DUBUFFET, Art brut statements and biography quotes by the French artist
JEAN DUBUFFET (1888 – 1976) was the French artist and inventor of ‘Arte brut’ (low art, outsider art) as he labeled the spontaneous and direct art made by non-professionals who created without aesthetic norms like psychiatric patients, prisoners, and children. The essential meaning of Art brut for Dubuffet was its power to reach the emotional and direct source of creation. So Dubuffet was searching and striving for directness and spontaneity in his art, paintings as well as later also sculpture.
* At the bottom more biography story & art links for Jean Dubuffet. When you enjoy his quotes & artist stories, please share them on Facebook, Google +1 or Twitter; – the editor.
Dubuffet: ‘Site avec 5 personages’, painting, 1981
JEAN DUBUFFET, quotes by the French artist on the concept ‘Art brut’ in painting & sculpture
- It was around 1935 or 1936 that I first had the idea of compiling a history of art – not in the usual way, but considering only the fads that have succeeded one another down through the ages. For example, the infatuation in Roman times with broken pleats and heads turned in profile… …or during the epoch of Pérugin and Rahael, a certain blue that appears everywhere. I wanted to draw up an inventory of these vogues. To this end I visited museums, took notes in little notebooks, and made demonstrative sketches of paintings. For this purpose I preferred bad paintings, by which I mean those held to be mediocre by aesthetes, but in which these fads that interested me were clearly in evidence.
* Jean Dubuffet, source of artist quote on creating an private art history in painting: ”Batons rompus”, Jean Dubuffet, Les Editions de Minuit, Paris 1986, pp. 17-18 (French painter / sculptor who coined ‘art brut’; famous for his many spontaneous portrait paintings and public sculptures; at the bottom links for more biography facts of Jean Dubuffet )
- I have always been haunted by the feeling that the painter has much to gain from making use of the forces that tend to work against his action
* Dubuffet, artist quote: ”Jean Dubuffet, Works, writings Interviews”, edited by Valerie da Costa and Fabrice Hergott, Ediciones Polígrafa, Barcelona 2006, p. 9
- In all my works… … I have always had recourse to one never-varying method. It consists in making the delineation of the objects represented heavily dependent on a system of necessities which itself looks strange. These necessities are sometimes due to the inappropriate and awkward character of the material used, sometimes to some strange obsessive notion (frequently changed for another). In a word, it is always a matter of giving the person who is looking at the picture a startling impression that a weird logic has directed the painting of it, a logic to which the delineation of every object is subjected, is even sacrificed, in such a peremptory way that, curiously enough, it forces the most unexpected solutions, and, in spite of the obstacles it creates, brings out the desired figuration.
* artist quote on the delineation of every object in the painting: ”The work of Jean Dubuffet”, Peter Selz and Jean Dubuffet, The Museum of Modern art, New York, 1962
- I had given up ( around 1950, fh) any ambition of making a career as an artist… …I had lost all interest in the art shown in galleries and museums, and I no longer aspired to fit in that world. I loved the paintings done by children, and my only desire was to do the same for my own pleasure.
* Jean Dubuffet, talking about his own start as an artist and his early love for paintings of children: ”Batons rompus”, Jean Dubuffet, Les Editions de Minuit, Paris 1986, pp. 7-8
- A work of art is only of interest, in my opinion, when it is an immediate and direct projection of what is happening in the depth of a person’s being… …It is my belief that only in this ‘Art Brut’ can we find the natural and normal processes of artistic creation in their pure and elementary state.
* Jean Dubuffet, a core quote on Art brut: ”Prospectus et tous écrits suivants”, Vol. ‘II’, Jean Dubuffet, Gallimard, Paris 1967, pp. 203-204
- Our culture is like a garment that does not fit us, or in any case no longer fits us. This culture is like a dead language that no longer has anything in common with the language of the street. It is increasingly alien to our lives.
* source of the artist quote on the cultural climate in France or West-Europe: ”Prospectus et tous écrits suivants”, Vol. ‘II’, Jean Dubuffet, Gallimard, Paris 1967, p. 94
- There is no such thing as abstract art, or else all art is abstract, which amounts to the same thing. Abstract art no more exists than does curved art yellow art or green art.
* Jean Dubuffet’s comment on the concept of abstract art: ”Prospectus et tous écrits suivants”, Vol. ‘II’, Jean Dubuffet, Gallimard, Paris 1967, p. 206
- Man’s need for art is absolutely primordial, as strong as, and perhaps stronger than, our need for bread. Without bread, we die of hunger, but without art we die of boredom.
* his art quote on the human need for art as primordial: ”Prospectus et tous écrits suivants”, Vol. ‘I’; as quoted in ”Jean Dubuffet, Works, writings Interviews”, ed. Valerie da Costa and Fabrice Hergott, Ediciones Polígrafa, Barcelona 2006, p. 14
- (Jean) Fautrier’s exhibition (a French contemporary artist, shown in Paris in 1945, fh) made an extremely strong impression on me. Art had never before appeared so fully realized in its pure state. The word ‘art’ had never before been so loaded with meaning for me.
