The center, they say, is defined by its margins. Art brut, the subject of ever bracing controversies, should, according to this logic, gain something from examining its own borders.
Popular culture is one of them. Prinzhorn and Dubuffet, in their time, had illuminated an entire facet of it: creations born of the prison system. The one by dedicating a work to prisoner art as early as 1926, the other by paying close attention to the work of the “prisoner of Bâle” in the first journal of art brut, which appeared in 1964. Emblematic of the Latino subculture of Los Angeles prisons, the paños – of which we will soon see examples in the exhibit “Tatoueurs, tatoués” (“Tattooers, tattooed”) at the Quai Branly museum – are, from this perspective, an exceptional research subject. Starting in the 40’s, for the Chicano prisoners of the southwestern United States – often illiterate and convicted to heavy sentences – these missives illuminated with a ball-point pen on handkerchiefs constituted the only way of communicating with the outside world. Their technique was at times passed down from one generation of prisoners to the next and the themes – fraught between eros and thanatos – give a hollowed out portrayal of a mistreated culture on which gang culture has also imposed itself. Calling upon both pre-Columbian heroes and those of the revolution, the Virgin of Guadeloupe and the Lolita of the suburbs, imploring a mother’s forgiveness or seeking oblivion or reassurance through smoke rings of marijuana, the authors foreword of the paños don’t escape the archetypes of their community.
No more than Boris Santamaria, a Cuban prisoner whose poignant and uncompromising drawings, presented for the first time, cannot totally escape the codes of counter-culture. It would very well seem that reclusion or confinement are not, in and of themselves, strong enough pathogenic catalysts to modify / transmute the nature of artistic production every time. Nevertheless, even if the individual mythologies don’t extend themselves to these works except implicitly, the vital necessity that drives their authors is entirely prodigious. For the recluse, the outcast, as for a schizophrenic, inventing other worlds, other systems, other destinies, is nothing but the creation of an evacuation plan.
Art brut, in this way, is perhaps also the most beautiful and vibrant praise of escape.
- S+ Stimulant: Paños authors Melissa Unger in Seymour Magazine, March 4 2014.
- paños, prison break authors Bénédicte Philippe in sortir.telerama.fr, March 12 2014.
- Prison break se met au dessin authors in spray-magazine.com, March 12 2014.
- paños, prison break authors Benoît Kuhn in pixelcreation.fr, March 18 2014.
- Les vernissages de la semaine du 13 mars authors Enora Le Goff in toutelaculture.com, March 13 2014.
- Paños Prison Break - galerie Christian Berst authors la rédaction in ArtistikRezo, March 18 2014.
- paños, prison break authors Julien Bourelly in the Glam Attitude, March 13 2014.
- du côté des galeries : galerie christian berst authors Stéphanie Pioda in Beaux Arts, March 2014.
- paños, prison break authors Roxana Azimi in Le quotidien de l'art, March 25 2014.
- Boris Santamaria, paños, prison break authors Sophie Lespiaux in Paris Art, March 26 2014.
- paños authors Tania Brimson in Time out, March 26 2014.
- interview de Christian Berst authors Frédéric Taddéi in Europe 1 Social Club, March 14 2014.
- Des mouchoirs pour la peine authors Corinne Bensimon in Libération, March 24 2014.
- París desvela el arte chicano de los paños carcelarios authors Jorge Martínez in lainformacion.com, March 29 2014.
- Petits dessins de sang et de larmes authors Philippe Lespinasse in Siné Mensuel, April 2 2014.
- paños in l'expo idéale authors la rédaction in Le Parisien Magazine, .
- paños, prison break authors A. C.-C. in L'Express Styles, March 26 2014.
- A l'avant garde : paños, prison break authors Dauphine De Cambre in The ARTchemists, April 4 2014.
- A travers les barreaux authors la rédaction in novaplanet.com, April 15 2014.
- La Valise de Christian Berst authors Thierry Paret et Linda Lorin in Radio Nova, April 15 2014.
- Le contrôle douanier de Christian Berst authors Thierry Paret et Linda Lorin in Radio Nova, April 15 2014.
- Reportage exposition paños, prison break authors Sarah Doraghi in émission Télématin, France 2, April 18 2014.
- 2 choses à savoir sur Paños, prison break authors la rédaction in L'express, April 18 2014.