As we mentioned in our first article on Art Brut Photo BXL, there is not only the intriguing exhibition of the collection of Art Brut Photographs and artworks by Bruno Decharme at the Brussels Botanique, but there are three other exhibits running at three other locations. Just read further…
Text and pictures Hans Knol ten Bensel
First of all, there is la Centrale for Contemporary Art, which is located in the very centre of Brussels, at the Place Saint Catherine, on a stone throw from the Brussels Grand Place, where a further 200 photos are shown from the collection of Bruno Decharme. Here too the artists decline photography away from its supposed objectivity.
They add their phantasies, obsessions, idiosyncrasies to the photos, transfiguring reality and bringing it to another level. The photos range from selfportraits over erotic photos to even archival images, telling individual stories revealing the inner self of the photographer. See the photo below of Tomasz Machinski, a gelatin silver print made in 1996, 15 3/4 by 9 inch. Intriguing, appearing through a dense blur out of the inner self almost, are the photographs of Miroslav Tichy, which you see here below. He studied at the Prague fine arts academy, but ceased his studies in 1948 and turned to photography in 1970. He built his own photographic equipment and made his photographs – mainly of women – by concealing his camera under his pullover, which results in the intriguing haziness of the photos.
Stunning was also the work of Mark Hogancamp, The story of this artist is gripping indeed. On April 8, 2000, Mark Hogancamp was attacked outside of a bar by five men who beat him nearly to death. As a result of this he was left with brain damage that left him little memory of his previous life.
Unable to afford therapy, he created his own memory by building a 1⁄6-scale WW2 era Belgian town in his backyard and populating it with dolls representing himself, his friends, and even his attackers. He called the town “Marwencol”, blending his own name with that of a local bartender Wendy and his neighbor Colleen. Bruno Decharmes has some photos in his collection…
At Art et Marges Musée, you will find a monographic exhibition of Jean-Marie Massou (1950-2020). Art et Marges is a museum hosting self taught artists and artists with a mental handicap or psychological issues. Situated now at the Rue Haute 314 in the heart of Brussels Marollen it has been active since the 80s and boasts now a collection of not less than 4,000 international works.
Jean-Marie Massou, a true figure of art brut, was an original figure at least. He dug gigantic chasms and underground galleries for more than three decades with the strength of his arms to create what he called “The Temple”.
At the same time, he recorded hundreds of messages and premonitory dreams on audio tapes, made hundreds of drawings and collages, carved stones and rocks all around his isolated property in the middle of the forest in the Lot. He called this his “mission”.
“The universal mission”, which aims to “warn humanity that the world is going to its ruin, that it is a matter of protecting those who remain”. We show you here some of his intriguing sculpted objects in plaster, besides his many drawings.
In the Centrale for Contemporary Art runs also an exhibition until March 19 by three remarkable female artists. First there is Maud Gourdon, who experiments with art sculptures inspired and based on poultices, being a plaster consisting mostly of clay which has a medicinal use in wrapping fractured limbs. She has adopted this plaster in her work, to evoke motherly care…
She embeds words or phrases in a black and white grid, depicting the meshes of a knitted sweater.
Then there is Nelleke Cloosterman, with her exhibition Cardshark, and indeed she put big playcard shaped panels in her exhibition, to symbolize the vanity which plays between life and death.
Her paintings depict classical themes, like birds and plants, but for instance the birds don’t have wings, which indicate to the unsuspecting viewer that they might be extinct…
In the window display of La Centrale one can admire until March 5 the Video Project Heavy Mechanics of Irina Favero Longo. The artist poses the fitness pole in relation to the human body and its environment.
Last but not least there is the exhibition at Tiny Gallery, a small museum dedicated to amateur photography, located at a stone’s throw from Place Flagey, which completes the programme with the exhibition Spontaneous-Amateur Photography 1860-1930.
-A selection of tintypes, cyanotypes and albumen prints testifies to amateur practice, whether intentional or accidental, with magical moments allowing us an intimate insight into the lives of strangers who lived over a century ago.
@Centrale for contemporary art
@ Art et marges musée
@ Tiny Gallery