A Hidden Hobby

While in Lausanne, I was able to visit Collection de l’Art Brut, a museum dedicated to showcasing “outsider art,” or art done not by professional artists but by those completely unconnected to the art world.

These artists were often psychiatric patients, whose works many times only discovered after their deaths. I wandered around and viewed the sometimes-odd works, more fascinated by the descriptions of the artists and their lives rather than the pieces themselves.

The exhibit at that time showcased dolls. Life-size children plaster dolls with meticulously detailed clothing, believable facial expressions and varying movements. The artist, Morton Bartlett, made and photographed these dolls throughout his life, mostly in secret. They were discovered after his death, and are now owned by three museums. He was a photographer and graphic designer in Boston, who worked on his dolls (with no previous formal training) for about 30 years until he decided to pack them away in boxes. I wonder, while he was working secretly with this odd hobby, if he could ever guess that one day his dolls and photographs would be in a museum. Would he have liked that? I don’t know, but I felt like I was getting a glimpse into something hidden and intimate, something never meant to be made public.

Image via Art Texts Pics.


Deasy Noel said...

wow.. that's such a neat exhibit. I dunno if I could attend it though, those dolls kinda creep me out and I can imagine a ton of nightmares XD But the idea of non-artsy folks exhibiting their artwork is really interesting.

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