Title: Outsider Art
Dates: 22nd February to 3rd March
Location: Draavidia Gallery, Fort Kochi
Supported by: Kochi Biennale Foundation and Plant Lipids
‘Outsider Art’ constitutes an internationally recognized category of self-taught or naïve art and often refers to original works produced by talented creators outside of the mainstream whose expressions convey a strong sense of individuality.
Outsider Art in this context denotes the art practice of persons with Autism who are not specifically trained in formal art schools, have neurodevelopmental issues and often deal with social exclusion. The art they produce may be outcomes of their non-linear thinking, obsessive-compulsive nature, stimulus over-selectivity, and other attributes peculiar to the Autism Spectrum.
As Roger Cardinal* explains, the art practice brings out an expressive intentionality that is worthy of viewing as a new aesthetic experience conjured up in the sweep of imagery of an individual creator. Provided we as viewers can entertain the fantasy of travelling into that world, we are in a position to savour the extreme experience of otherness, in the form of a seductive exoticism that produces an inarticulate yet intense pleasure.
These works deserve respect as meaningful and intentional artistic compositions. They do articulate something, and that something may well be saturated with hidden affect . They are formal constructs whose properties are sufficiently inventive and engaging as to widen our aesthetic experience in interesting ways.
These should lead us beyond selfish indulgence, for in due course we will find that aesthetic pleasure has begun to coincide with our poignant engagement with another sensibility, another personality; at which point art appreciation is revealed not as a peripheral supplement to human experience but as a privileged medium of human contact itself.
This exhibition seeks to give a platform to the artists to showcase their ways of seeing and expression to the world, and create awareness about forms of creativity that exist outside of art institutes and accepted norms.