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RAW NEWS Outsider events and exhibitions around the world
HEROES AND VILLAINS Michael Bonesteel explores the characters in Henry Darger’s epic In the Realms of the Unreal WORLD’S BEST ART MAGAZINE
MEDAILLE DE LA VILLE DE PARIS
‘PROTEST PK’ Florian Reese introduces the intensity and tenacity of artist Peter Kappeler
UTNE INDEPENDENT PRESS AWARD
AMERICAN FOLK ART MUSEUM VISIONARY AWARD
Editor John Maizels Directors Henry Boxer, Sam Farber, Robert Greenberg, Audrey Heckler, Rebecca Hoffberger, Phyllis Kind, Frank Maresca, Richard Rosenthal, Bob Roth
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ON THE OUTSIDE EDGE Dave Maclagan investigates the link between autism and outsider art, and revisits the fascinating case of Nadia
TIGERS IN THE TAIGA James Young looks at Russian artist Alexander Belykh’s mythic paintings
LETTERBOX VILLAGE Matias Tugores enters the surreal world of France’s ‘Letterbox Village’
ALEX TRACY Lauren Woods introduces the miniature works of a London artist
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THORNTON DIAL Cara Zimmerman looks at one of America’s most celebrated self-taught contemporary artists
cover image Henry Darger, The Vivian Princesses Raw Vision published quarterly by Raw Vision Ltd #74 Winter 2011/12. Printed in EU. Subscription Price $49 USPS No. 017-057 Periodicals Postage Paid at Rahway, NJ, and at Emigsville, PA Distributed by Priority Post, 95 Aberdeen Road, Emigsville, PA 17318–0437 Subscription office: 163 Amsterdam Ave. #203, New York, NY 10028. (Standard envelopes only) Postmaster send address corrections to: Raw Vision, c/o Mercury Airfreight International Ltd, 365 Blair Road, Avenel, NJ 07001
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REVIEWS Exhibitions and books
RAWNEWS TEXT AND IMAGE AT GUGGING Until April 22, 2012 Inschriftierungen , artists including Ida Buchmann, Leonhard Fink, Johann Korec and Karl Vondal explore the tension between text and image. On show at Galerie Gugging, Am Campus 2, 3400 Maria Gugging, Austria. t: +43 (0)676 841 181 200 www.gugging.org Johann Korec
ARTS PROJECT AWARD 4 February – 9 March, 2012 Good Strong Powerful shows three Northern Territory art studios, working with Indigenous artists with disabilities. Arts Project Australia has won the 2011 Melbourne Award for Contributions to Community. Arts Project Australia, 24 High Street, Northcote, VIC 3070, Australia. t: + 61 (0)3 9482 4484 www.artsproject.org.au Alfonso Puautjimi
GALLI AT RIZOMI
February through March, 2012 Exhibition of Swiss outsider artist Hans Krüsi shows at Galerie Miyawaki. The gallery’s introduction of European outsider artists to Japan is significant in the development of this art field. Visit them at Galerie Miyawaki, Nijo-agaru, Tearamachi-dori, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-0915 Japan t: +81 (0)5 231 2321 www.galerie-miyawaki.com Hans Krusi
Through January, 2012 Liguria BRUT! features artists from the Liguria region. February through March, 2012 Exhibition entitled Aliens, Women and Rockets. April, 2012 Solo exhibition of Marcello Cammi. Rizomi Art Brut, 28, corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 10123 Torino, Italy t: +39 (0)115 788 808 www.rizomi.it
OUTSIDE IN OPEN
Until February 3, 2013 Outside In is a UK based project that provides a platform for artists who find it difficult to access the art world. The Outside In: National 2012 will provide an opportunity for artists to submit two pieces of work for selection for an exhibition at Pallant House Gallery, the deadline for applications is July 20, 2012. Pallant House Gallery, 9 North Pallant, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 1TJ, Britain . t: +44 (0)1243 770846 www.outsidein.org.uk Jasna Nikolic
ART & MARGE February 10 – May 20 2012 La Fabuloserie: le fabuleux destin des Bourbonnais shows work from La Fabuloserie museum in Dicy, France. Artists whose work will be on display include Simone le Carré-Gallimard, Mario Chichorro, Philippe Dereux, Francis Marshall, François Monchatre, Giovanni Battista Podesta and Emile Ratier. Art et Marges Musée, 312–314 Rue Haute, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium. t: +32 (0)25 339 498 www.artetmarges.be
OUTSIDERS IN VENICE
Until March 11, 2012 Hidden treasures from Swiss Psychiatry II: Encounters features the art work of Gertrud Schwyzer, Julius Süss alias Hans Volkmar, Hans Brühlmann and Günther Uecker in a group exhibition, many items of which are to be on display for the first time. Museum Im Lagerhaus, Davidstrasse 44, CH-9000, St.Gallen, Switzerland. t: +41 (0)71 223 58 57 www.museumimlagerhaus.ch
