5 Things That Make Art 'Art Brut'

A large Art Brut exhibition in South East Asia introducing the works of 51 Thai and Japanese artists...

By Bangkok Art and Culture Centre

Bangkok Art and Culture Center

Untitled by Marie SuzukiBangkok Art and Culture Centre

What is Art Brut?

“Art Brut” isn’t a new paradigm of art pedagogy regardless of the fact that some audience never experienced a sincere invention of aesthetics created by artists outside art school. Marking its inception in 1945 by Jean Dubuffet, Art Brut serves as a particular genre of creativity, exposing hidden dialogue and demonstration of arts in a naïve, raw, free, and unexplainable and ruleless form. 

Jean Dubuffet, From the collection of: Bangkok Art and Culture Centre
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“Do not consider themselves to be artists and they do not designate their production as art”

Untitled by Takeshi HosotaniBangkok Art and Culture Centre

Why is Art Brut interesting ?

Art Brut is interesting, because this art is done by a person or a group of socially and culturally isolated people such as people with disabilities, prisoners, non-art training artists, and senior citizens, etc. These outsider artists employ creativity and express it for personal purposes.

Untitled by Makoto TakamaruBangkok Art and Culture Centre

5 Sections of Art Brut 

For more understanding about Art Brut..."Thailand and Japan ART BRUT: Figure of Unknown Beauty” is a large Art Brut exhibition in South East Asia in collaboration between Japan and Thailand divided into five sections: 1. Repetition, Dense and Homogenous 2. Raw materials and creation in everyday life 3. Desire, the source, what makes them create 4. Art, which is born of a relationship and 5. For further creation

Untitled by Yoshihiko ItoBangkok Art and Culture Centre

1. Repetition, Dense and Homogenous 

This section presents works on the topic of "Rawness“, an Art Brut characteristic, which highlights the freshness and the expressions which seem to spring out from the inside. For example the untitled artwork from Yoshihiko ITO, Shinichi SAWADA and Pasin Singhsaneh.

Untitled by Yoshihiko ItoBangkok Art and Culture Centre

Straight bottomless gaze, energetic spikes, and eye - opening colors, what was produced 15 - 30 years ago with the name "Face of the Demon". Ito, who had direct and destructive impulses, would often clash with those around him when conveying his thoughts. Clay which you can handle with force and leaves a shape when you put a finger into it was probably the only thing that accepted his mind.

Untitled by Shinichi SawadaBangkok Art and Culture Centre

The thorns are lined up and seem to keep away from each other while the forms of the body are round and are peculiarly asymmetrical. The works have a mysterious air of aggression and affinity, balance and imbalance. 

Untitled by Pasin SinghsanehBangkok Art and Culture Centre

For these paintings, Pasin used acrylic colors to create paintings of anything in his life such as people he's close to, residences or flowers. He will create artworks eveyday. For him, art is emotional communication.

Untitled by Noriko HigashimotoBangkok Art and Culture Centre

Besides rawness, repetition is also important characteristic of this section. For this artwork, Noriko created colorful geometric patterns of dots on a bubble wrap roll for 6 years, It looks as if it was carefully calculated and then drawn, but Noriko applied the colors one by one from the edges guided only by her intention, and this repetition culminated in this large abstract painting.

Untitled by Noriko HigashimotoBangkok Art and Culture Centre

Untitled by Teppei UmekiBangkok Art and Culture Centre

2. Raw Materials and Creation in Everyday Life
This section shows the production
environment and look at materials and techniques from the fact that they are
used and created in everyday life. For
example this extraordinary artwork from Kanasaki

Untitled by Teppei UmekiBangkok Art and Culture Centre

The patterns are reminiscent of marbling or a topographical map, and it is hard to tell what shapes they imitate. Those who have seen the works by Kanasaki will be overwhelmed by their power and puzzled by their in excitability. Kanasaki applies wood glue in many layers over advertising leaflets and pages of magazines ,and finishes the works by sanding their surface. The hours used to repeatedly glue and sand the paper are stored within these works. 

