Jean Dubuffet

The photographic tool

Tuesday to Sunday, 11pm - 6pm.
May 30 - September 23, 2018

Kurt Wyss, Jean Dubuffet on the Closerie Falbala, Périgny-sur-Yerres, August 3rd 1973, © Kurt Wyss, Bâle / Archives Fondation Dubuffet, Paris.

The exhibition presents the first study of the photographic archive conserved at the Fondation Dubuffet, highlighting the artistic production of the artist (paintings, architectural models and elements of the show Coucou Bazar).

When he first began his artistic activity in the 1940s, Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985) invented a photographic referencing system, and as of 1959, he undertook the organization of a secretarial service responsible, among other things, for documenting all of his work throughout the world for the purpose of constituting a catalogue raisonné that was eventually published in separate volumes between 1964 et 1991.

This collection of several thousand phototypes (negatives, prints, albums) was part of the artist’s ambition to establish an exhaustive documentary archive, both to serve his work in progress and to control its distribution. It reveals the attention of Dubuffet to the quality of photographic reproductions and the technical progress of the medium. Even though this organization was symptomatic of his conviction that the work of an artist can only be understood in its entirety, it was also motivated by the need to establish “a map of the road traveled and a list of the places visited.”

Photography was also one of the many tools used by the artist in his work. An iconographic source for some of his series, its multiple character allowed him to reproduce the same elements and to use them in different works. For his exhibition Édifices in 1968, he presented photomontages that incorporated his architectural creations into public space. The photographic projection was introduced in the 1970s as an enlargement process to create elements such as the ‘Praticables’ for his show Coucou Bazar. Finally, the retrospective organized by Fiat in Turin in 1978 broke new ground with a spectacular mise-en-scene that included original works and light projections of other paintings, replete with a multi-projection devoted to his major work, the Closerie Falbala. 

Opening on Tuesday, May 29, 6:00pm


Anne Lacoste, Director, The Institut pour la Photographie des Hauts de France, Sam Stourdzé, Director, Les Rencontres d’Arles, Sophie Webel, Director, Fondation Dubuffet, Paris 

Coordination : Marc Donnadieu, Curator in Chief, Pauline Martin, Curator, with the support of Emilie Delcambre-Hirsch, Curator Assistant, Musée de l’Elysée 

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Exhibition co-produced by the Fondation Dubuffet, the Musée de l’Elysée and the Rencontres d’Arles, with the participation of the Collection de l’Art Brut, Lausanne.


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