The art of the mentally ill
In 1945, the French artist Jean Dubuuffe coined the term “art-brut”, which means “rough”, “hard” art.
Quite often, the authors of art brut’s works were mentally ill people, “holy fools”, “freaks”, and “mediums”. Their art did not fit into the academic framework, and instead of university teachers of painting and drawing, voices often appeared, indicating how and what to draw.
“Before the work on the picture begins, I have no idea what will be drawn. Spirits tell me: “Do not try to find out what you will create.” And I follow their instructions. When I take a tube of paint, I don’t know what color it is. I understand that this is unbelievable, but I follow my mentors like a child, ”admitted Augustin Lezage, probably one of the brightest representatives of“ rough art ”. This hereditary miner began to paint only at the age of 35.Once, while working in a mine, Lezage heard a voice telling him that he would become an artist. The prophecy was reinforced in speretic sessions, where Lezazha was invited by friends. Eight months after the session, he creates his first big picture – a canvas 3 × 3 meters in size, on which hundreds of small figures are located. Lezage often signed his work in the name of Leonardo da Vinci, believed that he knew the secrets of the ancient Egyptian priests. Complex, ornamental, often with symmetrical fragments, they are recognized as genuine works of art. If you discard the discourse on perfume and include dry terminology, Lessange created his work by the method of automatic writing. No sketches and sketches, no preparatory work.
We can say that in general, the fate of this artist was successful. In 1927, he quit mining work and devoted himself entirely to painting. The fashion for speritism had not yet come to naught, and Auguste Lezage was a member of a society of rich people who were fond of otherworldly phenomena. Of course, not all representatives of art brut had a lifetime recognition or material independence. Chinese Tsang Tsou Choi (Tsang Tsou Choi) all his life working in low-paid jobs, and died in a nursing home. Now his graffiti is known and admired by art critics, but during his lifetime the artist got into the police several times in connection with the charge of vandalism. Tsang-Zou-Choi was obsessed with the idea of his imperial origin, which means that the Kowloon district of Hong Kong should belong to him
The artist weaved imperial titles into his calligraphy, calling himself Emperor Kovlun. This obsession embodied on the walls of the Kovlun quarter is strikingly different from the automatic writing of Lazazh. And at the same time, both artists are the brightest representatives of art brut. The “voices” guiding Auguste Lazazh’s hand and the imperial idea of Tsang Zou Choi gave birth to amazing works of art, works that could not appear in the walls of academies.