Geneva Museum of Ethnography honors “the barbarian” Jean Dubuffet –

The Musée d’ethnographie de Genève (MEG) pays tribute to Jean Dubuffet, French artist behind the concept of brut art. This new exhibition unveils around sixty original works by this painter and sculptor.

“He is a provocateur who plays messy”, declared Baptiste Brun, curator of the exhibition “Jean Dubuffet, un barbare en Europe”. “The course at the MEG makes it possible to show him as an artist, writer, sculptor, builder of building, musician and researcher, to approach it in its totality”, added this specialist.

This exhibition, put together with the collaboration of the Dubuffet Foundation and the Collection de l’Art Brut in Lausanne, is a co-production, which has already been presented at the MUCEM in Marseille and at the Institut d’art moderne in Valence. “It has been adapted and developed for its visit to Geneva,” Boris Wastiau, director of the MEG, told the press.

Visit to Switzerland

The MEG thus presents 323 objects related to the thought of Jean Dubuffet. In the aftermath of World War II, this elusive and controversial artist brings into play a radical critique of the art and culture of his time. He finds a different art in Africa, in Oceania, in children, in psychiatric circles, in prisons or even in graffiti.

The exhibition focuses on the visit that Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985) made to Switzerland in July 1945 in the company of the architect Le Corbusier and the writer Jean Paulhan. He then went to the Musée d’ethnographie de Genève where he met its director Eugène Pittard. This anthropologist notably introduced him to the masks for the Tschäggättä in Lötschental.

>> To see, the teaser of the exhibition:

The MEG thus devotes part of the exhibition to these objects which have shaped the artist’s gaze, in particular these engraved bamboos from New Caledonia. For Jean Dubuffet, who has assembled and archived collections throughout his life, it is a question of looking for productions which, according to him, would be less affected by artistic culture.

Projected fresco

Another part of the exhibition is dedicated to the critique of Western culture. A reproduction of the work “Nunc Stans”, a 22-meter-long fresco that has never been completed, is to be discovered at the end of the course. This enormous dynamic work is projected on a wall.

Young audiences are not left out. Four playful activities, entitled “La petite fabrique de Dubuffet”, invite you to create extraordinary portraits, to play with words and to draw on the walls of a cabin in the style of the “Hourloupe”, with repetitive drawings under form of red and blue stripes.

Radio subject: Sylvie Lambelet

Web adaptation: ld / ats

“Jean Dubuffet, a barbarian in Europe”, from September 8 to February 28, 2021 at Geneva Museum of Ethnography.

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