The exhibition THE OUTSIDER SPIRIT is being shown to the public from March 12th to August 14th, 2024 at the Musée d’Art Brut & Art Singulier – Halle Saint Pierre, Paris, a selection of works belonging to the TREGER SAINT SILVESTRE collection, held at the Oliva Art Centre in São João da Madeira, Portugal.
Its two founders, Richard Treger and António Saint Silvestre, guided by their passion, intuition and hearts, have over 4 decades put together a collection marked by a devotion to Art Brut. Galvanised by the decentring spirit and radical subversiveness of this artistic field, which Jean Dubuffet set about collecting and surveying, they have yet to stop updating his legacy.
The collection, inspired by Dubuffet, and by the artists they have accumulated over the years, is testament to a preternatural ability to strike out alone and, as Dubuffet said, be eager to explore and experiment, to adopt forms of expression beyond those our culture imposes upon us (more precisely: a different way of looking, and interpreting the world, another vocabulary and consequently how we grasp this vocabulary, ergo another way of thinking).
If this collection does bring together the great historical names of Art Brut, it is also open to new practices, mediums and geographies. There’s no doubt that the intimate relationship both have had with their upbringings in Africa and its creative inspirations – Zimbabwe for Richard, pianist, and Mozambique in the case of António, sculptor – have influenced their approach to Art Brut and their appreciation of these works created at moments of social or mental otherness.
The two thousand-odd works they have amassed over the years are not in thrall to one single aesthetic doctrine or formal bias, and if such a thing is perceptible, neither is it a school nor a movement endemic to an artistic culture, but rather belonging to another family tree: that of the creative instinct.
These artists draw, paint, sculpt, forage among our leftovers, or look to Nature for traces and impressions. Which they then recompose, affix, photograph.
Explorers of archaic languages or illusionists of raw materials, primitive dabblers or creators of “great art”, or even freethinking professional artists who strive to make the world a better, or more liveable place.
These artists prefer the freedom of taking the road less travelled to being one of the artistic, or social herd, and whose humanity shines through in their passion, despair, certainties, madness, dreams and rebelliousness.
Far from regurgitating what has come before them, their haunted, dense works, laden with excess but also poetry, are a stage for an intimate sharing of private mythologies, where the anguish of death is not incompatible with the joy of being alive, in response to the intolerable human condition.
The TREGER SAINT SILVESTRE collection plunges us into the magic of another world, at once familiar and unknown, in the place where art and madness take their vows, where origin interweaves with and becomes culture, and the intimate universal, a world without which the power of the imagination and symbolism would be lost once and for all, and the discovery of new horizons, impossible.
Eugene Von Bruenchenhein
Jorge Alberto Cadi
Derrick Alexis Coard
Dado (Miodrag Djuric)
Damián Valdés Dilla
Erró (Guðmundur Guðmundsson)
Alfredo Garcia Revuelta
Karl Hans Janke
Misleidys Francisca Castillo Pedroso
Giovanni Battista Podestà
Prophet Royal Robertson
Mary Tillman Smith
Jimmy Lee Sudduth
John Henry Toney
Theo ( Théodore Wagemann)