Henriette Zéphir (b. 1920) has, in her own words, devoted the past half-century to “the occult”. She was discovered in 1967 by Jean Dubuffet, who exhibited her work at the Musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris, and wrote an article on her. She consistently refused every offer to buy her works ever since, until recently, when her “guides” began encouraging her to distribute their positive energy.
Spiritualist artists, once plentiful in Art Brut collections, are now rare and precious. Like her predecessors Fernand Desmoulin, Augustin Lesage, Madge Gill, and many others, Henriette Zéphir raises the eternal question of the signifi cance of such creativity, particularly when it is not intended to be “art” as such, but rather to reveal the unfamiliar dimensions of a mysterious “elsewhere”… which may lie deep within every one of us. When such creators declare themselves to be mere instruments for their guiding powers, they are not simply downplaying their mastery of the creative process, but also echoing Dubuffet’s own thoughts on art: “its fi nest moments are when it forgets what it is called”.
The retrospective, entitled A woman under the infl uence, highlights the power, generosity, and beauty of Henriette Zéphir’s meandering lines of energy, inviting us to delve into the “elsewhere” and embark on a journey of exploration into our inner selves.