* Jean Dubuffet’s memory quote of the exhibition of the French painter Fautrier who had a strong impact on him in his ear;y artist life, shortly after the war in 1945, from : a letter to Jean Paulhan (letter 108); as quoted in ”Jean Dubuffet, Works, writings Interviews”, ed. Valerie da Costa and Fabrice Hergott, Ediciones Polígrafa, Barcelona 2006, pp. 23-28
- The technique used heavy, spiky pastes made of nothing other than ordinary oil paint, used thick and mixed with sand and gravel. I some cases – but these were the exception – a few miscellaneous objects were stuck into the wet paint, such as bits of string or little pieces of glass or mirror. (remark on his technique which Dubuffet used in his series ”Hautes Pâtes”, exhibited in 1946, fh)
* artist quotes on the technique of his way of painting during 1946: ”Prospectus et tous écrits suivants”, Vol. ‘II’, Jean Dubuffet, Gallimard, Paris 1967, p. 428
- I have always directed my attempts at the figurative representation of objects by way of summary and not very descriptive brushstrokes, diverging greatly from the real objective measurements of things, and this has led many people to talk about childish drawing… …this position of seeing them (the objects, fh) without looking at them too much, without focusing more attention on them than any ordinary man would in normal everyday life…
* Jean Dubuffet, source of his quote on figurative representation of objects by way of the technique of summary of brushstrokes in his painting art: ”Prospectus et tous écrits suivants”, Vol. ‘II’, Jean Dubuffet, Gallimard, Paris 1967
- What seems interesting to me is to reproduce in the figurative representation of an object the whole complex system of impressions we receive in the normal course of everyday life, the way this affects our feelings and the shape it takes in our memory; and it is to this that I have always applied myself.
* Dubuffet, his quotes on daily life impressions to use them in his art, from: ”Prospectus et tous écrits suivants”, Vol. ‘II’, Jean Dubuffet, Gallimard, Paris 1967, p. 103
- I do not see in what way the face of a man should be a less interesting landscape than any other. A man, the physical person of a man, is a little world, like any other a country, with its towns, and suburbs… …As a rule what is needed in a portrait is a great deal of the general, and very little of the particular.
* art quote on the human face, seen as a landscape with a lot of general aspects, in: ”Prospectus et tous écrits suivants”, Vol. ‘II’, Jean Dubuffet, Gallimard, Paris 1967, pp. 63-73
- I have observed that very often I gain access to a little secret that I have sought for a long time by way of a fortuitous encounter quite unrelated to the matter: for example six months I try to draw a camel in a way that satisfies me, and I make a thousand attempts without ever managing to do it. Then one day it is a drawing of a plump on the label of a pot of jam or the shadow thrown by an ink pot, or something or other equally unrelated to the matter that provides me with the solution. This kind of thing has happened so often that I have acquired the habit of always being on the outlook, and when I want to draw a camel I no longer limit myself, as I once did, to looking (only, fh) at camels…
* Jean Dubuffet, artist quotes on imagination and reality as source for creating art, from : a letter to Jean Paulhan (letter 123); as quoted in ”Jean Dubuffet, Works, writings Interviews”, ed. Valerie da Costa and Fabrice Hergott, Ediciones Polígrafa, Barcelona 2006, p. 44
- I have tried to draw the human effigy (and all the other subjects dealt with in my paintings) in an immediate and effective way without any reference to the aesthetic.
* source of artist quotes on his directness in creating art brut, without any aesthetic: ”Prospectus et tous écrits suivants”, Vol. ‘II’, Jean Dubuffet, Gallimard, Paris 1967, p. 430
- With respect to the use of this sparkling coloured material (butterfly wings around 1955, fh) – the constituent parts of which remain indistinguishable – with the aim of producing a very vivid effect of scintillation, I realized that, for me, this responds to needs of the same order as those that formerly led me, in many drawings and paintings, to organize my lines and patches of colour so that the objects represented would meld into everything around them, so that the result would be a sort of continuous, universal soup with an intensive flavour of life.
* artist quote on letting the represented object melt in its surrounding things as a visual soup full of life: ”Prospectus et tous écrits suivants”, Vol. ‘II’, Jean Dubuffet, Gallimard, Paris 1967, p. 116
- Art should be born from the materials.
* artist quote on the material aspects in creation as an essential force: ”Notes pour les finslettrés”; as quoted in ”Jean Dubuffet, Works, writings Interviews”, ed. by Valerie da Costa and Fabrice Hergott, Ediciones Polígrafa, Barcelona 2006, p.
- I want my street to be crazy, I want my avenues, shops and buildings, to enter into a crazy dance, and this is why I deform and distort their outlines and colours. However I always come up against the same difficulty, that if all the elements were one by one deformed and distorted excessively, if in the end nothing remained of their real outlines, I would have totally effaced the location that I intended to suggest, that I wished to transform.
