November 20, 2015

Exposition "Architectures" Lausanne

The Collection d'Art Brut in Lausanne has opened mid-november 2015 an exposition entitled Architectures (november 13, 2015- april 17, 2016).

Focussing on the theme "construction", the exposition presents works, mainly paintings, drawings and models from the museum's collection made by some fifty art brut artists, among whom some two who made an art environment (Filippo Bentivegna and Willem van Genk).

One room of the exposition is especially devoted to art environments, showing all kinds of documentary material from the museum's archives, highlighting the works of the currently demolished Anarchitecture of Richard Greaves (Canada) and Charles and Pauline Billy (France)

 on the front the panel about 
Euclides da Costa Ferreira

In partnership with SPACES, the US organization that aims to save and protect art and cultural environments, there is also an event at the outside of the museum.

It consists of a series of panels which document a selection of art environments. There are panels about Josep Pujiula i Vila, Francisco González Gragera, Peter Buch and Felix Sanperiz Gistau (all from Spain), and Euclide da Costa Ferreira (from France).

Other panels show sites from the USA, featuring Sabato Rodia, Billy Tripp and Cano Espinoza (USA)

left the panel about Peter Buch

The catalogue, authored by Laurent Danchin and Pascale Marini-Jeanneret has 168 pages and 142 colorplates and is availabe in a french and an english version.

Collection d'Art Brut
11 Avenue des Bergières
1994 Lausanne, Switzerland

November 11, 2015

Seventh anniversary of this weblog

Bonjour aux promeneurs, Hello walkers
picture of Chatelain's sculpture 

On november 11, 2008, I entered the blogosphere by publishing the first entry of a blog I entitled Outsider Environments Europe. 

So today this blog has its seventh anniversary and as in previous years, I will relate here some data (as of november 10) as provided by the blog's statistics "behind the scenes".

Number of visitors

On november 10, 2014 the all time number of page views was 312.596. On november 10, 2015 it was 420.277, an increase of 116,681 last year, or on the average 320 visitors a day.

All time pageviews by country

As in previous years here is the all time rank of top ten countries as regards page views:

  1.  United States 85583 (rank 2014: idem)
  2   Netherlands 54105 (rank 2014: idem)
  3.  France 49423 (rank 2014: idem)
  4.  Germany 34168 (rank 2014: 5th)
  5   United Kingdom 30200 (rank 2014: 4th)
  6.  Ukraine 18011 (rank 2014: 7th)
  7.  Russia 12690 (rank 2014 9th)
  8.  Italy 10580 (rank 2014: 6th)
  9.  Spain 8158 (rank 2014: 8th)
10.  Poland 3777 (rank 2014: idem)

As in previous years, the top is rather stable: the first five places are taken by the same countries, although in the cases of Germany and the U.K not in the same order.

I really appreciate the growing interest from Ukraine and Russsia,

Poland kept its place in the top ten, which is also indicative of the interest in art environments from eastern Europe.

Most viewed sites all time

  1. Robert Garcet, Tour Eben-Ezer 4357  (rank 2014: idem)
  2. Abbé Fouré, Rochers sculptés 4106 (rank 2014: 6th)
  3. Robert Tatin, Musée 3972 (rank 2014: idem)
  4. Joseph Ferdinand Cheval, Palais 3901 (rank 2014: idem)
  5. Bodan Litnianski, Jardin 3646 (rank 2014: idem)
  6. José María Garrido, Museo, 3244 (2014: not in top ten)
  7. Chomo, Preludian art, 3151 (rank 2014: 5th)
  8. Karl Junker, Junkerhaus, 3108 (rank 2014: 7th)
  9. Joseph Pujiula i Vila, Labyrinth, 2847 (rank 2014: 8th)
10. Willem van Genk, Bus station, 2692 (rank 2014: 9th)

Once more  the list shows a rather stable cohort of top sites, consisting of Garcet (from Belgium), Abbé Fouré, Robert Tatin, Facteur Cheval, Bodan Litnianski and Chomo (all from France), Karl Junker (Germany)  Willem van Genk (Netherlands) and Josep Pujiula i Vila (Spain).

José María Garrido (Spain) entered the top ten.

