ALOÏSE CORBAZ

Last weekend I went for a short inspirational trip to Lausanne, situated in the wonderful Schwitzerland. Surrounded by french talking people and shops overflowing with luxury brands, I stumbled on a charming gallery Galerie Du Marché. Small in size but large in interest. The current exhibition presents work of Aloïse Corbaz, also known as Aloïse. When I heard her story I was fascinated. She lived most of her life in a psychiatric hospital where she also died, and this is where she created her art. It is like getting a loophole into the mind of someone that “our world” sees as disturbed. It feels like reality art, instead of reality tv.

Aloïse was born in Lausanne in 1886 and she dreamed of becoming a singer when she, in 1911, moved to Germany. Her singing career was sidetracked by a job as a governess for the German Kaiser Wilhelm II. This move was fatal for her. This was what made her form an imaginary passion for the Emperor which later led to her being diagnosed with schizophrenia and committed to a psychiatric hospital. The start of the war forced her to move back to Lausanne and her first psychological problems began to appear.

Aloïse’s world is very erotic and filled with flowers, kings, queens and beautiful women with voluptuous curves and flowing hair, beside lovers in military uniforms. Her paintings are very saturated, every centimeter of the paper is colored. Her compulsion to draw on every inch of the paper is also known as “Horror vacui“. It is latin and can be translated as “fear of empty space.” Very similar to the work of artist Adolf Wölfli.

Her work was discovered in 1947 by Jean Philippe Arthur Dubuffet. An idealistic French sculptor and painter who embraced the so called “low art” and eschewed traditional standards of beauty in favor of what he believed to be a more authentic and humanistic approach to image-making.