973–74). Grey then attended the Boston Museum School for one year, to study with the conceptual artist Jay Jaroslav. It was here that he met his wife, Allyson Rymland Grey. Alex then spent five years at Harvard Medical School working in the anatomy department, studying the body and preparing cadavers for dissection. He also worked at Harvard’s Department of Mind/Body Medicine, conducting scientific experiments to investigate subtle healing energies. Grey was an instructor in Artistic Anatomy and Figure Sculpture for ten years at New York University, and now teaches courses in Visionary Art with Allyson at The Open Center in New York City, Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado, the California Institute of Integral Studies, and the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York. Grey’s paintings have been featured in venues as diverse as the album art of Tool, SCI, Beastie Boys and Nirvana, in Newsweek magazine, on the Discovery Channel, and on rave flyers and sheets of blotter acid. His work has been exhibited worldwide, 22
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including at Feature Inc., Tibet House, Stux Gallery, P.S.1, the Outsider Art Fair and the New Museum in New York, the Grand Palais in Paris, and the Sao Paulo Biennial in Brazil. Grey has been a keynote speaker at conferences all over the world including Tokyo, Amsterdam, Basel, Barcelona and Manaus. The international psychedelic community has embraced Grey as an important mapmaker and spokesman for the visionary realm. (1) The following text is from Alex Grey’s book, Net of Being (Rochester VT: Inner Traditions, 2013), describing his journey through life, love and art, and the formation of Alex and Allyson’s unifying spiritual theory, which is now embodied as a recognised church. Art is a way for the subjective inner world of the artist to be fully expressed into an outer world object. First, a vision illuminates the artist’s inner world – the subjective conscious interior of an individual. To use the example of the Net of Being painting, this step would be when I first experienced the image on a mystical ayahuasca journey. Second, the vision or subjective state of the artist is expressed into an individual aesthetic artifact – such as a painting, story, or dance. Related to the Net of Being, ‘outputting the vision’ took several years.
Bardo Being 2002 oil on wood 24 x 24 ins., 61 x 61 cm
Glimpsing the Empyrean 1997 acrylic on wood 8 x 16 ins., 20.3 x 40.6 cm
1. Adapted from www.alexgrey.com/biography.html
THE DANCING FIGURES O F E R N S T K O L B Introducing a German baker who became an artist By PETER BOLLIGER and ROLF BERGMANN
or two years now, drawings by Ernst Kolb (1927– 1993) have been appearing on eBay. They are carefully drawn or scribbled, with ballpoint pen, felt-tip pen or pencil, and mostly fill the whole surface of the paper, dividing the subjects into different parts and filling them with delicate hatching suggesting woven, knitted, textured, grooved or braided material. Kolb’s drawings are dominated by figures of great variety, that look as if they had been flying weightless or had been vigorously shaken and then thrown into turmoil before being instantly frozen. Humans, animals and objects are combined in strange
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manners. A glimpse at the details makes the artist’s urge to avoid repetition obvious. Just as children feel a compulsion to hop playfully from one stone to another, avoiding the joints in the pavement, Kolb deliberately varies and assembles the faces of his people in ever new ways. The drawings are staged like masquerades, the Titles are for descriptive purposes as all works are untitled There is something going on over the roofs of Mannheim, c. 1985 ballpoint pen on white paper 8.3 x 11.7 ins., 21 x 29.7 cm
Comic, c. 1987 ballpoint pen on folded white paper 8.3 x 11.7 ins., 21 x 29.7 cm
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THE MAGICAL WORLD OF FERDINAND COOPER
n the unusual world of reclusive artist Ferdinand Cooper, answers most often lead to more questions. The World War II veteran built a small shack in a neighbourhood in central Florida that became his refuge from the world. He lived there by himself for
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A Southern post-war recluse recreated unusable imitations of the trappings of modern life, carving wood and hammering tin into his versions of objects from the civilisation he had come to avoid By REBECCA DIMLING COCHRAN All works are undated (made between 1947 and 1998), mixed media courtesy the Wieland Collection left Ferdinand Cooper’s house 88 x 126 x 90 ins., 223.5 x 320 x 228.6 cm photo: mike jensen
