1. Adolf Wölfli
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Adolf Wölfli & Outsider Poetry

"A key twentieth-century opening was to the work of a number of artists & poets whose mind-sets put them outside the sphere of normal artistic discourse. Presented often as the art-of-the-insane, such work was later designated as outsider art or, in the phrase of Jean Dubuffet, its principal early proponent, as art brut (= "raw art"): a beacon of lost & disturbing humanities. On a verbal level, it is marked by transformations of thought & expression as radical & often as revelatory as those of the greatest modern experimenters, or those of traditional speakers of numinous tongues.

"Of the Swiss-born Adolf Wölfli, who has emerged as the best known of the early outsider artists, Elka Spoerri wrote: ‘Adolf Wölfli became famous as a result of his drawings. With the exception of a few extracts his extensive narrative work has remained unknown. The narrative work is composed of 44 illustrated books (20,000 pages, with over 1,400 drawings and over 1,500 collages) with epic texts, dialect poems, sound poems, and musical compositions. The elucidation of the content and structural organization of Wölfli’s collected works … shows emphatically that the four forms of expressions (drawings, prose, poetry, and music) form a homogenous whole. A study of the works also reveals an illuminating correspondence between his real and imaginary biography.’

"Known to Rilke as early as 1921 ("the discordant has been tuned to a new concord") & to the Surrealists by the 1930s, Wölfli’s work was the driving force behind Dubuffet’s founding of the Compagnie de l’Art Brut in 1948. His massive gathering of texts, From the Cradle to the Graave, has never been fully translated into English."

— From J.R. and P. Joris, Poems for the Millennium, volume one (1995)

Adolf Wölfli in UbuWeb Sound
Adolf Wölfli Wikipedia entry

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