Located in the heart of Brussels, the Art et marges museum, museum of outsider art, questions art and its borders.

What is Outsider Art?

Outsider Art, also known as Art Brut, is a term used for art that is not made with the current art world in mind. Outsider artists do not take into account the rules and trends. Often because they do not enter the art world. The artists create from a pure creative drive. This makes Outsider Art authentic, contrarian and unconventional.

For a long time there was a separate movement in the art world for art that emerged outside the mainstream art world, under the name Outsider Art. This art is made by people without art training, who often, but not exclusively, suffer from psychological problems. Nowadays the dividing line between Outsider Art and ‘normal’ art is much thinner.

Jean Pol, Sans titre n.d., mixed media, coll. Campagn’Art

Is there actually a difference?

This question is central in all exhibitions at the Art et marges museum, where mix artists on both sides of the margin, cross-examine the boundaries of art and its definition.

The museum’s collection was created in the mid-1980s by self-taught artists, artistic workshops for people with mental disabilities or in psychiatric settings. Nowadays it is composed of more than 4000 international artworks produced outside the frequented trails of art.

About the Exhibition “High voltage”

Currently, the exhibition “High voltage” is showcased at the museum and can be visited until 12th June, and there you can discover the works by different artists: Franco Bellucci, Heide De Bruyne, Eric Derochette, Cecile Franceus and Pol Jean.

“High voltage” follows a common thread, which is the one of “the heart of the gesture”. In fact, each artist represented in the exhibition work –following their own technique- with lines and wires, and rather fragile materials, and yet they manage to communicate a sense of deep unsettlement and distraught emotions.

Franco Bellucci, ©Art et marges museum

The hybrid sculptures produced by Franco Bellucci, for example, are made up of heterogeneous objects whose fates are inexorably linked. Observed through the prism of their transitional, fetishist or apotropaic value, they have an immediate repercussion on the viewer, who finds himself in front of works that are endowed with a symbolic power that many ‘professional’ artists are unable to achieve. The objects made by Heide De Bruyne are an entwining of several objects such as cords, branches, strips or textile materials. While looking at her objects, we cannot help but feel strangled in a vise. It is as if the artist is trying to represent the feeling we all once had of being trapped in oneself in a sort of cocoon.

Eric Decrochette, Sans titre n.d., oil pastel and acrylic, Grand Atelier Vieisam

This exhibition offers the viewer a chance to discover the inner voice of six self-taught artists who use diverse techniques — from loud splashes of colour, to hummed repetitive strokes, to hushed delicate marks. As many of these artists are mostly non-verbal, their choice of marks and the process behind each and every detail made conveys a meaning, telling us a story. Their art highlights their differences in language and delivery, but essentially they all communicate hidden and unheard stories or ideas.

The actual process of making itself and the layering of marks is integral and plays a central role in each artist’s composition. Their shared common aesthetic is their use of vivid colours and their non-conformist attitudes. Each artist becomes absorbed in the creative act, creating for their own needs: the fact we get to see their treasures is a real treat.

The exhibition is on until 12th June 2022 and can be visiting during the museum’s opining hours, that can be found here.