Saturday 17 May 2014

OPENING /// First Art Brut Museum in Portugal

George Widener, untitled (cipher maps), 2013, mixed media on paper, 153 x 144 cm

Opening of the first Art Brut museum in Portugal on 1st June 2014

The Oliva Creative Factory Museum, close to Porto, opens its second floor to Richard Treger and Antonio Saint Silvestre art brut collection

The art of tormented geniuses: unique
exhibition in the Iberian Peninsula 

"The Oliva Creative Factory, in São João da Madeira, Portugal, welcomes more than 600 pieces from the “Treger/Saint Silvestre Collection”. This is an unparalleled collection in the Iberian Peninsula, where examples of Art Brut and Singular Art stand out, creations born of the tormented geniuses of marginal artists around the world, authors without any connections to the art world, many of them confined to psychiatric hospitals. The inaugural exhibition of these paintings, drawings, and sculptures will open on 31 May.
More than 600 pieces from the “Treger/Saint Silvestre Collection”, that used to be in France, are now an asset of the Oliva Creative Factory Núcleo de Arte, where they will begin public showing at the end of May. This will be the next major exhibition opening at these former industrial premises, now salvaged and renovated by the City of São João da Madeira, Portugal.
Including Art Brut and Contemporary Art (as well as Singular Art and Voodoo Art), this is a collection of international significance, unlike any other in the Iberian Peninsula, now housed at the Oliva Núcleo de Arte. Donated by collectors Richard Treger (musician from Zimbabwe, of Irish nationality) and António Saint Silvestre (Portuguese-French Singular Art sculptor), who have divided their lives between Paris and Lisbon.

In the country of Miguel Bombarda
For 40 years – 20 of which dedicated to their gallery in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, in Paris –, they have collected pieces by creators of the so-called “marginal arts” and other authors whose works are close to that artistic genre, amassing a very important collection that they have made sure to become accessible to the general public in Portugal, where doctor Miguel Bombarda (1851-1910), one of the first people in the world to preserve and catalog the creations of psychiatric patients, was born.
“We didn´t want to keep these works as an investment or for the exclusive pleasure of a limited audience. We wanted that everyone could be able to see them”, explains Richard Treger, revealing that the Oliva Creative Factory premises – a former factory – have all the characteristics they were looking for. “This space is amazing and has enormous potential”, stresses António Saint Silvestre.

A parallel world teeming with treasure
Art Brut and Singular Art are “art movements that are raging through the art world at the moment, in Europe and in the United States”, says Richard Treger, adding that the collection also includes “contemporary artists of international significance, absent from collections in Portugal”, as well as Haitian artists, “inspired by voodoo religion”.

“Outsider Art is created by people living in a parallel world, who have psychiatric problems and who don’t consider themselves artists”, describes António Saint Silvestre, reinforcing that this marginal art, which shies away from popular movements, is being more and more valued internationally, and it has its own specialized magazine, “Raw Vision”. In its most recent edition (Spring 2014), there are even six pages dedicated to the “Treger/Saint Silvestre Collection” and its “new home” at the Oliva Núcleo de Arte.
French art dealer, curator and lecturer Christian Berst is the curator of the Art Brut exhibition opening in 31 May at the Oliva Creative Factory. “These works are like a treasure, and in order to find it you need to have the soul of an explorer, a gold digger. Discovering, preserving and collecting Outsider Art is probably the last great art adventure of the XXI century” – says Berst, one of the greatest experts in Art Brut in the world." (...) www.

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