Eternity Has No Door of Escape
Directed by Arthur Borgnis • Documentary • 2017 • 80 minutes
"Outsider art" challenges established historical categories and transcends artistic movements. A translation of the French term art brut, a phrase coined by the painter and sculptor Jean Dubuffet in the aftermath of World War II, this label was applied to works produced by artists suffering from mental illness, practitioners of Spiritism, and self-taught visionaries. Their work compels viewers to question aesthetic and cultural norms, and the place attributed to disability in our society. Drawing its title from a celebrated exhibition of the work of collectors Jean-David Mermod and Philippe Eternod at Switzerland's Gottardo Art Gallery, ETERNITY HAS NO DOOR OF ESCAPE traces the tumultuous history of art brut and introduces us to its pivotal figures, including psychiatrist and art collector Dr. Hans Prinzhorn; curator Harald Szeemann; and Surrealist artist and writer André Breton. Its expert interviewees adding context and background to the history of art brut include writers Déborah Couette, Laurent Danchin, Savine Faupin, Thomas Röske and Michel Thevoz; curators Lucienne Peiry and Carine Fol; artists Michel Nedjar; psychiatrists Béatrice Steiner and Andreas Altorfer and more. Using a treasure trove of rare archival footage, much of it previously unseen, the film brings viewers to the places and institutions in France, Switzerland, Germany, and Belgium where the history of "Outsider Art" unfolded and continues to unfold today. Arthur Borgnis' documentary invites viewers to lose themselves in the universes beyond logic and reason, in the works of artists including Adolf Wölfli, Aloïse Corbaz, Augustin Lesage and August Natterer. ETERNITY HAS NO DOOR OF ESCAPE: ENCOUNTERS WITH OUTSIDER ART introduces enigmatic, challenging creators; raises questions about the definition...