With regard to Abbé Fouré and Karl Junker this year I not only counted the main post about life and works, but also adjacent posts, such as those about a book that was published, an action that was organized and an exhibition that took place (Fouré) or a new website that was published (Junker) 

Other creators of sites that rank high in terms of number of times viewed are: Robert Vasseur (2579), Francisco González Grajera (2230), Ensio Tuppurainen (2170), Elis Sinistö (2154),  Oreste Fernando Nannetti (2143), Viktor IV (2124) and Picassiette (2094).

The weblog also has some pages. Most popular is the Index by country/regio, consulted over 8300 times, followed by the Index of names, consulted over 4200 times.

The General introduction attracted around 1800 viewers, the page about sources etc had some 1000 viewers  and the one about expositions over 1600.

November 05, 2015

Rory McCormack, Beach flint sculpture garden

Facing the Channel the english city of Brighton and Hove, currently a busy seaside resort, in former times had an important fishing industry. Today Rory McCormack is the last one of a once larger number of beach fishermen who went fishing by moving their boat from the beach into the sea.. 

Life and works

Born in 1955, McCormack came to live in Brighton in 1960. Already involved in fishing at sea at age 16, he became a dry stone waller, but eventually around 2000 he became a beach fisherman, his boat and gear stabled on a part of the beach locally known as Kemp Town Beach.

At that time there were several beach fishermen who left their boats on the beach and the town had provided concrete slabs to facilitate the parking of these boats. But with changing times this way of leaving behind boats and gear was no longer safe, and McCormack had to fence the part of the beach he used to protect his fishing equipment.

this picture and the next two courtesy of Yvonne Luna

Soon he installed a workbench where he repaired his fishing gear and did other DIY jobs. It is not difficult to understand that McCormack gradually came to regard this secluded part of the public beach as his own little world.

The winter of 2013 was severe, McCormack had little to do and somehow he came up wit the idea to make sculptures from cement supplemented with the flints and shells available on the beach. He hadn't any artistic education and he invented himself how to make his creations. To model the sculptures he used pictures in some artbook he owned.

The around eight, generally more than life-size sculptures he has made to date, have a robust and quirky appearance. Combined with other creations such as an arcade as an entry, a throne and a grave with a bronze age skeleton, these creations jointly constitute a characteristic art environment.

Some items in this art environment have a link to ancient mythology, as demonstrated for example in a sculpture inspired by the Venus of Willendorf and in a sculpture that represents a Sumerian godess cradling a child

Continuous existence threatened

McCormack began this art environment without asking permission to do so, just as so many other creators of outsider art environments anywhere in the world have done. After more than two years the local authorities showed themselves aware of the existence of the site and around september 2015 the removal of the sculptures was decreed because they might be dangerous for people around.

Many friends of the site do not agree with this and and they advocate the continued existence of this art environment.

October 2015 a petition has been organized asking the authorities to protect the beach flint garden. Click here to sign.

Rory McCormack
Beach flint sculpture garden
on Kemp town beach
Brighton, East Sussex, England, UK
can be seen from the beach

October 31, 2015

Eugène Choffat, Village miniature/Miniature village

Above picture depicts the Saint-Jean-Baptiste church of Courtillers as reconstructed in miniature by Eugène Choffat, resident of this small rural community of some 600 people in the Pays de la Loire in western France *.

Life and works

Born in 1929, Choffat in his professional life had a job as a service technician in a factory in the neighboring town Sablé-sur-Charte. He retired in 1989, at age 60.

In the 1970's, so when he was in his forties, he began making replicas from concrete of buildings in his region, an activity he continued for some forty years. This resulted in a miniature village of some twelve various replicas, supplemented with over a hundred little characters.

The replicas, all more or less to scale, are on display in the garden of his house in a landscaped setting with specific elements that support the appearance of the whole, such as the viaduct in above picture.

In my opinion, to a large extent the charm of this art environment is in the black and white color scheme of the unadorned replicas.

But then, Choffat also offers visitors of the site the surprise that many parts of the site are animated. 

Through a complex system of hidden ropes, pulleys and motors, all made with technical ingenuity from discarded home appliances, sails, vehicles and people come into motion if visitors throw a coin into an appropriate slot.

Currently in his 80's, Choffat no longer makes replicas. He maintains the site, and together with his wife, he is happy to receive visitors.


