Susana Gómez Laín
There is a proverb that says ‘there is not a bad thing without something good’ and that happened to me when I went to the funeral of a dearest family friend in Bilbao. I did not expect the gift of being able to attend, by chance, an exhibition of one of my favourite artists, Jean Dubuffet Ardent Celebration in outstanding site of the Guggenheim Museum.
Dubuffet is down to earth and breaks all the rules. His works discover and point out the capacity of creation in the human being through skills, intelligence, age, knowledge or state of mind. He democratizes art and gives recognition to the undistinguished artist we all have inside us. He believes that everybody has an innate capacity to make art from the cradle. It is a gift that all of us can develop.
His works, widely spread along the halls, are affordable, simple, original and cool and so, so contemporary, even though the artistic movement they generated, Art Brut commenced around 1945, as a consequence of much suffering. He gives a feeling of the absurd joy of existence. His works are positive and optimistic in their darkness; and that is bizarre and weird.
We can admire his Phenomena printmaking series where he explored the possibilities of repetitions, with lithographs such as Profile to the right I-XIV (1962). Something much connected with conditions such as autism, Asperger and obsessive behaviours.
The Non-places and Mira series made just before his death in 1985 represent the capacity of creating your own worlds out of your imagination and in that sense we have no limits. Black backgrounds, entanglements, paraboloids, scribbling, basic colours, confusion, chaos; no need to be skilful or elegant. Like a child, pure innocence and expression.
In The Misunderstanding (1978) he paints on loose sheets of paper, cuts them out and then combines them randomly and mysteriously in a childlike technique which is outstanding.
Monigotes come to live as sculptures in the project Cucko Bazaar, a pseudo-theatrical performance with no narrative shown in 1973 at the Guggenheim in New York, visual and left to self-interpretation.
And much more.
In short, this exhibition will take you back to the best of places: your childhood. You will reminisce some of your own childish characters and scribbling hanging on a museum wall and you will regret not to have followed that incipient artistic career of yours but don’t despair you have the rest of your life to try, you only need to search inside you and take any artistic tool and start.
That is what Duffubet always thought.