Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Art Brut and Psychiatry

Madman, schizophrenic, prisoner, handicapped, deaf-mute, illiterate... at Les Halles Saint-Pierre in Montmartre where the exhibition "Banditi dell'Arte" features works from known or anonymous Italian artists who have in common a total freedom of expression. Without any formal education, they are driven by an uncontrolled inner force to create works of art and their production has been labelled Raw Art or Art Brut.
The exhibition which occupies two levels of the building starts with colorful paintings and sculptures of dragons, alligators, birds. Is the bestiary from Rosario Lattuca 1926-1999, born from his imagination or a state of delirium?
Orest Fernando Nannetti, diagnosed with schizophrenia, carved the walls of the psychiatric hospital in Voltera with the buckle of his vest during the nine years of his confinement. Words and pictures became his way to freedom.  
Well-known Giovanni Podesta is heavily influenced by the Church: crosses, religious themes, red and gold colors cover paintings, sculptures or furniture.  
The media include embroidery to describe naive happy dreamlike scenes or plaster and gauze to shape tortured masks, Versino G uses pieces of the mops he is cleaning the hospital with to fabricate costumes, boots, hats.
Eugenio Lanzi's art is getting a lot of attention from his physician who comments on the pipes made of wood, stones, bones. He notices that the production is repetitive, theme and style are frozen. 
Franscesco Toris, suffering from paranoia and autism, carves his "New World" with the bones left over from the psychiatric hospital's kitchen, without glue or nails. 
Carlo Zinelli, very prolific during his years spent at the psychiatric hospital is represented by several of his paintings. His naive style is recognizable with little personages, symbols, he creates a surrealist world.
On the second level, the exhibition goes on with photographs from giant works, locally famous, like Angelo Stagnaro in Ligura with his "bombo-sculptures", Vincent Brunetti in Puglia, Fiorenzo Pilia with his "Enchanted Garden" in Sardaigna or Filippo Bentivenga in Sicily, with his "Enchanted Castle", forms of Land Art. 
Madmen, geniuses or both? The artists are now recognized and their works make up the permanent collection of the Collection de l' Art Brut in Lausanne.

photograph from the Website   http://www.hallesaintpierre.org/
no photographs allowed

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