Giovanni Abrignani (1899-1977) was born in Marsala, Sicily. He was a professional mason in many Mediterranean countries. After a respiratory illness, he was sent back to Italy and settled in a retirement home. In 1967, suffering from delirious thoughts, he was committed to the psychiatric ward of Trapani, where he would stay until his death. In order to smoke and eat more than he was allowed, he offered his drawings in exchange for a cigarette or some sweets. We owe the discovery of his works to the Swiss sculptor Robert Müller, himself briefly committed at Trapani in 1975 after a psychotic episode.
The artist was then fascinated with immediate expressivity and the mastery of space in his fellow artist’s compositions, and decided to purchase all of his works. He gave approximately 20 of Abrignani’s pieces to the Art Brut Collection in 1982. Giovanni Abrignani composed his drawings in an ordered manner using a ball-point pen, a ruler and compass, and then colored them in with crayons. Trips in trains, cars or carriages, gondolas rides, bicyclists of the Tour of Italy or even the arrival of a bride at the church in a car: modes of transportation are always at the center of his compositions.
vehicles, collection de l'art brut, lausanne, november 8th, 2013 - april 27th, 2014.
anic zanzi, véhicules d’art brut, thierry magnier ed., paris, 2013.
michel thévoz et anic zanzi, vehicles, lausanne/milano : collection de l’art brut/5 continents ed., 2013.
eva di stefano, irregolari, art brut e outsider art in sicilia, kalâos, 2008.
michel thévoz, fascicule de l’art brut n°20, lausanne, collection de l’art brut, 2007.