1940年代にフランスの美術家ジャン・デュビュッフェが提唱したArt Brut(アール・ブリュット)という概念がある。“生のままの芸術”という意味の造語で、芸術的教養に毒されていない者によって生命の根源から衝動のままつくり出された創作物のことを指す。既成の価値観や社会的通念に全く影響を受けていない人たちによる表現の動機は極めて純粋であると唱えたデュビュッフェは、いわゆる知識人たちによる既存の芸術活動を強烈に批判し、伝統や権威主義に対する絶対的なアンチテーゼとしてアール・ブリュットを提唱した。後にイギリスの著述家ロジャー・カーディナルによってOutsider Art(アウトサイダー・アート)と訳され英語圏にも広まったが、アール・ブリュットの原義との相違により二つの呼称が混同されることに異論を唱える美術関係者は少なくない。欧米ではそれらが高額で売買され、専門誌が流通するなどマーケットの成熟のみならず、精神医学や哲学など様々な分野で今も研究が進められている。

 

 一方、日本では主に知的障害者による創作物がその概念に該当するという見解により「アール・ブリュット=障害者のアート」と認知される傾向が強く、障害者福祉を目的としたアール・ブリュットの啓蒙や普及活動が目立つ。しかしアール・ブリュットとはあくまで芸術的側面からの考察として「伝統や流行に支配されないがゆえの表現の純粋性」に価値を見出した、いわば成果物の属性に基づく概念であり、決して「どのような人による創作行為か」ということにフォーカスされたものではない。すなわちアール・ブリュットは当事者の福祉とは一切関係のない概念である。

 

 また、障害者の創作物を「アール・ブリュット」にカテゴライズすることについての賛否や「アウトサイダー・アート」という呼称をめぐる論争は絶えない。様々な立場からの視点や文脈によってそれらが全く違う意味を成し、正否や善悪さえもが逆転してしまうからだろう。しかしながら、この分野では作者が自らの創作物をアール・ブリュットだと主張もしなければ、自身をアウトサイダーなどと認識しない。それらの論争は常に当事者以外の人たちの間で繰り広げられている。美術関係者によるカテゴライズ規準や福祉関係者らが提言する倫理観などが争点となることが多く、さらに様々な商業的・政治的戦略が複雑に絡み合っているのが実情だ。

 

 そのような状況下において当事者の才能が正当に評価されるのだろうか。人が優れた芸術作品に遭遇し感動する瞬間、そこには作者に対する偏見や差別、あるいは慈悲などという意識が介入する余地もなければ、どれだけ崇高な学者や専門家の理論も一切の影響力を持たないはずだ。彼らの創作物が美術界のセオリーや福祉界のしがらみに縛られず、ましてや政治権力によってコントロールされることなく、多くの人たちに自由に鑑賞してもらえる場づくりが重要ではないだろうか。

 

 知的障害者による創作物の中には、既成概念に囚われない自由で革新的な表現も少なくない。しかしながら彼らがそれを独力で世に発表することは不可能に近い。芸術的教養に毒されていない人たちの創作物に魅せられたデュビュッフェという芸術的教養者による戦略的なプロモーションによってアール・ブリュットが成立したように、現代社会において様々な分野のスペシャリストが積極的に知的障害者の創作に関わり、協働(コラボレーション)することによって彼らの活躍の場は広がり、新しい価値の創出にも繋がるだろう。 

 

 知的障害者を取り巻くネガティブな問題は決して彼らの特異性に起因するものではなく、周縁がつくりだした社会の歪みにほかならない。その歪みが誰にどのような影響を及ぼし何を失うのか、彼らはそのことに気づかせてくれる。私の目的はアール・ブリュットの研究や障害者をめぐる倫理の追究ではなく、彼らの創作物の魅力を多くの人に伝えることであり、同時に私たちの生活の中でなおざりにされがちな障害者という存在にあらためて目を向け、彼らとの共生を目指すべく多角的な戦略を企て、それを実践することだ。それは決して障害者支援などというおこがましいものではなく、私たちに潜在する歪みと対峙し、自己を見つめ直すという行為にすぎない。

 

 

笠谷圭見(RISSI INC.)

