An extensive presentation of Jean Dubuffet (1901–85) in Norway. Known for his raw, powerful style and lively humour, Dubuffet was an artist who worked in a broad range of media. The project now on show, “Dubuffet and Architecture”, focuses on Dubuffet’s intense interest in architecture, as embodied in monumental projects from the period 1967–74. The exhibition features some fifty models, sculptures, paintings and drawings.
Captivated by the monumental size and three-dimensional possibilities of an architectural approach, Dubuffet collaborated with Fernand Leger's ceramicist, Roland Brice, in transposing the Hourloupe series of paintings on to bas-relief. Further experiments with new materials, such as plastic resins, enabled him to work on a huge scale with multi-layered combinations of separate elements.
Volume and space were his new medium, and public commissions followed: the 1969 Group of Four Trees for the Chase Manhattan Bank, and the Jardin d'email (Enamel Garden) at the Kroller-Muller Museum in Otterlo. From simple objects in space, Dubuffet swiftly progressed to monumental sculptures as a dialogue with passers-by. Like the great works of modern sculptors such as Henry Moore or Archipenko, Dubuffet appropriated vacant space as one of sculpture's major elements.
In the early 1970s he undertook the construction of the Villa and Closerie Falbala, a dream-experience that draws the visitor in from L'Antichambre, passing through the Portes with their guardian figures, to the heart of the arrangement, the Cabinet logologique. The exhibition "Dubuffet as Architect" presents Dubuffet´s architectural projects - both those consummated in reality and those planned or abandoned - to the full attention they deserve.
Henie Onstad Art Centre is the obvious venue for a major exhibition about Dubuffet, for it is the only institution in Norway to own a substantial collection of the his work.