Untitled by Makoto TakamaruBangkok Art and Culture Centre

These eyeglass frames are also made from material in everyday used. They are formed using only cellophane tape, painted over with an oil marker and completed in about 15 minutes. These eyeglass frames were all made for wearing. The artist has made more than several thousands of these items and often wears them in his daily life. In addition, he continuously reproduces and copies photographs from his early childhood. The parts that were cut off when copying are completed with additional drawings. Through faithfully reproducing the fixed forms of ready-made products and photographs he proves that originality is born, and the uniqueness of its creative energy is overwhelming.

Untitled by Thiti KaowprathanaBangkok Art and Culture Centre

The other artworks which created by paper are vehicle models from Thiti. He is interested in the aesthetic beauty of public vehicles such as transit buses, cargo trucks, tour buses, taxis, or customized personal cars. His happiness is learning the intricacies of vehicle components and creating the vehicle models by a single sheet of paper and adhesive tape. 

Untitled, Thiti Kaowprathana, From the collection of: Bangkok Art and Culture Centre
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Untitled by Shota KatsubeBangkok Art and Culture Centre

Artist produces his figurines from aluminum strips that contain metal wires. His works are becoming increasingly diverse from year to year, and they have attained a new level of realness. He started this practice because he wanted something to carry around him, so he keeps his favorite figurines by his side, and the ones that are allowed to be displayed are those to which he is least attracted.

Untitled by Shota KatsubeBangkok Art and Culture Centre

Object made of Tape by Teppei UmekiBangkok Art and Culture Centre

Last artwork in this section made from the tape. Umeki has liked the alphabet from young age. He began wrapping cut-out pieces of paper with tape to laminate them and has been producing works containing pebbles he picked up about 10 years ago which serve as the core. Lately, he has been using himself as the core by wrapping himself with tape, and using the unwrapped tape, he has created a work of about 1 meter in length.

Object made of Tape, Teppei Umeki, From the collection of: Bangkok Art and Culture Centre
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Untitled by Supalerk SangsaiBangkok Art and Culture Centre

3. Desire, the source, what makes them create

The section presents the authors’ thoughts and wishes which were at the source of creation. For example, paintings of a famous unique creator 'Supalerk Sangsai'.

Untitled by Supalerk SangsaiBangkok Art and Culture Centre

In social media and among vendors in Khao San Rd. Supalerk Sangsai is renowned for his style of dress, facial makeup, and the paintings of people he brings with him whenever he goes. Supalerk escapes from a family that disapproved of his choice of gender identity, he decided to live on the street, resulting in an abnormal mental condition. At age 15 or 16 he began doing paintings of beauty pageant winners. Paintings kept by the family show the fundamental devotion of the artist to his subject. His works display confidence, courage, and resolve. His skill with the brush is free, fearless, and straightforward in communicating the beauty and the confidence of 21st century beauty. 

Untitled by Catleeya AsavanantBangkok Art and Culture Centre

Supalerk created his artworks from passion and desire, as two Thai creators 'Catleeya Asavanant' and 'Madee Boonchuen'. For Catleeya, although she studied at art studies institute, her artistic works are not representative of institutional art. Her presentations feature adventures in imagination, beloved people and pets, beliefs, and a variety of emotional conditions, and a departure from guidelines and specifications that illustrates her artistic freedom. Most of her works rely on straightforward expression rather than ornamentation and embellishments suggested by artistic study or art fundamentals.

Untitled by Madee BoonchuenBangkok Art and Culture Centre

For Madee, he was a driver and professional transporter of art works and has been a familiar figure in art circles for ten years. He spends time doing line drawings and quick sketches for paintings and uses himself as a subject for his compositions: portraits of himself nude, with possessions, cooking tools, plants, rural wooden houses mixed with different environments he's encountered.