nearly 50 years, with no electricity and no running water. The home was his sanctuary and he spent his life decorating it inside and out with carvings in wood and cut metal that provide a glimpse into the strange and wonderful world in which he existed. Jimmy Allen, a self-proclaimed “Southern Picker”, has spent the past 40 years travelling the southeastern United States finding hand-crafted
furniture, artworks and unusual antiques that he buys and resells. While researching another artist in the area, Allen discovered Cooper’s house in 2000, sitting on a bare patch of dirt behind a home that once belonged to Cooper’s parents. The artist was by then nearly 89 years old and living in a nursing home nearby. Since his only living relative, a sister-in-law in Jacksonville, had no interest in the house or its contents, Cooper willingly sold the work to Allen who brought it back to his home in Atlanta. He showed his discovery to Lynne Spriggs, then the curator of Folk Art at the High Museum of Art, who purchased a small chest. The house and all its remaining contents went to Atlanta collectors Sue and John Wieland. Little is known about Cooper. Records show he was born in Sanford, Florida, in 1911. An announcement in the Colored Edition of the Sanford Chronicle indicates Cooper had a job as an insurance salesman. He was married to Ella Robinson in 1933 according to Seminole Country records, but the marriage was not a success as Cooper listed his marital status on his enlistment records as “separated”. He joined the army in 1943 and was trained at Fort Bragg. One of Cooper’s personal documents claims he was “discharged P7e” (a medical discharge for an enlisted man), but what exactly happened to him during the war remains a mystery. What is clear is that when Cooper returned from the army, he was not the same man. Rather than rejoin society, he chose to build a house in the back yard of his parents’ home where he lived alone for the next 50-odd years. He constructed his 84-square foot house with scrap wood and added a sheet-metal roof. Two existing photographs show he made modifications to the structure, moving the location of the front door and closing in a section of the front porch to create a storage room. Cooper made all his furniture as well. His “bed” RAW VISION 79
SEEING THE WORLD D I F F E R E N T LY Patrick Joyce realises his peripheral visions of a mythological world By TONY GAMMIDGE
he paintings and drawings of Patrick Joyce are worlds unto themselves, full of bright primary colours, populated by strange people and animals, as well as buildings, cars, roads and trees with human qualities. e images are full of life and movement, showing a world that is constantly on the go and in flux. is is in marked contrast to the actual world that Patrick inhabits: the Bracton Centre (Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust), on a rehabilitation ward in a medium secure psychiatric hospital. I first met Patrick when I was running a video and animation project on the ward six years ago. He was one of the most regular members of the group, even though he was more interested in drawing than animation: “I half see things – shapes in the trees that look like cartoon characters”. His engagement in his work was
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The World in my Mind 2010 paint on paper 59 x 84 ins., 149.9 x 213.4 cm
intense, infectious, vivid, slightly obsessive; his enthusiasm irrepressible but his need for approval and reassurance constant. He asked me not to tell the doctors about his drawings as he feared they would be misunderstood as part of a psychotic vision (even though he did not have a diagnosis of psychosis). I said that I understood that the drawings come from his imagination, and not from an illness. is seemed to reassure him and enable him to be far more open about his work. I took in a book on Surrealism and Dada to show him as he had no access to
AR T IN THE ASYLUM A new exhibition surveys the development of art in British mental health institutions since the 1800s By VICTORIA TISCHLER
