Starting from the viewpoint that Art Brut cannot be differentiated from professional art on the basis of an analysis of either its style or its content, the author questions the nature of the creative process in Art Brut, with reference to his observation of a psychotic artist and to the work of Jean Oury on Creation and Schizophrenia (1989). It is argued that in Art Brut there are three main elements: (i) the need to create which manifests itself as an attempt to cure; (ii) a characteristic attempt to communicate or to install a social bond; and (iii) endless repetition. However, while these elements may be particularly explicit in Art Brut and therefore suggest an interesting perspective for the study of the creative process in general, it is concluded that they do not in themselves constitute a set of distinctive criteria with which to differentiate “Art Brut” from professional art.
Not without irony, the author relates the story of the origin and development of what, in the course of about 45 years of collecting, would become probably the world’s largest collection of Art Brut, Naive and Outsider Art. Charlotte Zander started collecting as a young adult when for the first time she began to earn some money. The objects of her collecting passion were so-called votive pictures and gifts. After her marriage her interest shifted to avant-garde art and still later to Art Brut and Naive Art. The author follows her path from Cologne, via Heidelberg to Munich, where she founded an art gallery and eventually her own museum at Schloss Bönnigheim. With respect to the addictive aspects of collecting, the author stresses the craving to possess an object and the thrill experienced with each new acquisition.
In this paper the author sketches the coming into being and the development of his father’s collection. Thirty five years ago, Leszek Macak acquired his first items of folk art as decoration for his newly built house. Soon his collector’s passion made itself felt, directed in particular towards the folk art of the Polish mountain regions. These recollected episodes illustrate Macak’s tireless efforts to expand his collection as well as his sincere love and admiration for the artists. A chance event resulted in a significant change of focus for the collection, from folk art towards art brut. Finally, some further vicissitudes of his father’s collection are mentioned.
In this interview the Paris-based film maker and art brut collector, Bruno Decharme, talks about his passion for collecting works of art. He speaks poetically of his fascination for the works of psychotic patients and of his attempts as a director to capture the essence of outsider artists in his documentaries. He compares his collection to a creation that tries to provide answers but instead raises new questions.