“Art Brut” was advocated by an important French contemporary artist, Jean Dubuffet. This concept has had a tremendous influence on the value and concept of art in Europe and the rest of the world since it was put forward. In Taiwan, Art Brut has been regarded closely with the concept of either Primitive Art or Naïve Art arousing re-evaluation in regards to the artistic characteristic and the value of the art. Within Taiwan’s Naïve Art, the appearance of Wu Li Yu Ge (吳李玉哥) in the 1960s and the emergence of Hong Tong (洪通) in the 1970s have brought brief discussions. After 1980s Lin Yuan (林淵) and the other Naïve Art artists have again been discovered and reported. Most of these artists have been through transformations and changes from an agricultural society to an industrial society. The vividness of their works has expressed a pure and child-like attitude and view point of the world and life. Among these Taiwanese artists, Lin Yuan (林淵) has been considered a gem. Because of the sponsorship and support from entrepreneurs, Mr. Lin was able to create prolifically during the short period between 1977 and 1991, and to bring the development of Taiwanese art to receiving international recognition and status. Lin Yuan’s (林淵) collection of works is diverse and rich. His stone carving, lithography, woodcarving, embroidery, drawing, and assemblage art have reached high achievement, demonstrating the spirit and quality of Taiwan that are persevering, hardworking, sincere and honest, and passionate. Lin’s achievement has not only brought international understanding of Taiwan’s Art Brut creative power, but also showed the involvement of Taiwanese entrepreneurs and their concern for and attention to social development. Therefore, the goal of this conservation plan is to provide a systematic organization and publication of such works and to give the public an opportunity to discuss and to understand local art and culture of Taiwan.
When Jean Dubuffet advanced the concept of L’art Brut, he was only using it to refer to his personal collection of such art works. He devoted much time and energy to research in this field. When he traveled to Switzerland in 1945, he paid great attention to talented artists unknown to the world, especially those without any professional training. Mr. Dubuffet devoted the rest of life to searching for such artists and collecting their works. Later, he donated his whole collection to the Musee de L’Art Brut in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Dubuffet classified Art Brut artists into three categories as follows:
1. The mentally ill, of whom Adolf Wolfli (1864-1930) is a representative. Dr. Hans Prinzhorn (1886-1933) discovered that Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) was also one of them.
2. Psychics. The renowned French writer Victor Hugo (1802-1885) is a representative of this group, although his paintings are not known to many. Mr. Hong Tong (1920-1987) of Taiwan has been classified into this group because he was a medium child.
3. Self-taught artists. Henri Rousseau (1844-1910) is the most well-known of this group. He was discovered by Wilhelm Uhde (1874-1947), who was an important advocate for such Art Brut artists. Uhde organized an exhibition and displayed what he called Naïve Art in Paris in 1928. The participants at this exhibition include: Henri Rousseau, André Bauchant, Camille Bombois, Sérphine Louis and Louis Vivin. Sérphine Louis used to be Uhde’s cleaning person before World War I. From 1912 to 1930, Uhde supported Louis’s painting projects financially. In 2008, French film director Martin Provost made a movie of Luis’s life story. The movie received seven César Awards, including best film of the year.
There are probably many such artists all over the world. But most of them remain obscure and unknown to the world. Fortunately, Mr. Lin Yuan was discovered and supported by Mr. Huang Bingsong. Mr. Lin’s works were also recognized by Mr. Dubuffet, who regarded Mr. Lin as a world class Art Brut artist.