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Jean Dubuffet (1901 – 1985)


One of the most famous European painters and sculptors of the second half of the 20th century.
Jean Dubuffet
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. (on his series 'Corps de Dame')
Dubuffet quotes
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.
Dubuffet
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 realised 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.




Dubuffet Jean quotes
What interests me about thoughts is not the moment when it crystallises into formal ideas but its earlier stages.
Dubuffet Jean
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 quotes
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
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.
Dubuffet Jean quotes
There is no such thing as abstract art, or else all art is abstract, which amounts tot the same thing. Abstract art no more exists than does curved art yellow art or green art.
Dubuffet
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 Jean
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.
Jean Dubuffet
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.




Jean Dubuffet quotes
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.
Jean Dubuffet
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…
Dubuffet quotes
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.
Dubuffet Jean
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 focussing more attention on them than any ordinary man would in normal everyday life..
Dubuffet Jean quotes
I associated it (the word 'Hourloupe', as 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 ? la Houppe’ and the title of Maupassant’s book ‘Le Horla’, inspired by mental distraction.
Jean Dubuffet
(Jean) Fautrier’s exhibition (in Paris 1945,fh) made an extremely strong impression on me. Art had never before appeared so fully realised in its pure state. The word 'art' had never before been so loaded with meaning for me.
Jean Dubuffet quotes
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.
Jean Dubuffet
I took a great deal of pleasure in it, and I still feel nostalgic about it. 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.
Dubuffet Jean
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.


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