Outsider art

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

There isn’t a universal definition for art. There aren’t absolute canons and standards in space and time, who define what is art and what is not art. There are models, artistic movements, techniques, but also forms of outsider art.

«Out of the official artistic or experimental culture, there is an independent expressive production, where a creator spirit exhibit itself spontaneously: it doesn’t follow models, it ignores the artistic movements and the techniques. It doesn’t choose an extern finality for his internal necessity, but it creates its rules and its lexicon», as Eva Di Stefano*, teacher of History of Contemporary Art at the University of Palermo, president of the association Osservatorio Outsider Art** and member of the European Outsider Art Association, writes.

So, Outsider Art. This expression has been coined by Roger Cardinal, Art historian and emeritus professor at the Kent University, author of the namesake book published in 1972. The expression was coined in the wake of the notion of Art Brut, invented in 1945 by the French artist Jean Dubuffet.

The Art Brut works collected by Dubuffet are exposed on the Collection de l’Art Brut in a Lausanne, Switzerland. The tile pic represents actually an exhibition space in the museum.

«[…] Outsider Art is a more flexible term than the historic label of Art Brut – as Di Stefano explains – and has permitted the growth of a real parallel art system with its museums, its galleries, its collectors, its magazines, its exhibitions and its auctions». If you click on the links above, you can discover some of the destinations of this parallel art system. Through the exhibitions to refer to, we can find the Outsider Art Fair, a biennial that will take place on January in New York and on October in Paris.

You can find Outsider Art productions also outside museums. «The necessary creation could manifest itself also as an environmental work: an instinctive and visionary construction, a garden or a building characterized by an original, decorative and sculptural totality, parks with sculptures and assemblies, often realized with recycled materials, works born from the dedication and the obsession of a self-taught and independent creator», still explains Di Stefano.


Through the most famous environmental Outsider Art works, we can find the Palais idéal du facteur Cheval realized by Ferdinand Cheval in Hauterives, France, and the Watts Towers built by Sabato “Simon” Rodia in Los Angeles, USA.

Before saying goodbye, we want to report you other two useful sources to discover other pieces of outsider art: Outsider Art Now and the section Outsider Art by Atlas Obscura.

Enjoy your work with 6tour!

*La creazione necessaria – Eva Di Stefano, Quaderni d’altri tempi, 64/2016 (source available only in Italian)

**source available only in Italian

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