In June 2011, African-American artists Lonnie Holley, Mr. Imagination, Charlie Lucas and Kevin Sampson were invited by the American Folk Art Museum and Benetton to produce work, for the Venice Biennale. Inclusion of African-American self taught artists at this event would have been groundbreaking, but the exhibition was cancelled. However, the artists, along with curator Martha Henry, went to Italy and produced an exhibition entitled The Roots of The Spirit at L’Espace ReEvolution. Limited by time, and using materials found in the streets and waters of Venice, they created nearly 50 site specific works reflecting the Venetian spirit. t: 011 212 308 2759. www.marthahenry.com
Sadly, the last report from Tony Rajer: The January 12, 2010 Port-au-Prince earthquake destroyed or damaged over 25,000 works of art and wiped out several collections of Haitian art, including naïve and contemporary art. Through a series of international heritage agreements several hundred works of art are now being conserved. Foreign conservators are training local Haitians to save their own heritage in a state-of-the-art laboratory in Port-au-Prince. Among the works being treated are the famed Lehman collection of Voodoo art as well as the Nader collection of Haitian primitives. The Project is being led by the Smithsonian Institute, Haiti Cultural Recovery Project, 387 Route de Bourdon, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. t: 509 3617 5596 www.haiti.si.edu
Haiti conservation worker
OUTSIDER ART PORTUGAL
Until February 2012 Psychart24 exhibits work produced during the nationwide 24 hour art marathon of the same name. Budapest Art Brut Galéria, ker. Kőbányai út 22, Budapest, Hungary. t: 06 20 825 0128 www.artbrut.hu
Until March 4, 2012 Unseen and Unheard - Jubilee exhibition part II, December 8, 2011 – February 5, 2012 Prinzhorn’s Book presents the ideas depicted in his book Artistry of the Mentally Ill Museum Prinzhorn Collection, Voßstr. 2, D-69115 Heidelberg, Germany. t: +49 (0)6221 564725 www.prinzhorn.uni-hd.de
The Portuguese Association of Outsider Art was founded recently and the organisation aims to bridge the gap between contemporary art and outsider art and introduce a subject, so well developed in other countries, that is almost unknown in Portugal. www.aparteoutsider.org
Marathon Artists August Klett
RAWNEWS FROST ART
FAIRY TALES AT FRIST
DENNIS FILLING AT AMES
Until March 18, 2012 Tour de France / Florida shows at The Frost Art Museum, 0975 Southwest 17 th street, Miami, FL 3319. t: 305 348 2890 www.thefrost.fiu.edu
February 24 – May 29, 2012 Fairy Tales, Monsters and the Genetic Imagination is a collection of works exploring the topic. Frist Center for the Visual Arts, 919 Broadway, Nashville, Tennessee, 37203. t: 615 244 3340 www.Fristcenter.org
January 27 – 29, 2012 The Ames Gallery will present selected abstract works on paper by Dennis Filling, which he drew in the 60’s and 70’s, at the 2012 Outsider Art Fair in New York. The Ames Gallery, 2661 Cedar Street, Berkeley, CA 94708. t: 510 845 4949 www.amesgallery.com
STEPHANIE LUCAS AT GREY CARTER
ALL ROUND AT AVAM
January 27 – 29, 2012 The imaginative fantasy paintings of French self-taught artist Stephanie Lucas will be introduced at the 2012 Outsider Art Fair in New York by Grey Carter – Objects of Art, 1126 Duchess Drive, McLean, VA 22102. t: 703 734 0533 www.greyart.com
Until September 2, 2012 All things round: Galaxies, Eyeballs and Karma. The American Visionary Art Museum, 800 Key Highway, Baltimore, MD, 21230. t: 410 2441 900 www.avam.org Ody Saban
VON BRUENCHENHEIN SHOW AT INTUIT Until January 14, 2012 You Better Be Listening: Text in Self-Taught Art explores the use of words in art, and From the Wand of the Genii, explores the dominant presence of nature, architecture and imaginative structures in the work of Eugene Von Bruenchenhein. February 10 – June 30, 2012 Heaven and Hell includes work by William Thomas Thompson Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, 756 N Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL 60642. t: 312 243 9088 www.art.org
Eugene Von Bruenchenhein
TURNER CENTER From January 20, 2012 Characters. Work by Danny Speck at Turner Center for the Arts, 3109 Sutton Blvd, Maplewood, MO 63143. t: 314 781 4440 www.turnercenterforthearts.org
HEROES AND VILLAINS Michael Bonesteel reveals Henry Darger’s dramatis personae
All works are undated, produced between 1910 and 1930, with frames found and fitted by Henry Darger. Illustrations courtesy and copyright of Kiyoko Lerner.
