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Wednesday, 5 October 2011

The Museum of Everything, Selfridges

Number four in the Museum of Everything's series of exhibitions is currently up and running in Selfridges. With free entry, it provides a lovely break for frantic London shoppers. The red and white entrance hut looks like Santa’s Grotto and is warm and magical inside, with dimmed lighting and colourful decoration. A group of us went to visit last weekend, to be inspired and educated on the topic of Outsider Art.

This show exhibits over 200 drawings, paintings and sculptures by contemporary artists. Wild, colourful and expressive, this collection illustrates the very nature of outsider art: work that is made by self taught artists who have not come through the art educational system, supposedly creating “raw art” without any formal influences. In some cases the work demonstrates extreme mental states, unconventional ideas or elaborate fantasy worlds.

I have come across individual outsider artists before, in particular Scottie Wilson, Jack Bilbo, Genevieve Seille and Richard Nie, but never have I seen such a wide range of work shown together. The most wonderful thing for me about this work is that it is always individual and never what you expect. Outsider artists focus on their feelings and vision, rejecting any mainstream ideas or influences, and the result is often dark and revealing, sometimes quite disturbing, but also can be organic and natural, innocent and liberated.

I don’t want to tell you any more, I believe this exhibition needs to be seen and interpreted by every visitor personally.

The Museum of Everything is open in Selfridges until 25 October 2011, visit now, and see the website here.

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