In the 1940s, a French artist, Jean Dubuffet, presented the idea of “art brut.” This is a term he coined meaning “raw art” and refers to works of people who are not tainted by the established fine art tradition, which are created from pure creative impulses and by the inspiration that stems from the very source of life. Dubuffet emphasized the absolute purity of the motivation of expression seen in people who are not at all influenced by the conventional sense of value and social norms, and sharply criticized the artistic activities of some intellectuals. The idea of art brut was thus conceived as an absolute antithesis to the established tradition and authoritarianism. This term was later translated as “outsider art” by English art historian, Roger Cardinal, and has since gained wider recognition in the English-speaking world. However, many art professionals have raised objections that the two terms are confused despite the difference in their original meanings. In the West, a mature market is in place where art brut works are traded at high prices and magazines specialized in this genre of art are published, while research on art brut is underway in psychiatric, philosophical and various other fields as well.

 

In Japan, the idea of art brut is thought to be best applied to creations by people with mental disabilities. For this reason, art brut is often recognized as the art of people with mental disabilities, and efforts to educate the public on the idea of art brut and promote the idea are mainly designed to contribute to the welfare of these people. It should be noted, however, that art brut in its essence is a term for discussion about art: it is an idea that centers on the attributes of the creations themselves and that sees a special value in the “pure power of expression that is possible only through freedom from tradition and mainstream fashion.” In other words, the “attributes of the creator” is not a focus of the idea of art brut: this idea has nothing to do with the welfare of creators.

 

There have always been controversies over the appropriateness of categorizing the works by people with mental disabilities into art brut and also over the meaning of the term “outsider art.” Probably, this is because the idea of art brut and the term “outsider art” can take on entirely different meanings when seen from different perspectives or placed in different contexts, and can even turn right into wrong, and good into bad and vice versa. In fact, creators in this genre of art do not recognize themselves as outsiders, nor do they claim their works to be art brut. The above controversies, which are always debated among people other than the creators themselves, mainly address topics such as standards for art critics to categorize creative works and ethical issues raised by welfare personnel. In addition, various intricately woven commercial and political strategies are behind these controversies.

 

Against this backdrop, it is questionable whether creators can get the recognition they truly deserve for their respective artistic talents. When we see a great work of art that instantly touches our heart, we are simply impressed by the splendor of the work itself: a sense of prejudice or discrimination against or mercy to the creator can in no way interfere with such appreciation, and neither can any opinions of scholars and experts however authoritative they may be. In light of this, let me stress the importance of creating a venue where anyone can casually drop in to appreciate art brut works in a setting that is free from any professional theories of art or welfare, and, more importantly, that is not affected by any political consideration.

 

Many works created by people with mental disabilities are characterized by their free, innovative expression, not bound by stereotype. However, it is almost impossible for these creators to present their works widely to the public on their own. Art brut was established as a new genre of art through strategic promotion by Dubuffet, an intellectual with deep understanding of art who was captivated by creations unaffected by established fine art traditions. Likewise, specialists active in various fields of society today can contribute to expanding the scope of the creative activities of people with mental disabilities by taking a positive interest in their creations and working in collaboration with them, which, in turn, will lead to the emergence of new values.

 

Problems that negatively affect people with mental disabilities are not attributable to their impairment, but represent the distortion of society stemming from the situations surrounding them. Through interactions with people with mental disabilities, we are made to realize those who are influenced by such distortion, in what manner they are affected, and what loss can be suffered. It is not my purpose to pursue an academic study of art brut or explore ethical issues concerning people with disabilities. What I want is to communicate the splendor of creations by these artists widely to the public, and have a renewed look at people with disabilities whose existence is likely to be ignored in our daily lives. In doing so, I hope to develop and implement a multifaceted strategy to ensure that people with disabilities are seen as equal members of society. This humble effort is not something that deserves to be called “assistance to people with disabilities” but it is simply about facing the distortion inherent in us and taking a new look at our own inner selves.

 

 

Yoshiaki Kasatani (RISSI INC.)