Art Spirite, Mediumnique et Visionanaire: Messages D’Outre-monde was an exhibition at Halle Saint Pierre, Paris from 13th September 1999 to 27th February 2000.
Curated by Martine Lusardy and Roger Cardinal. Contributors to the accompanying catalogue were Roger Cardinal, Laurent Danchin, Martine Lusardy, Bertrand Meheust, Erik Pigani, Djohar Si Ahmed and Michel Thevoz.
Exhibiting artists include: Gala Barbisan, William Blake, Madame Bouttier, Marguerite Burnat-Provins, Fleury-Joseph Crepin, Georges Demkin, Fernand Desmoulin, Minnie Evans, Madame Favre, Marie-Jeanne Gil, Madge Gill, Jules Godi, Margarethe Held, Magali Herrera, Hong Tong, Victor Hugo, Marc Lamy, Augustin Lesage, Seraphine Louis, Heinrich Nusslein, Laure Pigeon, Victorien Sardou, Victor Simon, Helene Smith, Comte de Tromelin and Anna Zemankova.
From the catalogue preface:
For five years now, the Halle Saint-Pierre has presented and supported different art forms from the mainstream, ranging from classical Art brut to more recent forms of self-taught creation (outsider, singulier). The eight exhibitions held so far have included: L’Art Brut et Cie – the hidden side of contemporary art, Imaginary Civilizations, At the frontiers of Art brut, Art in the wild, and very recently Art Outsider and Folk Art from the collections of Chicago.
Art Spirite, Mediumnique et Visionanaire: Messages D’Outre-monde (Spiritualist, Mediumistic and Visionary art: Messages from around the world) continues this prospection, and introduces thirty-nine artists, whose graphic and pictorial productions executed in a trance state, result from the singular ability to separate from all will and conscious thought. These works, born from the liberation of mental automatism, have questioned and still continue to question the very meaning of artistic creation.
Spiritism appeared in Europe around the mid 19th century and rapidly spread throughout the rural working-class regions as well as the newly industrialized England, Northern France and Belgium. It also found popularity with many scientists, writers or political men like Victor Hugo, Camille Flamnarion, Anatole France, Théophile Gautier, Armand Barbès and Sadi Carnot.
Violently challenged or passionately supported, spiritualism, for more than sixty years, deeply marked French society. On the one hand, the followers of the doctrine and the ritual of communicating with the dead through the medium, a particularly receptive individual with heightened sensitivity. On the other hand, adversaries who wanted to position the mediumistic phenomenon in the field of psychology and whose research in this area will lead, at the end of the 19th century, on the great theories of scientific psychology, including those of Myers, de James, de Janet and Freud.
The purpose of this exhibition is not to seek the exact origin, psychic or metapsychic, of mediumistic phenomena but to reveal the plastic potential and richness of certain production. Whether they have their origins in doctrines and spiritualist practices or in visionary experiences they offer fascinating objects of undeniable artistic value.