Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Jean Dubuffet 2 LP's (Art Brut/NWW List)
Influenced by Hans Prinzhorn's book Artistry of the Mentally Ill, Dubuffet coined the term Art Brut for art produced by non-professionals working outside aesthetic norms, such as art by mental patients, prisoners, and children. He amassed his own collection of such art, including artists such as Aloïse Corbaz and Adolf Wölfli. The collection is now housed at the Musée de l'Art Brut in Lausanne, Switzerland. Dubuffet sought to create an art as free from intellectual concerns as Art Brut, and his work often appears primitive and child-like...
In late 1960-1961, Dubuffet began experimenting with music and sound and made several recordings with the Danish painter Asger Jorn.
The first tape produced in these circumstances is rather unusual as it is a poem, La fleur de barbe, which is declaimed, chanted and vaguely sung by several voices mixed together (which are all in fact mine) with occasional instrumental accompaniment. The subsequent recordings are the result of two diverging approaches which I hesitated between and which are probably both apparent in at least some pieces. The first was an attempt to produce music with, a very human touch, in other words, which expressed people's moods and their drives as well as the sounds, the general hubbub and the sonorous backdrop of our everyday lives, the noises to which we are so closely connected and, although we don't realize it, have probably endeared themselves to us and which we would be hard put to do without. There is an osmosis between this permanent music which carries us along and the music we ourselves express; they go together to form the specific music which can be considered as a human beings. Deep down I like to think of this music as music we make, in contrast to another very different music, which greatly stimulates my thoughts and which I call music we listen to. The latter is completely foreign to us and our natural tendencies; it is not human at all and could lead us to hear (or imagine) sounds which would be produced by the elements themselves, independent of human intervention. They would be as strange as what we might hear if we were to put our ear to some opening leading to a world other than our own or if we were to suddenly develop a new form of hearing with which we would become aware of a strange tumult that our senses had been unable to pick up and which might come from elements which were supposedly involved in silent action, such as humus decomposing, grass growing or minerals undergoing transformation. I should point out that in both these categories of music and even when I blend them into one and the same (never mind if this seems illogical), there is a clear preference for very composite sounds which appear to be formed by a great number of voices calling to mind distant murmurs, communities, hustle and bustle and hives of activity. I also have a preference for music without variations, not structured according to a particular system but unchanging, almost formless, as though the pieces had no beginning and no end but were simply extracts taken haphazardly from a ceaseless and ever-flowing score. I must admit that I find this idea very pleasing.