I have always directed my attempts at the figurative representation of objects by way of summary and not very descriptive brushstrokes, diverging greatly from the real objective measurements of things, and this has led many people to talk about childish drawing…this position of seeing them (the objects, fh) without looking at them too much, without focussing more attention on them than any ordinary man would in normal everyday life..
People have seen that I intend to sweep away everything we have been taught to consider – without question – as grace and beauty; but have overlooked my work to substitute a vaster beauty, touching all objects and beings, not excluding the most despised – and because of that, all the more exhilarating….
I would like people to look at my work as an enterprise for the rehabilitation of scorned values, and, in any case, make no mistake, a work of ardent celebration….
I am convinced that any table can be for each of us a landscape as inexhaustible as the whole Andes range… I am struck by the high value, for a man, of a simple permanent fact, like the miserable vista on which the window of his room opens daily, that comes, with the passing of time, to have an important role in his life. I often think that the highest destination at which a work of art can aim is to take on that function in someone’s life.
A little secret that I have sought for a long time by way of a fortuitous encounter quite unrelated to the matter: for example six months I try to draw a camel in a way that satisfies me, and I make a thousand attempts without ever managing to do it. Then one day it is a drawing of a plump on the label of a pot of jam or the shadow thrown by an ink pot, or something or other equally unrelated to the matter that provides me with the solution. This kind of thing has happened so often that I have acquired the habit of always being on the outlook, and when I want to draw a camel I no longer limit myself, as I once did, to looking (only, fh) at camels…
Il flute sur la boss (1947)
On Art Brut: Those works created from solitude and from pure and authentic creative impulses – where the worries of competition, acclaim and social promotion do not interfere – are, because of these very facts, more precious than the productions of professionals. After a certain familiarity with these flourishings of an exalted feverishness, lived so fully and so intensely by their authors, we cannot avoid the feeling that in relation to these works, cultural art in its entirety appears to be the game of a futile society, a fallacious parade.