Epopee Celesti – Art Brut nella collezione Decharme

Texts: Gustavo Giacosa, Barbara Safarova.
ISBN: 979-10-95991-36-6
24 x 31 cm
172 pages + poster plié
Design: Syndicat

Empire, Villa Medici, abcd / Système B
28 €


A veritable panorama of Art Brut at an international level, through 180 works selected from Bruno Decharme’s collection.
Art brut has never ceased to shake up the history of art and nourish minds resistant to norms as it questions classic notions of art and creation as well as those relating to the normal and the pathological. But who are they, these artists of a special kind, witnesses to another world, strangers to stylistic trends and influences? They stay—or are kept—away from the culture of fine art as well as the codes and places that constitute it such as schools, academies, museums, art fairs, etc.
Works considered to be art brut, or outsider art in the English-speaking world, employ highly creative abilities that are directly in touch with the anomalies of the contemporary world such as war, destruction, social and economic injustice, child abuse (Henry Darger), propaganda images, and oppressive regimes (Ramon Losa, Lázaro Antonio Martínez Durán, Alexander Lobanov).
Isolation, confinement, or exile sometimes drive the artist to escape into a fictional exploration of the universe (Adolf Wölfli), reinvent a parallel world (Aloïse Corbaz), or summon spirits, ghosts, hybrid creatures, and monstrous beasts that have always inhabited our collective unconscious.
Anthropomorphic figures, intimate geographies, talismanic drawings, mental cartographies, Indian temples, and Baroque architecture are all encountered on this journey between the margins. On the farthest fringes of the imagination, lost in reality, splashed with stars, the “outsiders” are constantly redrawing the contours of a universe they invent as they go along. With freedom and otherness as their only compasses, they gather, collect, fill in, decipher, blacken, distort, amplify, organize, and build. Without filters, they embark on great celestial epics.
The obsession and perseverance of collector Bruno Decharme, who has devoted his life to building up one of the world’s most important collections of art brut, invites us to question our convictions and take a benevolent look at the very notion of creation, putting forward the idea that to create a world is to create art.



Published on the occasion of the eponymous exhibition at Villa Medici, Rome, in 2024



Featuring A.C.M., Noviadi Angkasapura, Anselme Boix-Vives, Marie Bodson, Giovanni Bosco, Gustavo Enrique Buongermini, Aloïse Corbaz, Fleury-Joseph Crépin, Egidio Cuniberti, Henry Darger, Fernand Desmoulin, Janko Domsic, Dong-Hyun Kim, Jaime Fernandes, Eugen Gabritschevsky, Pietro Ghizzardi, Madge Gill, Paul Goesch, Jorge Alberto Hernández Cadi, Paul Humphrey, Zdeněk Košek, Joseph Lambert, Gustave Pierre Marie Le Goarant de Tromelin, Augustin Lesage, Pascal Leyder, Alexander Pavlovitch Lobanov, Ramon Losa, Dwight Mackintosh, Lázaro Antonio Martínez Durán, Mettraux, Edmund Monsiel, John Bunion Murray, Iwona Mysera, Koji Nishioka, Masao Obata, Jean Perdrizet, M. Pierron, Photographies Spirites, Miloslava Ratzingerová, Marco Raugel, Achilles G. Rizzoli, Leopold Strobl, Harald Stoffers, Mose Tolliver, Melvin Way, Scottie Wilson, Adolf Wölfli, Anna Zemánková, Carlo Zinelli, Unica Zürn.


After studying philosophy and art history, Bruno Decharme became a film director. In the mid-1970s, his encounter with Jean Dubuffet’s art brut collection proved decisive. Since then, he has divided his time between cinema and his collection. In 2021, he donated nearly a thousand works to the Musée National d’Art Moderne – Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. He is a member of the Art Brut Steering Committee at the Bibliothèque Kandinsky – Centre Pompidou.

Poster Photo Magazine no.1: Antonio Masotti