above Five Generals. Robert Angelic Vivian – Hanson Angelic Vivian – [unnamed] – Robert Phelian – Major General Kindernine, watercolour and pencil on paper mounted on cardboard, 15.5 x 10.75 ins., 39.4 x 27.3 cm, Collection de L’Art Brut, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Henry Darger’s epic, In the Realms of the Unreal, is a mighty layer cake of a story, organically grown episodeupon-episode with two missions in mind: to help the seven Vivian girls brave the brutalities of fire, flood, storm and war in the freeing of innocent child slaves from the clutches of a demonic totalitarian empire; and recover a mysterious picture of child martyr Annie Aronburg. Divided into some 15 volumes, there is virtually no plot and very little character development or narrative progression in the 15,000-page Realms. Instead, Darger relies on a cast of charismatic actors to provide the support structure for his opus — from the quasi-divine Vivian princesses to a long list of supporting players. The action takes place on a nearby planet composed of the Christian kingdom of Abbieannia and other countries at war with godless Glandelinia, which is occupying the nation of Calverinia and enslaving its children.
After Darger started writing his saga around 1910, he began illustrating portraits of his characters. Some of these were pictures and photographs borrowed from newspapers and magazines that he embellished or traced, then recontextualised. The first characters we are introduced to are Robert and Hanson Vivian. Just as Darger appropriated visual images for his artistic portraits, he often lifted literary characters from other novels. He likely based Hanson Vivian upon Hans Bjelke, the Danish guide in Jules Verne’s A Journey to the Center of the Earth. Verne describes Hans as a man ‘of perfectly Herculean build.’ Improving upon this for his own needs, Darger describes Hanson in Volume I as ‘a hercules for built [sic], and a regular sampson for [strength].’
‘THE VIVIAN GIRLS RANGE FROM 7 TO 10 YEARS OLD AND ARE REVERED AS LIVING SAINTS, THEY POSSESS A PRETER-NATURAL LOVELINESS THAT APPROACHES THE ANGELIC AND EXUDE THE HEAVENLY FRAGRANCE OF FLOWERS.’
top left Angeline Celistine Vivian, carbon tracing, pencil, 11 x 8.5 ins., 27.9 x 21.6 cm, frame, 16.75 x 15 ins., 42.5 x 38.1 cm. top right Catherine Clestine Vivian, carbon tracing, pencil, watercolour, no dimensions available. centre left Genevieve Annie Vivian (Hettie), carbon tracing, pencil, watercolour, mixed media, 11.25 x 9.25 ins., 28.6 x 23.5 cm, frame 16 x 14 ins., 40.6 x 35.6 cm. centre right Joyce Vivian, carbon tracing, pencil, crayon, watercolour, 11.5 x 15.5 ins., 29.2 x 39.4 cm, frame 14.5 x 18.5 ins., 36.8 x 47 cm. bottom left Daisybell Gertrude Vivian, carbon tracing, pencil, watercolour, 13 x 11 ins., 33 x 28 cm, frame 18 x 14 ins., 45.6 x 35.6 cm. bottom right Jennie Francis Vivian, carbon tracing, pencil, watercolour, mixed media, 26.5 x 18 ins., 67.3 x 45.7 cm, no frame dimensions.
