Halles St-Pierre – the Museum of Outsiders

Outsider art, or “Brut Art” is art made by artists that lack classical training and “proper” materials. More often than not, these artists display cases of severe OCD, Autism, and other mental illnesses, which can be seen heavily reflected in their artwork. This can make the artwork incredibly expressive,  as well as incredibly unique.

Personally, I love outsider art, which makes this museum one of my favorites in Paris.

This visit’s theme was Japanese Outsider art, which featured artists such as Shinichi Sawada, Yosuke Nishiyama, and many others. Some of my favorite artworks were by Shinichi Sawada, who has severe autism. His pieces are very expressive, with obvious and sometimes a startling amount of emotion expressed through them. This gives the pieces a certain “life” so to speak; a sort of essence beyond what some other paintings and sculptures have to offer.

Yosuke Nishiyama had a much more fantastical style, with maps of imaginary places, and lots of scribbles and repetitive numbers. These numbers and scribbles could be signs of OCD, which could explain the systematic style of the art.  The “maps” are made up of small sketches: people, televisions, faces, animals, etc. These little details give life to the drawings and form an expression to them.

However, my absolute favorite of all the artworks was by Yasuhiro Kobayashi. The piece was a series of 4 identical cities, which slowly lose buildings and pieces as the date on the top grows with the progression of time. This series carried a very dark, intense message, possibly showing a deterioration of the mind, where the things you know slowly fade away, leaving behind only a blank slate.

The first and last of the series by Yasuhiro Kobayashi:

Some of the works by Shinichi Sawada:

Some of the maps by Yosuke Nishiyama:

1 Comment

Filed under In Paris

One response to “Halles St-Pierre – the Museum of Outsiders

  1. Arthur Dalley

    Eli–what a great contribution to the dalleyfamily blog. Very well written, and of course I agree with your perspective. Hopefully sometime in the not-so-distant future you might be able to take a shorter trip to see the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore MD, also dedicated to “outsider, raw, intuitive or brut” art. I haven’t been to such museums outside the US, but this is definitely a favorite of mine among US museums. Truly mind blowing stuff.
    I am so glad that your family is able to have such great opportunities, and that everyone is taking full advantage.

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