* Jean Dubuffet, quote on deforming and distorting the outlines and colours of streets and houses in his art brut, to destroy the location tracks: ”Prospectus et tous écrits suivants”, Vol. ‘II’, Jean Dubuffet, Gallimard, Paris 1967, p. 483
- …I have never managed to grasp what exactly ‘pataphysics’ consisted of; but in short what I have always seen in it is a desire to disconnect philosophy from the discipline of logic, and to admit incoherence as a legitimate component of it. (comment on visiting frequently the Collège de ‘Pataphysique’, fh)
* source of artist quote on ‘pataphysics: ”Batons rompus”, Jean Dubuffet, Les Editions de Minuit, Paris 1986, p. 19
- I associated it (the word ‘Hourloupe’, the title of his longest series of work he made exclusively from 1962 to 1974, fh) by assonance with ‘hurler’ (to shout), hululer (to howl), loup, (wolf), ‘Riquet à la Houppe’ and the title of Maupassant’s book ‘Le Horla’, inspired by mental distraction.
* Jean Dubuffet, artist quote on the title of his long series art brut works: ‘Hourloupe’: ‘Biographie au pas de course’, in ”Prospectus et tous écrits suivants”, Vol. ‘IV’, Jean Dubuffet, Gallimard, Paris 1995, p. 510
- …However, I felt that it had led me to live in a parallel world of pure invention, shut inside my solitude. Naturally, it was precisely for that purpose that it was made and that was why I took pleasure in it, but I wanted to regain body and roots.
* Jean Dubuffet, artist quote, from: ”Batons rompus”, Jean Dubuffet, Les Editions de Minuit, Paris 1986, pp. 34-35
- It pleased me (and I think this predilection is more or less constant in all my paintings) to juxtapose brutally, in these feminine bodies, the extremely general and the extremely particular, the metaphysical and the grotesque trivial. In my view, the one is considerably reinforced by the presence of the other. (remark on his series ‘Corps de Dame’)
* art quote on his technique to juxtapose brutally the extremely general and the extremely particular of bodies: ”Prospectus et tous ecits suivants”, Vol. ‘II’, Jean Dubuffet, Paris, Gallimard, 1967
- What interests me about thoughts is not the moment when it crystallizes into formal ideas but its earlier stages.
* Jean Dubuffet, quote on the appearance of thoughts in the early stage of creation: ”Prospectus et tous écrits suivants”, Vol. ‘I’, Jean Dubuffet, Gallimard, Paris 1967, p. 97
- Art does not lie down on the bed that is made for it; it runs away as soon as one says its name; it loves to go incognito. Its best moments are when it forgets what it is called.
* Jean Dubuffet, artist quote on the unpredictable character of art with its own life: “Alan Magee: Paintings, Sculpture, Graphics.” Forum Gallery, New York, 2004
- At present (around 1970-80, fh) I make objects (whether a type-writer, wheelbarrow, bed or fishing boat…) very ‘hourloupés’. What I mean is that I am swimming upstream against the ‘l’Hourloupe’ current. I am approaching it from the opposite direction: instead of starting out with indeterminate lines that eventually give me a wheelbarrow, I start out with the idea of making a wheelbarrow and then add my indeterminate lines. In effect what I am doing is making the current run simultaneously in both directions at the same time.
* artist quote on his ‘hourloupés’ technique or attitude, to create his art brut, around 19760 – 80: comment on the occasion of his 1984 exhibition at the Venice Biennale; as quoted in ”Jean Dubuffet, Works, writings Interviews”, edited by Valerie da Costa and Fabrice Hergott, Ediciones Polígrafa, Barcelona 2006, p. 81
- Starting from a drawing, a pure creation of the mind, I expand it in space by giving it three dimensions, by giving it a material body (in polystyrene, fh) and then enlarge it to the proportions of a site where it can evolve. In this way, instead of having only the drawing before you while remaining anchored in the everyday world, you can finally leave the world and penetrate into drawing, and thus inhabit the creation of the mind instead of merely looking at it prudently in a frame on the wall. The experience consists, therefore, in abstracting yourself totally from the natural everyday world in order to feed your eyes solely on your own mental elaborations.
* Jean Dubuffet, his quote on using the material body for his artwork in polystyrene and then enlarge it as sculpture for the specific site, (like his large walkable object in the garden of Kröller-Müller museum in the Netherlands, f.h.): note of 7 mai 1968, quoted in the catalogue of the exhibition La Fiast invita all’incontro con Jean Dubuffet, Turin 1978
not sourced artist quotes by the artist Jean Dubuffet – art brut
- Painting manipulates materials that are themselves living substances, which allows one to go much further than words do in approaching and conjuring them.
Jean Dubuffet’s artist quotes??
editor Fons Heijnsbroek
art links for more biography information about the French painter, sculptor Jean Dubuffet; Art Brute