On the Outside Edge: Nadia, Autism and Outsider Art David Maclagan revisits the classic case of a prodigious child artist
above Drawn aged approximately 4 years, approximately 10.2 x 7.9 ins., 26 x 20 cm.
All works produced by Nadia between 1970 and 1974 using ball point pen on various paper, reproduced courtesy of Lorna Selfe.
It is now 30 years since Lorna Selfe published her study Nadia: a case of extraordinary drawing ability in an autistic child. (1) The book aroused great excitement at the time, and rightly appealed to a far wider audience than just clinical psychologists. Nadia’s work, produced when she was three and a half, leapt off the page and had an expressivity remarkable for any child, let alone one with severe developmental deficits. Since then interest in and debate about ‘autistic savants’ has avalanched. Many of the issues involved are similar to ones relating to the creativity to be found in outsider art, and the ways in which we receive it, and this is what is explored here. A key ingredient in both the literature on clinical conditions such as schizophrenia or autism, and that on
outsider art, is the fantasy of being offered a window into an otherwise inaccessible ‘inner world’. But what distinguishes the refusal to communicate from the inability to do so, and what difference does this make to how we receive it? This is an accentuation of our normal interest in the relation between an art work and the mental state of its creator. It can often be dismissed as the ‘intentional fallacy’; but the statements of intent that some artists have provided us with have to be taken with a pinch of salt, and we cannot escape the fact that we are also dealing with our image of whatever ‘inner world’ may lie behind the work. This is thrown into striking relief when the artist offers us no such supporting material, as in the example of Judith Scott’s ‘fibre art’, created by someone with no speech.
above right and left Drawn aged approximately 6 years 5 months, approximately 11.8 x 9 ins., 30 x 23 cm.
‘ P R O T E S T
P K ’
Florian Reese introduces Peter Kapeller, the winner of the 2011 EUWARD
Euward is the European art award for painting and graphic arts by artists with a mental handicap. It is the first, and so far the only, prize of international significance to be awarded in this sphere of art.
above O.T. (Untitled), 1996, Indianink pen, brush, stamp, Indian ink and varnish on paper, 19.7 x 13.8 ins., 50 x 35 cm.
Robber barons and Nazi henchmen, Jesus on the cross, psychiatrists, sex and execution scenes, historical figures and anonymous mask-like faces. Interspersed isolated snippets of architecture or whole cityscapes, technically detailed reproductions of machines, roughly contoured shreds of words, subtle inscriptions and whole bodies of text – held together in a mesh of minuscule particles, hooks, worms and everyday objects in microbiotic density and diffusion. Peter Kapeller’s pictures take time – to compose as well as to view. Yet to approach his work properly, the artist demands that the inclined onlooker disregard its pure opulence and the technical complexity as such. Indeed, Kapeller’s Indian ink drawings convey
differentiated artistic qualities beyond mechanical skill, perseverance and a horror vacui. Kapeller stages scenes. He says that while he draws he indulges in the illusion of having an audience. Thus his depictions are ruthless acts of navel-gazing, magnified in a refractory social universe and arranged for that audience he wants to stupefy. What moves him is the inadequacy of human nature, the depravity and bleakness of social systems. He defines his own ‘fuckedup life’ as a minefield, embedded in global settings of social ignorance and blunders. When Kapeller draws, he configures everything he despises and everything that scares him beyond measure. He stages it graphically, never striving to be moderate or friendly, likable or even
Das kleine Welttheater (The Small World Theatre), 1997, Indian-ink pen, brush, stamp, Indian ink, watercolour and varnish on paper, 17.2 x 24.6 ins., 43.8 x 62.5 cm.
Fahrenheit, 2010, Indian-ink pen, brush, stamp, Indian and coloured ink, tempera and varnish on paper, 19.9 x 29 ins., 50.5 x 74 cm.
TIGERS IN THE TAIGA James Young looks at Alexander Belykh’s mythologised boreal forest paintings
All works are acrylic on canvas.
above Escape from Prison (Two Thieves), 2004, 30 x 16 ins., 76 x 40.5 cm, Moscow Museum of Naive Art.
Russia, the largest country on Earth, covers one eighth of the world’s land surface and its vast forests and wild spaces represent something primal within the consciousness and history of its people. This profound relationship with the wilderness can exist at all levels of
society, from peasant to city dweller. Alexander Belykh’s paintings describe that core connection, and Siberia is the source of his vision. Its colours, its emptiness (of man) and its vastness permeate his work. For an artist to emerge from such an environment is remarkable.