ver nearly two centuries, the visual arts have played a significant part in the development of mental healthcare; a period coinciding with a time of great change in our understanding and treatment of mental illness. We can trace the historical shift from invasive treatments which included psychosurgery, insulin coma therapy and restraint to a more humane regime in which creativity played a key part. e earliest known use of art as part of a therapeutic regime in asylums was by Dr W. A. F. Browne at the Crichton Royal Institution in Dumfries. Dr Browne was the medical superintendent at Crichton from 1838 to 1857 and believed that his patients should be engaged in mindful occupation. He encouraged them to draw and paint, even employing an art instructor in 1846. His collection of work by “mad artists” is the oldest of its type and has not been exhibited before outside Scotland. One artist incarcerated in Crichton was William Bartholomew (1819–1881), an unmarried engraver diagnosed with mania and melancholia. Doctors noted that his confusion exuded a “wild magnificence” and that his artistic output was “clever but incongruous, absurd and mythical”. Moving south, the Bethlem Royal Hospital, known as Bedlam, was the location where some of the 56
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William Bartholomew, Cake Month, 1861 courtesy Dumfries Archive Centre most celebrated asylum art was created by Richard Dadd, Louis Wain and Charles Sims. All were artists who experienced severe mental illness. Dadd travelled widely before becoming unwell and murdering his father in 1843; thereafter, he was incarcerated in asylums until his death where he continued to produce art prolifically. Wain, “the man who painted cats”, was a celebrated artist who was committed to an asylum after being certified insane in 1924. Sims (1873–1928) was a successful artist known for his open-air scenes and portraiture who also spent time as an oﬃcial war artist, an experience which traumatised him. In the last two years of his life his artistic style changed dramatically, featuring mystical and spiritual content, before he committed suicide. Within psychiatry, there has been longstanding interest in the use of art to understand mental experiences. In the 1930s, in an attempt to better comprehend the experience of hallucinations, two psychiatrists from the Maudsley clinic, Eric Guttman and Walter Maclay, conducted a series of mescaline experiments in which artists such as Julian Trevelyan were encouraged to express their hallucinogenic experiences in
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THE COUR T PAINTER OF AUSTRIA, ITALY AND SIAM Josef Karl Rädler was a master porcelain painter before being committed to an asylum, from where his paintings were saved and went on to intrigue Leo Navratil By FERDINAND ALTNÖDER
e called himself “Court Painter of Austria, Italy around the world. His firm took part in the world and Siam” and also a “laughing philosopher”. He exhibitions of Vienna (1873) and Paris (1878), and was was a pacifist, preached a healthy way of living awarded numerous medals, certificates and national and painted untiringly. The Austrian Josef Karl Rädler awards. It designed porcelain services for the Rothschild (1844–1917) was a contemplative and, at the same time, family; Rädler’s products were donated by Archduke difficult person. From the age of 50 to the end of his life Rainer to the South Kensington Museum – today the he lived in lunatic asylums, as they were then called. 50 Victoria and Albert Museum – in London. e firm’s years after his death, between 800 and 900 of his drawings products were nostalgic imitations of an old Viennese style were saved from the rubbish bin. and a historicism of the former Viennese Porcelain Factory “I was fascinated”, Prof. Dr Leo Navratil from around 1800, as well as of designs by painter Angelika (1921–2006) wrote in his book on Josef Karl Rädler, Kaufmann (1741–1807) and the pompous style of painter when in 1972 a nurse offered him some of Rädler’s Hans Makart (1840–1884). e Viennese liked them, and drawings. It was only 20 they were in great demand for years later that Prof. Navratil export. Occasionally, objects It is madness to walk with an made by Rädler & Pilz turn up found the time to attend to Rädler’s work. He had umbrella – a bath brings life! on the art market and in meanwhile gained his Lunacy is any idle talk... auctions. However, it is currently reputation as an author on unknown what Rädler’s own Art Brut and as discoverer of porcelain-painting looks like. the Gugging artists. Analysing Rädler’s medical files, Rädler was married, and of his eight children four Navratil wrote a catalogue for Rädler’s exhibition in St died when they were still young. The dramatic change Pölten, Lower Austria, 1994, so far the one and only – that took place in his life happened in 1893. Upon his and therefore the authoritative – source of information family’s initiative, when he was nearly 