Plan: Modern Art: Outside Art & Jean Dubuffet
2 - Jean Dubuffet and the Deculturation of Art.
© Samantha Krukowski.
Jean Dubuffet and the Deculturation of Art, M.A. Thesis, Department of
Art History, Washington University in St. Louis, 1992.
location of an Other did help to define his own artistic position. In
Orientalism Edward Said argued that "European culture gained in strength
and identity by setting itself off against the Orient as a sort of surrogate
and even underground self."105 Art brut should also be seen as Dubuffet's
surrogate or underground self, rather than merely the productions of those
who are marginalized in society. Said reiterated that "at most, the
'real' Orient provoked a writer to his vision; it very rarely guided it."106
With this argument in mind, it seems ridiculous to deny that art brut
had no influence on Dubuffet's own artwork. Art brut was as much a guide
for Dubuffet and a central locus for his anti-cultural position as it
was an idealized art form.
be emphasized that when Dubuffet spoke of art brut, or primitivism, or
madness, he did so as a member of the art world which was societally external
to the people he discussed. We do not hear the voices of the people who
made the work, we do not see the work; in short, we are not provided with
any other interpretation except that of Dubuffet. Dubuffet's discourse
about art brut puts him in a dominant position
to it--as the describer, he assumes the power of its definition. He might
extol the virtues of art brut, it might have been the seat of originality
or authenticity for him, but at the same time, it is something that he
is discussing, explaining, defining. That art brut needs to be described,
that Dubuffet was compelled to speak about it, reflects its inferiority—
it needs a voice, his voice, and has none of its own. Art brut's exteriority
to the cultural art establishment is overcome through Dubuffet's narrative
which positions and explains it.”