The Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy is now open.  Our office hours are from: 9:00am - 5:00pm, Monday - Friday. Please refer to the COVID-19 Resource Guide for all matters related to the return to campus.  All visitors and vendors must fill out the Columbia University Health Screening Form.  We look forward to seeing you on campus.



February 18, 2021
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Event Type: 

Thursday, February 18 

Outsider Art (Art Brut): Symbolism of Body Adornments

Lucienne Peiry in conversation with Camille Robcis

Self-taught Outsider artists (“Art Brut”)  develop personal systems of expression to produce paintings, sculptures, drawings or textile works outside of official artistic circles. Sometimes unaware of social conventions, often resistant to cultural rules, they transgress (sometimes involuntarily) established codes and invent highly personal symbolic universes. In their works, Outsider artists invent subjects, modes of representation, systems of perspective, and technical means, often resorting to used, humble, or discarded materials.

In this conversation with Camille Robcis, Lucienne Peiry explores artists who use their own bodies as medium of expression in the isolation and exclusion of psychiatric hospitals. These artists create real or dreamlike clothes and bodily chimeras: a wedding dress created from threads pulled from used bed sheets, asylum outfits transformed and adorned with embroidered writings, costumes woven with frayed rags; the adornments are part of an extravagant ingenuity. Marguerite Sirvins, Agnes Richter, Anghus McPhee, and Arthur Bispo do Rosario create clothes that they feel are endowed with magical and healing virtues. Seeing their works triggers in the spectator a strong bodily reaction. 

Lucienne Peiry is an art historian, specialist of Art Brut, curator of exhibitions in Europe and Japan, especially “Intextricabilia, enchevêtrements magiques” at la Maison rouge, Paris, 2017, and “Ecrits d’Art Brut”, at the Tinguely Museum, in Basel, in 2021. From 2001 to 2011, she was the Director of the Collection de l’Art Brut in Lausanne. Lecturer at the EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) since 2015, she has written extensively on Art Brut, particularly L’Art Brut (translated into English, German and Chinese), and in 2020 Écrits d’Art Brut: Graphomanes extravagants. Lucienne Peiry also hosts a website called Notes d’Art Brut.

Camille Robcis is Associate Professor of History and French at Columbia University.

Fanny N. Guex, Ph.D.
Program Coordinator
Maison Française | Columbia University | 212-854-4482


Don't want to miss our interesting news and updates! Make sure to join our newsletter list.

* indicates required

Contact us

For general questions about ISERP programs, services, and events.