The Outsider Art Fair features over forty visionary artists from around the world, including works by Noviadi Angkasapura (b. 1979, Indonesia), Frédéric Bruly Bouabré (1923–2014, Ivory Coast), Henry Darger (1892-1973, USA), Janko Domsic (1915-1983, Croatia/France), Minnie Evans (1892-1987, USA), Guo Fengyi (1942–2010, China), Martín Ramírez (1895-1963, Mexico/USA), Judith Scott (1943-2005, USA), Melvin Way (b. 1954, USA), George Widener (b. 1962, USA), Adolf Wölfli (1864–1930, Switzerland), Anna Zemánkova (1908–1986, Czech Republic), and Unica Zürn (1916-1970, Germany) among many others.
The Doors of Perception focuses on the visionary nature of art commonly known as outsider art, art brut, or self-taught art. The exhibition presents a large constellation of works made by exceptionally gifted artists from five continents, offering a panorama of art created on the margins of society. Whether psychiatric patients, self-taught visionaries, or mediums, each of the artists in the exhibition felt at some point in their life the need to create an artistic language of their own in order to reveal what they understood to be the true nature of things. Often disenfranchised because of their mental condition or social status and without any previous artistic training, many of the artists exhibited here dedicated their lives obsessively to the creation of complex visual representations, often after experiencing a life-changing epiphany. A meeting with a supernatural power—whether an encounter with the divine, spirits of the dead, or extraterrestrial beings—might have triggered this impulse to create. These remarkable events produced strong centrifugal forces that drove the artists from chaos to order, opening for them “doors of perception” to a transcendental reality that, in many cases, helped them survive their otherwise unstable life. The Doors of Perception is on view through May 5 at Frieze, Metropolitan Pavillion 125 W. 18th Street, New York. photographs courtesy of The Outsider Fair