The outstanding cycle of Phénomènes by Jean Dubuffet, made between 1958 and 1962, is the content of the current exhibition in the Biodiversity Garden of Padua, whose title is “Jean Dubuffet. The Theatre of the Earth“.

Fifty-one years after his first Italian exhibition, the great French artist returns to the scene with a collection of 324 lithographic prints of different surfaces on paper. Furthermore, by using methods such as spraying, irrigation and liquid emulsion on a lithographic stone, he tried to draw nature and earth in particular phenomena.

The result, considered to be a “unicum” in the field of arts even now, is a spectacular “atlas” of color and black & white, seemingly abstract, and yet plausible, images. A classification as precise, as poetic, of so evident and yet so subtle, visible and invisible events in which the author seems to observe and imagine the world through the eyes of a geologist, a botanist, a land-surveyor, an artist.

Detail of Spectacle au sol 1958 © Jean Dubuffet by SIAE 2015

Detail of Spectacle au sol 1958 © Jean Dubuffet by SIAE 2015

Dubuffet called it “art brut” to emphasize its spontaneity, its primordial and instinctive aspects, typical of children and the mentally ill people. This art called “informal art” not only was his favorite way of making art, but also he was the initiator, is well identifiable in this exhibition of lithographs.

An exhibition that should be seen as well as 1300 plants of Biodiversity Garden, which tell us their millennial relationship with man: they were used for feeding, healing or to construct objects that made our history.

The exhibition in the exhibition – in the world’s oldest Botanical Garden, since 1997 listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site – will be open to the public until October 31, 2015.

Become part of the permanent collections of museums such as the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the MoMA and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, these 22 portfolios hold the entire cycle of Phénomènes and come to Padua thanks to the collaboration of the Dubuffet Foundation and the Galerie Baudoin Lebon in Paris.

Stefania Rifiordi


Cover image: Detail of Cosmographie 1958 © Jean Dubuffet by SIAE 2015


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