Vienna welcomes Portuguese Art Brut

The Treger Saint Silvestre Art Brut Collection, on deposit at the Centro de Arte Oliva de São João da Madeira, debuts on Thursday in Austria, presenting 150 works of “exquisite quality” at the Gugging Museum in Vienna.

The description is by Johann Feilacher, who, as artistic director of the aforementioned museum and curator of the exhibition in question, highlighted to Lusa that this is the first time that “the renowned Portuguese collection” has been made known in Austria, with works by 80 artists. selected “for the aesthetics of their work – not for their name, but for what they show from different continents and for their diversity”.

The Gugging Museum is appointed by its director as “a unique institution worldwide”, for combining a center of Art Brut with a foundation dedicated to promoting this genre and also with a permanent structure for the simultaneous reception of 12 artistic residencies on the same theme. .

Johann Feilacher attributes to these resources and to the work of publicizing the house – namely the organization of exhibitions for itinerancy in other reference museums in the country – the fact that “Art Brut is well known in Austria” and, in the last 40 years, it has enjoying a status “almost equal to that of contemporary art”.

This valorization even motivates some abuses in the Austrian cultural milieu, as the curator defends when explaining that, given the public’s lack of interest in the style of certain authors, “many artists of inferior quality try to ‘catch the train’ of Art Brut”, alleging fall into that genre when they do not have the characteristics that distinguish them and thus seeking to benefit from a reputation that they do not have.

The selection of works from the Treger Saint Silvestre Collection, open until September 9 at the Gugging Museum, includes works by authors considered “classic”, such as Aloïse Corbaz, Henry Darger and Adolf Wölfli, and creations by younger artists such as Kostia Botkine, Misleidys Castillo Pedroso and Sebastian Ferreira.

The exhibition also includes pieces by creators who were in residence at the museum in Vienna, such as Laila Bachtiar and Philipp Schöpke.

For Richard Treger and António Saint Silvestre, owners of the collection domiciled at the Centro de Arte Oliva, the debut in Austria gives them particular satisfaction as it takes place precisely at the Gugging, which they consider “one of the main institutions in the world dedicated to Art Brut”.

“When we first visited the museum, we were very impressed with the way it was managed, allowing artists complete freedom. This explains why, of our collection of around 1,500 works, a large number have been purchased from artists who have done residencies at Gugging”, reveal the collectors.

The current expectation is that the Austrian show will provide its audience with the same feeling that the Treger Saint Silvestre Collection has generated in its owners in more than two decades of research: “We hope that people understand that our collection was brought together purely out of love for works of art that we have found throughout our lives and not because of the name or fame of those who sign them”.


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