50 years old, on the work of this unique artist. Rädler was committed to a private mental home in Josef Karl Rädler was born in 1844 in the Lainz/Vienna, and shortly afterwards transferred to the Bohemian town of Falkenau. Today, it is called Sokolov asylum “Pilgerhain” in Vienna. In 1905, Rädler was and is situated in the Czech Republic. He moved to committed to the “Kaiser Franz Josef Landes Heil- und Vienna when he was 23 years old and became a master Pflegeanstalt” in Mauer-Öhling, a village situated between porcelain painter. Together with Robert Pilz, he founded Vienna and Linz. A “circular psychosis with manic states of excitation” was attested to by the doctors in the Vienna the “Artistische Atelier für Porzellanmalerei Rädler & asylum. He was characterised as being “grumpy, foolish, Pilz” in 1872, one of the most important enterprises in rude, arrogant, and stubborn”. He was hospitalised there this field. Rädler’s studio had branches and storerooms until his death in 1917. Viennese antiquarian bookseller and art dealer Dr Look here, descendants, my self portrait! Hurray! Hansjörg Krug discovered the following notes that Rädler 1911/12 had made in 1909 on the drawings he produced in tempera and watercolour on paper asylums: “My wife became unfaithful to me. I stood in 16.8 x 11.2 ins., 42.8 x 28.6 cm the way of two gallants (a senior civil servant and a courtesy Galerie Altnöder, Salzburg
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A UNIVERSE IN TINY FORM In Tokyo, chef-turned-artist Hiroyuki Doi creates voluminous compositions made up of little more than thousands of miniscule circles By EDWARD M. GĂ“MEZ
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In the noutsider the outsider art field, art field, often often the modesty the modesty of an of artist’s an materials artist’s or art-making materials ormethods art-making belies methods the depth belies or the breadthdepth of hisororbreadth her oeuvre’s of his grandest, or her oeuvre’s most serious grandest, most themes. serious (Think themes. of Adolf (Think Wölfli’s of Adolf creation Wölfli’s of the creation universe of rendered the universe with coloured renderedpencils, with coloured or Jimmy pencils, Lee Sudduth’s or Jimmy finger paintings Lee Sudduth’s madefinger with mud, paintings found made pigments with mud, or found house paint pigments on wood or house scraps.) paintSometimes, on wood scraps). too, an artist Sometimes, might set outtoo, to address an artistamight big, weighty set out subject, to address only a big, to weighty do so with subject, what appear only to to dobesothe with most what humble appearstylistic to be the or technical most humble means. stylistic The inherent or technical incongruence means. The or inherent tension inincongruence this relationship or tension between in self-taught this relationship artists’ between aesthetic self-taught or intellectual artists’ objectives aesthetic and ortheir intellectual available or objectives chosen means and istheir oneavailable of outsider or chosen art’s common means is one of outsider characteristics. art’s common characteristics. In Japan, the 67-year-old, self-taught artist Hiroyuki Doi, a former master chef who worked in some of Tokyo’s top restaurants, has been making abstract drawings in ink on paper for several decades. Since his art first emerged on the international scene in a solo exhibition at the now-defunct Phyllis Kind Gallery in New York in 2002, Doi’s compositions, which are made up of little more than dense groupings of tiny black circles, have become increasingly complex Soul III 2006 ink on washi paper 38.25 x 37 ins., 97.2 x 94 cm image courtesy Ricco/Maresca Gallery, NY
Untitled 2010 ink on washi paper 39.9 x 26.5 ins., 101.3 x 67.3 cm courtesy Ricco/Maresca Gallery, NY
in form and ever more expansive in the themes they have addressed. Doi described the evolution of his art during an interview at his home and studio earlier this year. His small, plant-filled workspace is located in the Asakusa district of northeastern Tokyo. Doi observed that, for him, “using circles to produce images has provided soothing relief from the sadness and grief ” he has felt since the death, many years ago, of his youngest brother from a brain tumour. Since then, Doi has created works that have alluded, as he puts it, to such themes as “the transmigration of the soul, the cosmos, the coexistence of living creatures, human cells, human dialogue and peace”. He feels strongly about art that reveals the touch of its maker’s hand; that is to say, he believes that the most soulful, expressive artworks do let viewers know that they were made by fellow humans, not by machines. Doi’s creations are the opposite of those contemporary art products whose designer-marketers strive to eliminate any evidence of the touch of the human hand in their finished offerings, which they do not hand-craft themselves, but instead send out to fabricators to RAW VISION 79
