Eternity has no door of escape (Madge Gill) is the title for an exhibition which celebrates Lausanne’s Eternod-Mermod Collection of Art Brut. It was held from 19th December 2001 to 28th March 2002 at the Galleria Gottardo, Lugano and curated by Luca Patocchi.

Drawing by Marguerite Burnat-Provins

The rich and resourceful catalogue includes a text by Roger Cardinal on The Collecting of Differentness and another by Jacqueline Porret-Forel on the Eternod-Mermod Collection. This important collection has been built by the art brut experts Jean-David Mermod and Philippe Eternod who over the decades have exuded passion and respect for their subject and for the artists they have researched and supported. Porret-Forel’s text pay homage to their talent and remarks that “Madge Gill is one of the pearls of the collection for the abundance of her works and their touching evocative power.”

Biographies of the many artists in the show are featured in the catalogue and include Aloïse, Anselme Boix-Vives, Francois Burland, Carlo Zinelli, Joseph Crépin, Philippe Dereux, Madge Gill, Ted Gordon, Johann Hauser, Rosemarie Koczy, Raphaël Lonné, Edmund Monisel, Martine Copenaut, Michel Nedjar, Marguerite Burnat-Provins, Gerard Sendry, Louis Soutter, August Walla, Alois Wey, Scottie Wilson and Adolf Wölfli.

From Roger Cardinal’s text The collecting of differentness

Drawing by Madge Gill

“Idiosyncrasy, quirkiness and a shivering uncanniness are typical of this art of strangeness. Though they themselves appear unmarked by such qualities, the collectors Philippe Eternod and Jean-David Mermod have indeed become specialists of curiosity. They have acquired the skill of reacting to expressions of resolute eccentricity; they have become experts at noticing triumphs of control over apparent veerings into destruction and dissipation; they are seasoned explorers who love to gaze through unsuspected windows at spaces incompatible with normal seeing. Despite their trail of sad and bizarre biographies, the artists in their collection offer stunning proof that creativity is capable of emerging amid the least conducive circumstances, to embody an alacrity and obduracy that take our breath away. Of course, such work has by now attracted a whole set of labels of provenance and guarantee Art Brut, Outsider Art, Neuve Invention, Art Singulier, Psychotic Art, Mediumistic Art, Visionary Art, and so forth for our culture sets great store by nomenclature and would like to see all things neatly stowed away in the right compartment. But the real thrill of this collection resides in the paradox whereby it gathers together in one place those things which least belong together, or rather: which belong together only by virtue of their resistance to that effort of final certification which brings death by suppressing differentness. Here is above all a vibrant anthology of work by startling individuals, and its virtue lies in the shock it delivers to our accustomed outlook upon the arts and upon the world.”

Drawing by Edmund Monsiel

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