Friday, 25 February 2011

Adolf Wolfli (26/2/1864 - 6/11/30) General View of the Island Neveranger, 1911 and other tales.

Adolf Wolfli , a swiss man of peasant stock was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of thirty-one and was subsequently whisked of to a mental asylum near Bern where he lived until his death thirty-five years later.He was on all accounts a highly disturbed and dangerous individual prone to pshychosis and violent hallucinations.
Hovever after his incarcenation he began to produce an astounding oeuvre of drawings, collages, sheet music, prose and poetry. These illustrations are included in Fromthe Cradle to the Grave a series of nine hand bound books (2,970 total pages, with 752 illustations) that recount Wolfi's imaginary life life story from ages two through eight ( his real life was one of grimness and despair, abused physically, sexually and mentally throughout his life). In his pictures or dreams the protaganist travels around the globe, imposing his own sense of on it. On all accounts a bit of a control freak, it appears Wolfi based his descriptions of faraway places on the familiar topography of Bern and the Swiss countryside and also on a school atlas he owned, but what is clear that the fantastical visions he had were very much his own. Out of his miserable existence he actually produced some astonishing work.
A spontaneity emerged and whatever his life had been before a transformation was achieved that would not have been achieved outside his prison walls. It was his own captors the psychiatrist's who began to regard hiswork in aeshetic terms and actually valued their immedacy and their uniqueness so gave Wolfi (the Beast) a taste of freedom.
His work belongs I suppose inthe schools of Art Brut and of course outsider art.

General View of the Island Neveranger,1911

Big Thing.