Lesson Plan: Modern Art: Outside Art & Jean Dubuffet

Reading 1 - Interview with Jean Dubuffet.

Quotes by Jean Dubuffet in the radio interview with Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes, Nice, 1956. Broadcast in 1958. In Transcripts printed in Jean Dubuffet: Works, Writings, and Interviews. Barcelona: Ediciones Poligrafa. 2006.

"As I just made clear, I take hardly any interest in the work of other painters. I rarely visit art galleries. It is very possible that art based on the constant use of references to earlier works could be very legitimate. And at a time like the present [1956], an age steeped in knowledge and culture, it's very probably that such use is very widespread. In my own work I use nothing of the kind. Just the opposite. I don't like culture; I don't like the memory of the past. I think it is debilitating and harmful. I believe in the great value of forgetting. In the main square every town, instead of museums and libraries, I would like to see an immense statue to Forgetfulness. Let's make a clean sweep of the works of the past! Me, I strive to create art as if no human being hand ever done it before. Any means used before is to me unusable like a burnt out firecracker. In my eyes, the fact that it has been used for art once before takes away all its efficacy. I'm not saying that I'm right in this, (and really to me the whole notion of being right or wrong doesn't have much sense), and even less that one should make a rule out of such a principle. I am only making the point that I myself feel that a work of art should be new and free of any elements borrowed from earlier works." (pg.135)

“No I dislike reason. Far from being filled with wonder at human reason, I find it one of the poorest and dullest things there is. I am not at all a humanist, oh no, as little as possible. Man does not look to me like the pinnacle of creation, certainly not? Man does not amaze me at in the least in this world where I am amazed by so many things? Trees, for example, trees amaze me and fill me with wonder. Man does not at all. Basalt, ah yes! Basalt stupefies me. I fall on my knees before basalt! It seems to me that Man’s only hope is to shut up his idiot reason, which makes him the lead arse of the world. This is what gives me my great taste for frenzy. In delirium I see salvation. I like madness. I am very taken by madness. Wherever I find madness I run quickly to see it. It interests me. In it I see our only chance. I take “madness cures”, and I am extremely well afterwards. I recommend them. Art only interests me insofar as it is an exercise in this direction. Reasoned art makes me laugh. It is nothing in my opinion." (pg 140)