* note
To my knowledge Sophie Lepetit's weblog (see documentation) is the only source on the internet about this art environment, so with pleasure I acknowledge that the data in above entry were derived from Michel Leroux' text in that blog

Eugène Choffat
Village miniature
2 Allée du petit village
72300 Courtillers, Sarthe, Pays de la Loire, France
visitors welcome

October 18, 2015

Michel Pozzetto, De rouille et d'art/Rust and art

In Michel Pozetto's sculpture garden just a part of his oeuvre is displayed. Since this garden has no specific name, I designate this post with the title of a booklet (published september 2014) with an introduction by Pozzetto and pictures of a selection of his creations, De Rouille et d'Art (Rust and art), a well chosen title indeed for Pozzetto's artistic work.

Life and work

Born in 1944 in the community Ambert in the Puy de Dome area in France, Michel Pozzetto when grown up went to work as a cook for shipping companies.

Around 1995, when retired and living in the southern french community Paluds-de-Noves (Bouches-du-Rhône), on flea markets and junk shops he began buying old disused tools as used by farmers, miners and other laborers in former times before industrialization of production took place.
 this picture and the next five from the weblog
of Sophie Lepetit (see documentation)

Pozzetto transformed these tools into sculptures, often by just adding faces he made himself.

These creations are partly displayed in the garden around his house, for another part they are exposed inside the house.

It is almost incredible to see how by a simple treatment these earlier tools get a completey different look.

Pozzetto will use his material just as it is, at most adding faces or hands, but using no paint or other ways of decorating. His message is a philosophic one: to show that these currently forgotten and discarded instruments, once so important for mankind, can get a new life, a transformation that could also occur in everyone's daily life.

In the booklet De rouille et d'art Pozzetto adresses his readers in this way:

Je ne veux pas vous donner de leçon, je voudrais qu’à l’avenir vous regardiez les outils différemment et que dans les moments difficiles de la vie, mis en état de rouille, quelqu’un peut vous ramasser pour vous redonner la vie. (I do not want to teach you a lesson, I would like that in the future you look in another way to tools and that in difficult moments of life, when you are in a rusting condition, someone can pick you up to bring you back to life).

Pozetto often adds together some smaller identical items into an ensemble, as in the group of monks (or the like) above, what gives a special apperance. 

But he also combines various tools in an installation, as in above sculptures displayed on a wall. 

Pozzetto is a prolific worker, who meanwhile has transformed a large quantity of old tools into stand alone sculptures, ensembles or installations. Currently the house's interior and its garden have an abundance of his creations.

Above picture shows Pozzettto's workshop with its vast collection of materials and equipment.

A memorial in Calcinaia

To flee poverty Pozzetto's grand parents in the early years of the 20th century, as many other Italians did, migrated to France. In memory of this migration a sculpted ensemble made by Pozzetto was placed in the centre of the community Calcinaia in Tuscany.

The unveiling in may 2014 is reported on a video produced by the municipality (see documentation). 

Exhibition of a nativity secene

Around Christmas 2015 Pozzetto has an exhibition (13//11/2015-17/1/2016) in the Musée Auguste Cbabaud (Graveson, France), entitled Figures sacrés de la Nativité (Sacred figures of the Nativity).

Christmas cribs form a theme to Pozzetto's heart and he has depicted these scenes a number of times.

* Michel Pozzetto, De rouille et d'art, Paluds-de-Noves (Antidote solutions graphiques), 2014
* In her weblog Sophie Lepetit has devoted considerable attention to Pozzetto and his creations:
---sculptures in the garden (2/10/2015)
---workshop and interior (15/10/2015)
---more sculptures outdoors (16/10/2015)
* Article in regional journal Le journal des Alpilles about the exhibition in the Musée Auguste Chabaud (in french)
* Video of the unveiling of the memorial in Calcinaia (Municipality of Calcinaia, 5'20", Youtube, uploaded june 2014)

Michel Pozzetto
De rouille et d'art
Mas Chamblé
Paluds-de-Noves, Bouches-du-Rhône, France
visits on appointment

October 05, 2015

Fernand Chapet, Parc des automates/Park of animated creations

The french community of Saint-Coulomb, located along the Baye de Saint Michel in Britanny, has its own attraction park, a rather special site because it has been created from recuperated materials by a local inhabitant,

Life and works

Born in 1929, Fernand Chapet at age 14 went to work. He was active in the car industry and in the marines as an electrician.