ALTERNATIVE GUIDE TO THE UNIVERSE Hayward Gallery, London June 11 – August 26, 2013 irty-four years after it hosted the UK’s first major exhibition of outsider art, the Hayward Gallery once again oﬀered an alternative view of the world. Numbers, theories, futuristic architecture, new methods of healing; all things we expect from the brightest international minds. But in this alternative guide they come from equally bright but self-taught visionaries and self-proclaimed scientists, physicists, and architects, with a cameo from ‘e Museum of Everything’ who presented works by renowned Indian artist Nek Chand. e journey through time and space began with the works of George Widener and Alfred Jensen as they explore and re-create the meaning behind numbers, codes, and calendars. Jensen was inspired by Pythagoras, Ancient Chinese, the Maya number systems, and Egyptian and Greek cultures – a far cry from the culturally excluded outsider described by Jean Dubuﬀet. With a whole section dedicated to ‘Fringe Physicists’, along with James Carter’s ‘Periodic Table of Elements’ and examples of alternative and holistic medicinal practices, the sciences form a large part of the exhibition. Emery Blagdon’s ‘Healing Machine’ discards modern medicine by promoting the curative powers of the Earth’s energies, and Guo Fengyi’s ‘painted prescriptions’ depict energy flowing through the human body. In her eyes, they are instruments of healing. marcel storr
RAWREVIEWS Examples of ‘outsider photography,’ include the humorous works of Chicago artist Lee Godie, who ‘edited’ her photo-booth pictures with a dash of lipstick here, or a darker eyebrow there, and Eugene Von Bruenchenhein’s obsessive 1940’s pin-up inspired depictions of his wife, Marie. Well known outsider artist Morton Bartlett’s anatomically correct hand-made dolls are also represented in photographic form, with just one of the accomplished sculptures in-situ. But it is Marcel Storr’s towering utopias and quixotic architectural creations that really steal the show. Beautifully lit, the meticulously drawn buildings and palatial cathedrals tower above futuristic cities where the growing craze for skyscrapers seems to reach new, dizzying levels in such a way that for a brief moment, Storr’s post-Holocaustal Parisian structures seem possible. Similarly, William Scott’s urban reimaginings of San Francisco – newly named ‘Praise Frisco’ by the artist - nudge at a deep desire for an alternative, exuberant world that chooses the church over corporate capitalism. e exhibition is a display of the power of imagination, most aptly illustrated by ‘gothic futurist’ and hip-hop pioneer Rammellzee’s ‘Letter Racers,’ which depicts how the alphabet might look if the letters were to become mechanised and able to fly into battle. It is an innovative combination of art and science and re-imagined worlds, of artists and inventors who want to better understand the universe. - Kate Davey
RALPH FASANELLA: A MORE PERFECT UNION Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York May 9 – July 3 2013 Ralph Fasanella (1914–1997), a selftaught painter, was the American-born son of Italian immigrants, living in New York City. His father delivered ice. His mother worked in a button factory. A sixth-grade drop-out, he did a stint in reform school, fought fascists in the Spanish Civil war, drove a truck, pumped gas, and became a union organiser. At 31 he began to paint – initially to good reviews – only to be blacklisted for his communist leanings. But obscurity dimmed none of his passion: in 1972 his perseverance catapulted him onto the cover of New York Magazine, heralded as “the best ‘primitive’ painter since Grandma Moses.” is is a celebration of a talented artist who saw within the ebullient mosaic of city life the searing injustices of an imperfect nation. He confronts bigotry, racism, power, and disenfranchisement. In “McCarthy Era Garden Party” (1954) McCarthy pundits are oblivious to protestors circling the figures of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, sentenced to death for treason. “American Tragedy” (1964), includes the fated Kennedy motorcade, a Barry Goldwater parade, a figure of Martin Luther King, a brood of hustlers and Klansmen, e bristle in Fasanella’s brush also had a softer side. Hope ripples in lively stippled strokes enlivening earth, sea, and sky, and wherever throngs of people march towards “a more perfect union.” - Joyce Beckenstein ralph fasanella