LETTER BOX VILLAGE Matias Tugores tells the story of a village in France
‘DESIGNS RANGE FROM THE UTTERLY CONVENTIONAL TO THE DELIRIOUSLY ECCENTRIC’
No longer a mundane tool of everyday life, the letter boxes of Saint-Martin-d’Abbat, a small village on the banks of the Loire river in France, have become works of folk art in their own right. Dubbed the ‘Letter Box Village’, it boasts some 250 personalised cheery receptacles. It was in 1997 that Michel Lafeuille and his wife, a couple of Parisian artists, thought of endowing it with a cultural identity. There were already a few personalised letter boxes in the village and developing the idea came naturally to them. The Abbatiens, as the inhabitants are called, enthusiastically approved of the project, took out their saws, hammers and brushes and started beautifying their letter boxes.
The quirky custom caught like wildfire and in no time the village’s grey boxes were converted into bright works of folk art, with designs that range from the utterly conventional to the deliriously eccentric. The villagers vie with each other to produce the most original designs. Two or three times a year, the boxes are smartened with a lick of fresh paint; often an old letter box is taken down to be restored or replaced. Each year a competition takes place and the most outstanding letter boxes are rewarded with prizes. The themes and designs are usually related to the villagers’ name, occupation, hobby, or to the place where they live.
Alex Tracy’s Sachets Lauren Woods introduces the miniature works of Alex Tracy
Alex J. Tracy has been a painter from an early age. After tiring of the large paintings encouraged of him at a college near his North London home, he decided to start a more intimate project. Carrying small sketchbooks with him, he sat in his favourite coffee haunts drawing the scenes he saw unfolding around him. Some sketches are very detailed while others are more like abstract line
drawings – ‘It all depended on how long people were sat down’ – and the sketches tell the story of his time in any given coffee shop. His early sketches are covered in curious beige stains, which Tracy says are from the coffee that he was drinking at the time. He used his fingers to transfer coffee from his mug to the page. Tracy is fascinated by the idea of painting on found surfaces: ‘Discarded rubbish always seems like a waste of a surface’, and so he decided to start drawing on used napkins. However, these articles are nowhere to be seen. ‘I used to leave them lying around... I have none left.
THORNTON DIAL Cara Zimmerman looks at the continuing creative process of one of America’s most celebrated self-taught contemporary artists This text is an adapted extract from Thornton Dial: Thoughts on Paper, edited by Bernard L. Herman. Copyright © 2012, University of North Carolina Press. Published in association with the Ackland Art Museum. Used by permission of the publisher. www.uncpress.unc.edu
above Freedom Cloth, 2005, cloth, coat hangers, steel, wire, artificial plants and flowers, enamel and spray paint, 86 x 68 x 51 ins., 218.4 x 172.7 x 129.5 cm.
Conventional readings of Thornton Dial’s artwork tend to view Dial’s works on paper as static in subject and as distinct from his three-dimensional art. This is far from the case. The drawings reveal Dial’s evolving use of line and composition as well as a clear relationship to his monumental constructions, and the circumstances of his individual life and the broader American culture. The medium Dial employs at a given time may well be determined by his current physical or emotional con-
cerns. He created his first drawings in 1990 after an art critic declared that Dial could not draw; the energy of his early compositions reveals his determination to prove the critic wrong. In both sculpture and drawing, in the early and later works, forms are delineated and bound. The drawn armature, like the three-dimensional one, structures and enforces his ideas and visualisations, scaffolding each of Dial’s works on paper.
above left In the Roosevelt Time: Penned In, 2003, pencil, acrylic and watercolour on paper, 44 x 30 ins., 111.8 x 76.2 cm. above right The Last Trip Home (Dianaâ€™s Funeral), 1997, pencil, charcoal and pastel on paper, 44 x 30 ins., 111.8 x 76.2 cm. left Monument to the Minds of the Little Negro Steel Workers, 2001â€“03, steel, wood, wire, twine, artificial flowers, axe blade, glass, bottles, animal bones, cloth, tin cans and enamel, 76 x 138 x 46 ins., 193 x 350.5 x 116.8 cm.
All images courtesy of the artist and The Souls Grown Deep Foundation, unless otherwise stated.