Jean Dubuffet: Ardent Celebration
Guggenheim Bilbao – Feb 25 to Aug 21, 2022 Bilbao (Spain)
At the end of World War II, Jean Dubuffet (born 1901; died 1985) began exhibiting paintings that challenged entrenched aesthetic values. He rejected principles of propriety and classical beauty, as well as claims of expertise. Instead, he turned to the commonplace and the unheralded, employing raw materials. Banal subjects and a style that rejected any outward sign of academic training. In this approach, Dubuffet challenged norms that he believed hindered authentic expression and devalued everyday experience. However, his goal was not just to reveal how worn out cultural conventions were. He also wanted to illustrate the vitality of life freed from them. As he once said, “I would like people to see my work as a rehabilitation of trampled values and, in any case, make no mistake about it, a work of fiery celebration.”
The concept of beauty.
Throughout his career, Dubuffet’s production was characterized as much by this festive spirit as by his attachment to the critique of culture. His work from the 1940s and 1950s invited the public to fundamentally reconsider the concept of beauty and demonstrated how ordinary things could be worthy of admiration. Whether rocks, crumpled aluminum foil or thickened paint. From the 1960s to the mid-1970s, Dubuffet showed the potential for adventure. Creativity and discovery that can be unleashed by delving into fantasy. During the last decade of his life, he strove to inspire a rethinking of the most basic structures of the mind. Imagining the possibilities of approaching the world without the constraints of scholarly categories.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.
This exhibition, entirely from the collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. From the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, offers an overview of his production during these defining decades. He seeks to affirm that through Dubuffet’s changes in orientation. He has kept his ever-evolving project rooted in his dedication to sharing revitalizing new perspectives with viewers.
Curator: David Max Horowitz
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