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RAWREVIEWS WÖLFLI: CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE by Manuel Anceau and Daniel Baumann, edited by Terezie Zemánková Arbor Vitae/ABCD, 2013 ISBN 978-8087164952 As a visionary artist Adolf Wölfli was fortunate indeed. e power of his work was recognised a few years after he began drawing and writing at the Waldau Mental Asylum near Bern, Switzerland. e majority of his creations (over 3,200 drawings and collages in 45 hand-bound books totaling some 25,000 pages) were preserved by the clinic before being transferred in 1973 to the Museum of Fine Arts Bern. In 1921, while still alive and producing, Wölfli was the subject of Walter Morgenthaler’s Ein Geisteskranker als Künstler, the first extended analysis of an “outsider” artist, and since 1975 the Adolf Wölfli Foundation, under founding Director Elka Spoerri and her successor Daniel Baumann, has made Wölfli’s oeuvre readily available to scholars and curators, has lent works to significant museum exhibitions, and has published and contributed to a succession of serious monographs and museum catalogues which have advanced popular recognition and scholarly analysis of Wölfli and his art. e 2012 exhibition catalogue, Wölfli: Creator of the Universe, is the most recent contribution to scholarship on this artist’s great achievement. Produced in
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association with the exhibit at the City Gallery of Prague (itself based on the 2011 Lille Métropole [LaM] exhibition Adolf Wölfli Univers), this is an especially well-produced tome: generous in its visual oﬀerings, informative about the artist and the scope of his creations, and oﬀering insightful studies of specific aspects of the opus – some drawn judiciously from earlier publications, others presenting new approaches to Wölfli’s work. e book serves both as an excellent introduction to Wölfli and a valuable advancement of our understanding of the artist and his work. Wölfli is introduced by an overview of life and work by Baumann and through a detailed chronology which frequently quotes Waldau observations. e presentation of Wölfli comprises many voices: Wölfli’s, Morgenthaler’s, other attending physicians, curators, and scholars. It is Wölfi’s voice, however, that is central. It is a complex, multi-faceted, performative voice, manifest through a range of texts from autobiographical statements and fictive self-projections to running commentaries on the visual work, interpolated narratives, “algebraic” calculations, poems, and chants of solfage notation evidently intended for vocal or instrumental performance. Selections of each of these forms are woven through the many reproductions at the centre of the book. If some scholars have declared Wölfli primarily a writer because of the omnipresence of text within the oeuvre, he is also a draftsman, composer,
musician, algebraic numerologist, and all of these identities are articulated throughout the masterful visual work. Contributing to the excellence of this volume are individual scholarly and critical texts that address each of Wölfli’s inventive vocabularies. While this multivalent approach asserts the importance of each element of Wölfli’s gesamtkunstwerk, the book oﬀers an exceptionally rich selection of his visual genius. Over 100 works are reproduced and – especially important and unique among Wölfli’s catalogues – some fifty-five images of details of the larger and intricate compositions are presented. e result is a visual feast that makes immensely evident Wölfli’s visual intelligence. However fortunate Wölfli has been in the preservation and presentation of his artistry and vision of the universe, it is we, the viewers, who are particularly privileged to experience them in respectful, intelligent, and well-produced books such as this. - Charles Russell
CHARLES A.A. DELLSCHAU with contributions by Tracy BakerWhite, James Brett, Roger Cardinal, Tom D. Crouch, Thomas McEvilley, Randall Morris and Barbara Safarova Marquand Books, Seattle, 2013 ISBN 978-1-935202-90-5 Celebrating the lively imagination and creative genius of an artist who died in obscurity 90 years ago, this lavishly produced volume provides useful information and insightful perspectives on his life and remarkable body of work,
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