In its pursuit of strangenesses which disorientate, the modern art did not cease moving its borders by including "the other of the art" in its space.
What art historians have called "primitivism" refers to this movement that flourished at the beginning of the 20th century. However, since the Romanticism, the exotic otherness was confronted with another one, the one embodied by the child near us and in each of us.
The short-circuit took place around 1845, in Paris, under the aegis of George Sand, Champfleury and Baudelaire. It will mark from Corot to Picasso, from Courbet to Kandinsky, from Paul Klee to Joan Miro a long period of plastic creation. The equivalence, already posed by the artists, between the productions of the child and those of the primitive, the one and the other holders of the "elementary lines", meets the idea of some biologists who perceive in the growth of the small human the accelerated recapitulation of the history of our species.
The horizon which opens is fascinating: is the art of the children a reflection of the childhood of the art? The scholars - psychologists, prehistorians, anthropologists - take then the relay of the artists. They will soon abandon the idea of a pure and simple equivalence to examine an enigma that is still not closed: why, throughout the world, do the productions of children resemble each other and how do they come to express the different graphic and plastic cultures in which they are raised? The ethnologists of the 1930s (Griaule, Evans-Pritchard, Lévi-Strauss, Thérèse Rivière, Margaret Mead) remember these questions and know how to solicit what children do with their hands.
Undoubtedly the points of view of the artist and the scholar are different - to find the childhood is not to study the child - but the means they use - the investigation, the collection and the exhibition - are identical and often arouse their mutual curiosity. Today, "children's art" has become a separate category, isolated in its own world, entirely absorbed by pedagogy; this issue would like to recall how much it was, for a long half-century, one of the living centers where aesthetic creation and anthropological reflection passed the baton to each other.
Weight : 750 g
Publisher : Musée du quai Branly
Collection : MUSEE DU QUAI B