Tuesday, January 16, 2007
I’ve always found the art of Jean Dubuffet very interesting because of its seemingly primitive qualities. The adage “you have to know the rules to break them” really does apply in this circumstance, however, because in Dubuffet’s work, the childlike, simplistic nature of each piece eventually leads the viewer to reconsider what it is he or she is looking at and to rethink how our perception of a particular object exists in reality and in the abstract. This end is the result of effective process. When you think of the words “table” or “chair” it may very well be that a specific table or chair from memory comes to mind, but it’s more probable that one thinks of a nebulous, abstract idea of a table or chair. We’re transported by viewing art, and it’s the transformation that matters. Dubuffet’s work doesn’t rely on the Romantic notion of the sublime, however. He’s used a different sort of aesthetic barometer entirely and that’s what make his work so original, I think. There is an expressionist quality to his work but no attempt to create something that is stereotypically beautiful, (i.e., it ain’t easy on the eyes). So, many viewers are probably left puzzled when they find they aren’t attracted to his art. Dubuffet has left the process open to interpretation and obviously valued the act of creation over concern for the end product. That’s not to say he wasn’t probably very meticulous in the creation of each object, he simply moved beyond the tendency to fool the viewer into believing that what is being seen in any way resembles reality.