Untitled by Megumu ChoBangkok Art and Culture Centre

This artwork created by the impression in hand bells sound. Megumu Cho draws on empty boxes. He is a Christian and he like to draw angels. The hand bells in their hands appeared after he heard a hand bell performance and was deeply moved. Cho continues to draw plump angels in various poses.

Untitled by Hanako ImamuraBangkok Art and Culture Centre

4. Art, which is born of a relationship

This section focuses on the background of the production and introduces the relationship between the artists and others around them. The authors of Art Brut do not voluntarily unveil their works. There are many cases in which the works get revealed to the world by first becoming known to the people around the artists such as family members and supporters, who were in the background of a work when it was born and became known.

Untitled by Hanako ImamuraBangkok Art and Culture Centre

First of all, we are not sure that these are artworks? Because these seem a documentary of the girl 'Hanako IMAMURA'. The everyday life of Imamura is full of expressions. As she eats, she chewed her food slowly and left it in different places. It is an act which one is normally scolded for, but her mother, who felt an attachment to these unique arrangements, has been recording them for over 20 years. The oil paintings from about 30 years ago were made following a fixed process and are closely linked to the physical senses. Imamura's unique sense of color also showed on the paper palettes she uses for oil paintings which her mother secretly collects.

Diary by Takanori HeraiBangkok Art and Culture Centre

And this work, you can see regular geometric patterns that are drawn on the paper. This is a part of a Takanori HERAI's diary. He has been making it in his room for over ten years. One would not expect to see letters written there, but he kept writing the same sentences with regularity changing only the figures for the dates and temperature. For many years, his practice remained a mystery, but about 15 years ago, a staff member who was intrigued by his works decided to patiently communicate with Herai who had difficulties communicating with other people, and discovered that it was a diary revealing the content of its pages.

Untitled, Takanori Herai, From the collection of: Bangkok Art and Culture Centre
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Untitled by Hideyuki Igarashi and Masanori KurachiBangkok Art and Culture Centre

5. For Further Creation

The last section shows collaborative works of contemporary artists and Art Brut artists who attempted new creations. The most interesting collaborative work of this exhibition belongs to Hideyuki Igarashi and Masanori Kurachi

Untitled by Hideyuki Igarashi and Masanori KurachiBangkok Art and Culture Centre

Igarashi got interested in paintings by people with developmental disabilities. He met Kurachi who suffers from autism. The two started the drawing method called "Reciprocal Drawing" in 1994 and the number of their works has actually exceeded 5,000 at the end of the 1990s. The practice of a thorough analysis of the questions and issues that Igarashi felt through painting together with Kurachi is beyond the field of arts, and it has been developed further in collaboration with experts in various fields such as education, medical care or childcare.

Untitled by Hanako ImamuraBangkok Art and Culture Centre

"...they are like raw fruit, with special vitamins which nourish and enrich us. I think these nutritional supplements exist only in raw art, uncontaminated by culture.” Dubuffet expresses the characteristics of the works this way.

Credits: Story

Exhibition Name: Thailand and Japan ART BRUT: Figure of Unknown Beauty
Curators: Seina Kimoto and Suebsang Sangwachirapiban Viewing Period: 19th July – 3rd November 2019, at Main Gallery on 8th floor, Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, Thailand.

Organized by:
- Bangkok Art and Culture Centre
- Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan
- International Exchange Program Executive Committee for
Disabled people’s Culture and Arts, JAPAN
- The Rainbow Room Foundation, THAILAND
Principal Supporter: Thai Beverage Public Company Limited
Project Supporter: DG Arts & Crafts Company Limited
Photos: Bangkok Art and Culture Centre

Bangkok Art and Culture Centre
Address: 939 Rama 1 Road, Wangmai, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
Opening Time: Tuesday - Sunday, at 10.00 - 19.00 hrs. (closed on Mondays), last admission to Main Gallery at 18.30 hrs.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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