Once retired, in the late 1990's he began transforming a meadow-like area near his house into a Champ des attractions, adding various self-constructed items, which are characterized by being able to make movements.

In french such creations are designated as automates, a term that refers to a device mimicking the movements of a living being. In the terminology of this blog they could be designated as animated creations.

Anyhow, in the course of some twenty years Chapet has made around fifty of such creations.

In his early years a cycling enthusiast, Chapet has made various creations in which old bikes  have been processed, as in the picture below.

But Chapet's attention is also paid to local and regional major events, such as the expected opening in 2017 of a high speed train link from Paris to Saint Malo. a train à grande vitesse (TGV).

Maybe that's why the regional train from Saint Malo to Cancale -pictured below- has the abbrevation TPV (train à petite vitesse ?).

In making his creations Chapet devotes most attention to the technical aspects. 

The life-size dolls that depict people, are dressed in discarded clothing and to portray the faces Chapet uses masks, what according to him is the toughest part to do, beacuse where he lives these are not so easy to obtain.


The charm of the site consists in the movements of the creations that populate it, a capacity that has especially been devised by Chapet to amuse people.

Located in a tourist area, especially in summer the Parc des automates attracts numerous visitors indeed.

* Website Les automates de Saint Coulomb by Fernand Chapet (in french)
* Article by Jeanine Rivais on her website (in french)
* Article in regional newspaper Le Télégramme (dec 2014, in french)
* Video by France3 TV (1'48", made 2012, uploaded dec 2014, Youtube)

Fernand Chapet
Parc des automates
Saint-Coulomb, lieu-dit la Ville-es-Treux, Britanny, France
visitors welcome

September 21, 2015

Maria Rodriguez, El jardin/The garden

view from the beach

A house facing the beach in Guainos Bajos, part of Adra, a community of Almería in Andulicía Spain), has a front garden which is fully decorated with structures embellished with seashells, shapely stones, plastic figures and various plates fitted with proverbs.

This is El Jardin, an art environment created by María Rodriguez.

Life and works

Her full name is María Ascensión Rodríguez Rodríguez. She was born in 1936, married in 1956 and had three childeren. All her life she was interested in art, which she gave way by collecting small sculpted items she bought in local shops.

 this picture and the next ones
by Eloy M. Muñoz Suarez

Around age 60, in the 1990's this interest got a new twist when she began adding decorations to her garden, a plot of some 60 m² (646 square feet) that separates the house from the beach.

This garden currently is fully packed with Rodriguez' creations.

People who create shell decorated items in general use a cement mix to secure the shells. Maria Rodriguez prepares the cement herself by using sand from the beach mixed with cement powder and water. 

The base on which the shells and other elements are attached mostly has a pyramidal shape, which gives the collection its own characteristic appearance.

Rodriguez regularly patrols the beach to collect additional decorative material. She does not favor specific shells but just uses what she encounters and what she likes.    

Plates with texts

Apart from a variety of self-collected sea-shells and other found items, Rodriguez` creation is characterized by plates that are provided with texts, such as proverbs, personal messages, warnings and other sayings.

Here are some examples:

No es mas sabio aquel que sabe muchas cosas 
sino aquel que hace muchas cosas con le poco que sabe 
The one who knows many things is not wiser 
then the one who does many things with the little he knows.

The text on the upper plate reads  

Pide a Dios que donde mires veas alegria
lo que toques sea amor
lo que sienta sea paz
y hacia donde camines sea la felicidad
Ask God that wherever you look you see joy
whatever you touch is love
whatever you feel is peace
and wherever you walk is happiness

The lower plate has a text that refers to a seat which is included in the structure: 

El que se siente en este sillon será bendecido por Dios
He who sits on this chair will be blessed by God

And finally this example

Mi felicidad consiste en que se apreciar lo que tengo 
y no deseo en exceso loque no tengo
My happiness is that I know to appreciate what I have 
and that I do not want  too much what I do not have


Maria Rodriguez 
El Jardin
Guainos Bajos, Almería, Andalucía, ES
can be seen from the beach